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Akinobu (Jiro) Matsuda (Guitar)

Born: June 28, 1933 - Himeji, Japan

The Japanese guitarist, Akinobu (Jiro) Matsuda, started to play the guitar at the age of 14, and was recommended to take lessons from a monk who lived nearby. Fortunately the monk liked classical music, and introduced the pupil to the great guitar masters: Sor, Aguardo, Coste, De Visée and Llobet at the same time explaining the value of studying and playing classical music. Matsuda continued seeking guidance throughout Japan when and where he could find it. In 1957 he graduated from the Kobe University, faculty of Economics, and was awarded Music Prize for Young guitarist, given by a monthly magazine Guitar Friend. When Andrés Segovia gave his second concert tour of Japan in 1959, Matsuda was given the opportunity of playing for him and although he (Segovia) had heard number of guitarists who played for him during the tour, he was of the firm opinion that since it was necessary for one good, young student to go to Europe, Akinobu Matsuda was the one. In 1960 he travelled to Europe where for two years he studied with Segovia and Alirio Díaz in Siena, Italy, and in Santiago de Compostela Spain. During this time he also studied with John Williams in London recommended by Segovia. In 1961 he was awarded Papas-Puyana Prize at the International Guitar Competition in Spain, under auspices of Andrés Segovia, sponsored by the Conservatory of Music at Orense, Spain.

In 1962 Akinobu Matsuda gave many concerts in the USA and appearances on TV and radio broadcasts. In 1963 he received the Japan Critic Club Prize of the year. In 1964 he was invited again to the USA to give concerts, and made debut appearances in Hong Kong and Singapore. In 1969 he made his debut concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York and in Wigmore Hall in London with great success. Around that time Segovia said of Matsuda: "Japan now has a guitarist" and this opinion was confirmed by the critics who gave his recitals very favourable reviews.

In 1973 Akinobu Matsuda undertook a concert tour in England and performed also in Paris and Dublin, made a recording for Argo Decca, London, and was invited as a solo player in Bergen Music Festival, Norway. In 1974 he attended the Hong Kong Arts Festival as a solo Guitarist. In 1976 he was invited as stand in for Maestro Andrés Segovia during the making of Christopher Nupen's famous film Andrés Segovia: The Song of the Guitar, shot in the Palaces of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. In 1979 he became an Honorary Board of Directors of International Castelnuovo-Tedesco Society.

In 1982 Akinobu Matsuda appeared as presenter in NHK television series "Let's play guitar" (NHK is the national broadcasting network of Japan). In 1985 he gave world premiere of several pieces from Capriccios de Goya by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and bestowed an award of Cultural Services from his native city Himeji. In 1989 he was charged as a jury for the 1st Andrés Segovia International Competition held at El Escorial, Spain. In 1990 he gave financial support to a project for the protection of wild birds, giving a charity concert entitled "Save the Bird Concert".

In 1992 Akinobu Matsuda issued "Sound of the Guitar 2". In 1995 he played Platero and I by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco based on poems by the Spanish Poet Juan Ramon Jimenez, to accompany a shadow picture show by Japan's leading exponent of the art, Seiji Hujisiro. In June-July 1996 he made a concert tour in Germany. His essay "Guitar is an Orchestra of a Small Planet" was published in 2001. In 2003 he issued "Sound of the Guitar 3" sub titled as "Guitar is an Orchestra of a small Planet" recorded in France.

Source: Akinobu Matsuda Website; Liner notes to the LP 'The Classic Sound of the Guitar' (Argo, 1974)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2008)

Akinobu (Jiro) Matsuda: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Akinobu Matsuda, a guitarist (Official Website)


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