News 2023

There is a great deal of news with which to start the New Year, beginning with our slight change of name that makes the famous old university town where we meet more prominent. We are now The Cambridge Consortium for Guitar Research. Details of our last conference can now be found on the colloquia page.

Congratulations to our benefactor, Jeffrey Wells, who has been elected an Honorary member. We encourage you to visit his website where you will find luxurious photographs of the guitars, from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, in the Austin-Marie collection.  

We are delighted to announce that The Great Vogue for the Guitar in Western Europe1800-1840, edited by Christopher Page, Paul Sparks and James Westbrook, and in almost every respect a Consortium book, will be published by Boydell and Brewer within the next few weeks.

For details and pre-ordering, visit:

The Contents are as follows: 

Foreword – Richard Savino

Introduction – Christopher Page, Paul Sparks and James Westbrook

Eighteenth-century precedents: the role of Paris – Damián Martín Gil and Erik Stenstadvold

The Great Vogue for the guitar: an overview – Christopher Page

The instrument and its makers – James Westbrook

Printing and publishing music for the guitar with Appendix: Matteo Carcassi – Erik Stenstadvold

Amateurs and professionals – Christopher Page

Teaching and learning the guitar – Erik Stenstadvold

Early-nineteenth-century guitars in the saleroom, private hands and public collections – James Westbrook

Music for early-nineteenth-century guitars in the saleroom, private hands and public collections – Kenneth Sparr

Accompanied song – Jelma van Amersfoort

Chamber music for the guitar – Jukka Savijoki

Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) – Mario Torta

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) – Gerhard Penn

Fernando Sor (1778-1839) – Erik Stenstadvold

Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849) – Luis Briso de Montiano

Emilia Giuliani (1813-1850) – Nicoletta Confalone

Giulio Regondi (1822/23-1872) and Catharina Pratten née Pelzer (1824-1895) – Sarah Clarke

Appendix: A note on string-making – Jenny Nex


Our members have been busy recently in other ways:

Luis Briso de Montiano has contributed a twenty-three-page catalogue of a Spanish collection of manuscripts for solo guitar solo. See his ‘Catálogo del Fondo Manuela Vazquez-Barros de la Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano’, in Jesús Saiz Huedo (ed.), Los Manuscritos del Fondo Manuela Vazquez-Barros de la Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, 2022), pp. 137-159.

Luis also has as article in press for Roseta: ‘Dionisio Aguado – Testamento y Memoria’.

Paul Sparks has just published ‘Una breve storia del mandolino napoletano in Europa nel XVIII secolo’, which appears in Anna Rita Addessi, et al., eds., Il mandolino a Napoli nel Settecento (Naples, Edizioni Turchini, 2021).

James Westbrook gave a paper on ‘The Early American Guitar’’at the San Anselmo Inn, California, on 26 January 2023. Since James was a contributor to the book Inventing the American Guitar (Milwaukee, Hal Leonard Books, 2013), and has had a life-long interest in guitars by C. F. Martin, he welcomed the challenge to deliver a paper on the American guitar to an American audience. The room was full, with a real mix of people. Most owned a guitar, and everybody knew of the Martin guitar company. There were American guitar dealers, restorers, and people who interest had been inspired by the inheritance of a Martin guitar. Seven of the finest rare American guitars were available to be shown, thanks to the generosity of Jeffrey Wells and the Austin-Marie Guitar Collection. The paper focused on the importation and use of the Spanish guitar prior to Martin’s arrival in America in 1833 and considered the question of whether there were already established makers in America at that time. James then went on to present some of the Martin models and partnerships, and work by other American makers, such as Scherr and Ashborn. The talk was was rounded off with a little local history concerning the Californian dealers and players, a word on the type of strings used and the process of evolution which created the American flat-top guitar of today.

Christopher Page has just published a two-part article in Soundboard Scholar, “An Attractive and Varied Repertoire’: The guitar revival of 1860-1900 and Victorian Song’. The article surveys and presents the data for over a thousand guitar-accompanied performances by amateur singers.

Cohort news. Congratulations to Luis Mantovani, who writes ‘I wanted to share with you that the Austrian Society for Musicology has selected my article “Fine-tuning Ferdinand Rebay’s Second Sonata in E major for Guitar” for the Best Paper Award 2022. The official result will be announced at their annual meeting by mid-October and the article will be published on MusAu – Musicologica Austriaca by the end of the year.