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.

GFA Online Event

Consortium member Gerhard Penn will be speaking about his research on the Viennese guitarist Leonard Schulz (1813–1860) for the Guitar Foundation of America on June 26 at 12 noon, US Eastern Time. The event is online and includes five presenters and topics. Registration is required; all the details of the event, including schedule, abstracts, and biographies of the presenters are here.

Recent Publications by Damián Martín-Gil and Luis Briso de Montiano

Two new articles by members of the Consortium published in the Spanish Journal Roseta.

Briso de Montiano, Luis, ‘Dionisio Aguado – Los escritos a Santiago de Masarnau’, Roseta 16 (2021-22), 6-41

Martín-Gil, Damián, ‘El certificado de matrimonio de Fernando Sor (Granada, 1812)’, Roseta 16 (2021-22), 42-55

Download here:

http://www.sociedadespañ ‘

A New Complete Edition of the Guitar Music of Fernando Sor

Our Founder Member Erik Stenstadvold has now released a new critical edition of Fernando Sor’s collected guitar music, published by Guitar Heritage (

This edition, in 14 volumes, is based on the latest research into Sor’s composing and publishing activity. New knowledge about the various early versions of his music has resulted in this edition, in many cases, being modelled on different sources than those used by other modern editors. A thorough General Introduction to the music and a full critical apparatus are provided to each volume. There are also abundant notes on the individual pieces, frequently with suggestions for the performance of ornaments and other interpretative matters. Notation has been standardized to conform to modern practices with high-quality engraving. A discreet (and easily distinguishable) editorial fingering has been added as a service to guitar players of today.

Annual Research Prize

The Consortium for Guitar Research at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, is offering an annual Research Prize of £200 for original research into the history of the guitar, or closely related plucked instruments, during the period 1540–1940. Entries from scholars, performers, instrument makers and collectors are invited. The research must be previously unpublished and may take the form of an article (maximum length 5000 words) or any other form which the competitor finds useful for the best presentation of new facts, thoughts or findings. The judges would welcome (but do not insist upon) the inclusion of photographs, diagrams, images, and short audio or audiovisual recordings. A complete video presentation (not exceeding fifteen minutes in length) may be presented instead of formal written work, perhaps submitted as an unlisted link on YouTube or Vimeo. Other solutions may be possible. (NOTE: Videos of performances must include a substantial element of explication or commentary.)
Submissions must be in English, and all candidates whose native tongue is not English are asked to ensure that their text is checked by a native speaker of English. The opening date for submissions is 15 June 2022; the closing date is 5pm, 15 August 2022. The winning entry will be announced at the Consortium’s Business Meeting on 13 September 2022. The decision of the judges, drawn from members of the Consortium, is final. Submissions should be sent to accompanied by a short synopsis not exceeding 200 words. Entry is open to everyone (no age limit), except for full members of the Consortium (members of the Consortium’s Cohort wing may apply).