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Guitarist Manuel Babiloni Dies

Manuel Babiloni 1959 – 2015

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Internationally renowned guitarist Manuel Babiloni passed away on Monday, 11 May 2015 in Castellón, Spain. He died suddenly while he was doing what he was passionate about in life: playing the guitar. This very sad news was received by an official statement of the Babiloni family.

Manuel Babiloni was born in Castellón de la Plana (Spain) and began studying music taught by his father, Manuel Babiloni Alicart. He studied under the direction of the maestro José Luis González and he received interpretation classes from the composer Matilde Salvador, the wife of the composer Vicente Asencio.

In 1983, he was awarded the Special prize for the best performance of the works by Francisco Tárrega on the 18th occasion of the International Guitar Contest “Francisco Tárrega”, which is held in Benicasim.

In 1986, he attended the 24th. International Course of Spanish Music in Santiago de Compostela, where he won the “Ruiz Morales” award to the most outstanding pupil and the “Ramirez” award to the best guitar player.

Since 1981, he is developing a very intense activity as a guitar player giving concerts frequently all over the Spanish geography and in most European countries, South America and Japan.

Manuel Babiloni is regarded nowadays by the Spanish reviewers as: “ one of the most reputed classical guitar players in this country ”, AMADEUS, Barcelona (Spain); and by the international reviewers as “ a guitarist of the finest quality ” The Irish Times, Dublin (Ireland).

In 1995, Babiloni records his first CD dedicated to Spanish composers, on which he performs works by Francisco Tárrega, Vicente Asencio, Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Turina, Daniel Fortea, and José García Gómez. This recording has obtained highly favourable reviews by international eminent experts: “ This is, without question, the best Tárrega recording I have ever heard. This player adds tone quality to the guitar with a subtlety quite rare” Jan de Kloe, The Classical Guitar., New Castle (United Kingdom)

At present, he is a teacher in the Professional Conservatoire of Music in Castellón, and he also teaches international guitar courses and Master Classes, usually in Spain and in foreign countries.

Since 1998, he directs the International Guitar Course “In memoriam José Luis González”, held every year in Estella (Navarra), and he is the founder and the director of the Guitar Course that has been taking place in Vilafamés (Castellón) since 1999.
Since 1996, Manuel Babiloni directs an intensive International Guitar Course which takes place quarterly in the school of music Tres per Quatre, in Castellón; this course has the support of the Excellent Council of this city.

His great interpretative expression has attracted the interest of several present-day composers, like the young Catalonian composer Josep Pascual, who has dedicated two of his most important guitar works in 2000 to him.

His international career begins in Ireland, playing in Belfast and Dublin where he was invited to participate in a homage to Andrés Segovia in 1987, when this guitar player was still alive. The music critic Barra Boydel wrote about this performance: “Manuel Babiloni showed an intimate, relaxed manner of playing in which his control of an even, sustained piano tone was a particular pleasure.” The Irish Times, Dublin (Ireland).

Among his most important tours it is worth emphasising the ones that took place in Germany, where Babiloni has participated in events like die “Regensburger Gitarrenkonzerte” (Regensburg -Germany-), and has performed in the cities of Passau, Straubing and Aldersbach, Erlangen and Bad Abbach or Braunschweig.

Japan is another of the countries that Babiloni visits periodically, he has been playing concerts and teaching Master Classes in its main cities since 1997 (Tokyo, Osaka or Yokohama). About his performances, the most reputed Japanese music magazines have written: “Babiloni is a guitarist with a great personality” “ His incomparable passion for the works and his deep sensibility reached the heart of the audience” The Gendai Guitar, Tokyo, (Japan)

“Babiloni performed his Spanish music programme with a great splendour, showing the fascinating sound of his guitar. Babiloni answered with six encores to the ovations from the enthusiastic audience.” Harmony, Kiryu, (Japan).

Manuel Babiloni has participated in many Guitar Festivals, like those that took place in Ankara (Turkey); also in international events, like the Gala of the Eurovision of the Regional European Televisions (CIRCOM), celebrated in Slovenia; and he has given concerts in emblematic places like the Palace of the United Nations Organisation in Geneva (Switzerland).

Babiloni has been required by prestigious enterprises like Esmalglass, to be the guest artist for the inauguration of its headquarters in Brazil, and he has collaborated with institutions as important as The Dávalos-Fletcher Foundation, or The European Institute, in its central office in Florence (Italy). He has been a scholarship-holder of the Balaguer-Gonel Foundation for several years.

Manuel Babiloni has constantly collaborated with Spanish and foreign mass media groups, through his performances in many European and South American television channels, as well as with his articles in newspapers like El Mundo or El Periódico Mediterráneo. We might bring out his participation as adviser and performer in a programme of the Valencian Television (TVV-C9), which was dedicated to the figure of Francisco Tárrega. Likewise, Babiloni wrote an analytic study about Tárrega’s Preludes, at the request of the Japanese magazine The Gendai Guitar. This study was published in the section Course for Advanced-Classes in several issues of this magazine (October – December 1997). In 1999, he participated in the First Music Marathon, organised by the “Radio Clásica” of the National Radio of Spain (RNE), to commemorate the International European Music Day.
Manuel Babiloni, together with James Grace, Jonathan Crossley and Viktor van Niekerk performed at the launch of Jose Ramirez Guitars in Africa in May 2013 at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium.