The English guitarist, Julian Byzantine, was the first recipient of an ARCM diploma for guitar at the Royal College of Music, under the tutorship of John Williams. During this period the Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gilbert Foyle trusts awarded him scholarships to further his studies with Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream and Alirio Díaz.
Julian Byzantine is one of the world's most widely acclaimed classical guitarists. His performances in 76 countries have taken him to many of the most prestigious musical venues in the world from Carnegie Hall to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall and Sydney Opera House. He is frequently cited in the press for his artistry, individual style and virtuosity, and the New York Times at Carnegie Recital Hall commented, “the current season may not produce another guitar recital as auspicious as Julian Byzantine's…a formidable artist with a style of his own”.
In the field of concerti Julian Byzantine has appeared with major orchestras in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, which have included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has achieved wide popularity through extensive international concert tours for the British Council, and from radio broadcasts and television appearances worldwide. In the early part of his career his rise to prominence on the guitar scene at large has been linked by many to a unique television documentary he was invited to present on the life and guitar music of Heitor Villa-Lobos. This highly acclaimed production for Thames Television, one of the UK's premier television networks, was broadcasted in many countries around the world.
In the area of contemporary music Julian Byzantine has collaborated with eminent composers such as Pierre Boulez, Peter Maxwell Davies and Peter Sculthorpe. The Arts Council of Great Britain, Australia Council, and Shell Darwin International Guitar Festival have provided generous support for his commissions from composers in the UK, Australia and Latin America. Notable compositions written for his duo partnership with flautist, Gerhard Mallon, include Simori by Peter Sculthorpe (Australia) and Suite Buenos Aires by Maximo Diego Pujol (Argentina). Both these works have been recorded by the duo for Walsingham Classics.
Throughout his career, Julian Byzantine's recordings for EMI/Classics for Pleasure (UK), Meridian Records (UK), and Walsingham Classics (Australia) have been lauded highly by leading international periodicals - “In this recording Julian Byzantine proves just why he is one of the most respected names in the guitar world … an elegance and finesse not heard in other performances of the same pieces” - Classical Guitar (UK); “superb command of his instrument” - Hi-Fi News and Record Review (UK); “one of our best ambassadors …utterly musical and lyrical…a cultured musician” - Gramophone (UK).
At the age of 21 Julian Byzantine was appointed a Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music (the youngest such appointment in the history of the institution at that time). He is currently head of classical guitar studies at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Australia. In high demand for his teaching expertise, he has presented master-classes and lectures in thirty-five countries, which have included invitations from world-renowned schools of music in Europe and America. He is author of Guitar Technique Rationalised - MelBay/Chanterelle, which is regarded as one of the most comprehensive publications on guitar technique.