The German guitarist, lautenist and composer, Walter Abt, played at the age of 17 a whole number of different instruments in various ensembles: electric and acoustic guitars, piano, trumpet, flugelhorn, double-bass, accordion and trombone. He acquired technical polish and precision in different styles as a soloist at the Graz College of Music, at the Verona State Conservatoire and in master-classes at the Salzburg Mozarteum.
The versatile guitarist and composer Walter Abt is remarkable for his flair and the delight he takes in discovering unusual and innovative musical avenues. His special talent for improvisation was largely shaped by his friendship and collaborations with gipsy jazz musicians. His performance repertoire and discography have earned him numerous awards and cover a broad spectrum ranging from Spanish and Italian Renaissance music and the classical guitar repertoire to flamenco and contemporary Latin American guitar music (viz. his pioneer records of Leo Brouwer“s music, sometimes with Brouwer himself, - or playing with the incomparable clarinet player Giora Feidman).
Alongside his career as a soloist, Walter Abt is much in demand as a composer and arranger. His Concerto del Benaco owes its origin to a commission by the Italian province of Trentino, the area at the northern end of Lake Garda where Abt has chosen to live. He was founder and leader of the Munich Guitar Orchestra and of the flamenco ensemble Sol Y Sombra. As director of the Munich Guitar Orchestra he was awarded first prize at both the Bavarian Orchestra Competition and at the German Orchestra Competition held by the German Music Council, both in 1992; he also received a special prize for outstanding interpretation of contemporary music.
In 1989 Walter Abt established the international Summer Seminar for Guitar, which has since taken place under his direction at the Bavarian Academy of Music in Marktoberdorf. The aim of this biennial summer school is to present innovative themes in a wide variety of different areas - Classical, Jazz, Flamenco- with artists of international standing. His educational concept was adapted also for other instruments and copied by many other festivals and workshops. In the last few years, Walter Abt has collaborated closely with his friend Leo Brouwer.
In 1997 Walter Abt was selected together with Giora Feidman at the ECHO-award and the Bavarian Movie award. In 2009/2010 he was commissioned by the Goethe-Institute for concerts and workshops in Portugal, Cape Verde and Senegal. He likes to surprise his audience with musical crests between classical music, jazz and worldmusic -as well as with ancient instruments like lute or vihuela. He is always welcome and well-received at numerous international festivals.