Andrey Lebedev Presented By The Julian Bream Trust With 2 World Premiere Performances

Well, its fair to say that we Australians (and Victorians in particular) have had a good share of the envy-inducing classical guitar gigs of late. Now it’s the turn of the UK (again) to make us Antipodeans green around the gills, via an upcoming Australian talent no less!

The legendary Julian Bream and his Trust, together with the young Australian Andrey Lebedev, have come together to extend recently written repertoire for the instrument.

Amongst other things, the Julian Bream Trust was formed to present substantial and often ignored music written for the guitar, with a particular focus on new literature. Andrey Lebedev’s concert has the unusual inclusion of two world premieres of works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Leo Brouwer, both commissioned by the Trust.

Andrey, who was personally chosen by Julian Bream for this particular concert (nice!!), has been visiting Bream from time to time at his home in Wiltshire (I’m not envious at all Andrey…..). They have collaborated closely, working through the new music as well as the more conventional works in the programme.

Birtwistle’s piece is inspired by Picasso’s Construction with Guitar Player. It’s an immense and very dense work,” says Lebedev, “built around a short piece he wrote for his wife’s funeral and played by their son Silas. It’s a great honour for me to be giving the first public performance of a work written by one of the foremost composers of our time.

Leo Brouwer’s Sonata No.5 Ars Combinatoria, is the second sonata he has written for Julian Bream. “It sparkles with Brouwer’s personal and richly resonant guitar writing, developed in his youth as a gifted concert guitarist and refined over decades of brilliant writing for the instrument” says Bream.

Andrey Lebedev  Photo: Shannon Morris
Andrey Lebedev
Photo: Shannon Morris

Andrey Lebedev is at present a post-graduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, partially assisted by The Julian Bream Trust and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).


7.30pm, Thursday, 4 December, 2014
St John’s Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HA
Andrey Lebedev guitar, presented by The Julian Bream Trust

Andrey will be playing:
JS Bach Partita in D minor BWV 1004
Harrison Birtwistle Beyond the White Hand – Construction with Guitar Player World Premiere
Leo Brouwer Sonata No. 5 “Ars Combinatoria” World Premiere
Takemitsu In the Woods – Three pieces for guitar
Ginastera Sonata for Guitar, Op. 47
Tickets: £20 / £15 / £10
Box Office: +(0)20 7222 1061 /

Check out more about the event here:

And check out more about Andrey at his website:


La Maja de Goya by Enrique Granados

As regular readers of the blog will know I have recently been diving into learning the gorgeous La Maja de Goya by Spanish pianist and composer Enrique Granados. Granados was heavily influenced by the musical styles of his home nation, writing in a very Spanish style, with La Maja de Goya being no exception. The title of this piece roughly translates as “the woman of Goya” or possibly slightly more accurately “the really hot/ pretty woman of Goya“.

La Maja de Goya, so the legend goes, references two of Goya’s most well-known paintings – La maja desnuda and La maja vestida (the naked and clothed maja, respectively). The former is said to be the first secular life-size, depiction of a totally nude woman.  Apparently in 1813 the Inquisition confiscated both of the paintings due to their obscenity!

To say that Granados was inspired by the Spanish Old Master Francisco Goya is a little of an understatement. He went through an entire period where his works were heavily influenced by the painter, referencing Goya and his works in Tonadillas for voice and piano, a piano suite (Goyescas), and an opera (Goyescas) amongst a host of other works.

La Maja de Goya  is such as stalwart of the classical guitar repertoire, and such guitaristic music that suits the instrument so well, that we can sometimes tend to forget that it wasn’t written for our beloved instrument. This wonderful piece was actually originally a song written for piano and voice and has been transcribed for guitar by Miguel Llobet (and many others over the years), so it now nestles beautifully within the classical guitar repertoire.

I’ve found a wonderful version of the original song performed by two Spanish greats – soprano Pilar Lorengar and pianist Alicia de Laroccha. Here it is for you:


And of course, I can’t go past my all-time favourite guitar version of the piece…. Take it away Mr Bream: