Farewell to another towering figure in musical history – Julian Bream

by Anthony Muriel on October 16, 2020

2020 has seen the departure of one of the most distinguished musical artists of the 20th Century, Julian Bream (15th July 1933 – 14th August 2020). During his career that spanned well over 50 years, he was an eminent figure of classical music and played a momentous role in improving the awareness of the classical guitar as a respectable instrument.

Born in Battersea, south-west London, son of Londoner Henry Bream, a commercial musician who played the jazz styled guitar (plectrum) in the local areas. Julian’s early interest in music guided him to eventually perform with the likes of Stephane Grappelli, a renowned jazz violinist, at the Royal Albert Hall.

Julian’s inspiration for the classical guitar stemmed from hearing recordings of Andres Segovia, a Spanish musician acclaimed as the foremost guitarist of his time. Although classically trained on the piano and cello at the Royal College of Music, Julian’s interest in the guitar never diminished. With no guitar tutors at the Royal College of Music, his first guitar lessons were from Boris Perott – the founder of the Philharmonic Society of Guitarists in London.

Julian Bream

As Bream continued to develop his own technique, the number of recitals with musical societies also increased, as with his reputation. In was in late 1947 when Julian eventually played for Andres Segovia who established a genuine admiration Bream’s musicianship.

In the 1950’s he travelled to Switzerland and America performing recitals, and this led to performances across the globe. Julian also taught himself to play the six-string lute after discovering a volume of lute solos by John Dowland and being astonished by its musical beauty.

With numerous accomplishments in his life, Julian Bream was the first classical guitarist to feature in BBC’s This Is Your Life (1997) with a plethora of awards and honours under his belt.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Julian Bream, please do seek out his work.

R.I.P.  Julian Bream – a very special musical being.

Anthony – Real Music Company Auckland