Liona Boyd, known as "First Lady of the Guitar," has introduced millions of people around the world to the art of the classical guitar through her concerts, television specials, and recordings. Her grandmother came from Linares where Segovia was born, and her father grew up in Bilbao, but Liona was born in London, England. She came to Canada at age eight and gave her first "concert" on the treble recorder as part of the ocean liner's talent competition. At age fourteen she asked her parents for a guitar as a Christmas present. After hearing the great English guitarist, Julian Bream, Liona was determined to master the instrument and took private lessons with Eli Kassner, Andres Segovia, Narcisco Yepes, Alirio Diaz, and Bream himself.
Liona Boyd completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performance at the University of Toronto where she graduated with honors and won first prize in the Canadian National Music Competition. After two years of private study with Alexandre Lagoya in Paris, Liona returned to North America and recorded her first album for Boot/London Records. After her debut at Carnegie Recital Hall the New York Times praised her "flair for brilliance."
Liona gave concerts around the globe and had the opportunity to play for dozens of world leaders such as the British Royal Family, the King and Queen of Spain, Presidents of the United States and Mexico, the Prime ministers of Canada, France, and Britain, and the Chancellor of Germany, as well as at NATO and Summit Conferences. Invited by Moscow's Mayor Gavrill Popov, Liona became the first Canadian to perform at the Kremlin when she played at an exclusive New Year's Eve Gala, and she was the first performer at the new Paris Opera House. Liona made her musical presence felt in North America performing with such orchestras as The Boston Pops. Breaking with classical tradition she has played with Chet Atkins, toured with Gordon Lightfoot and Tracy Chapman, and recorded with Roger Whittaker and Georges Zamfir. A highly successful recording career for CBS/Sony Records brought her music to a vast international audience. The Canberra Times in Australia wrote "breathtakingly beautiful playing, the most musically accomplished and technically flawless playing that I have heard from any guitarist."
Liona often performs her own music as well as works composed especially for her. Her playing was featured in the 20th Century Fox film, "A Walk in the Clouds," which won a Golden Globe Award for best musical score. Liona's virtuoso talents have resulted in five gold and three platinum albums, five Juno awards (Canada's equivalent of the Grammy), four honorary degrees, and The Order of Canada. She is a five time winner of the Guitar Player Magazine poll for top classical guitarist and has been inducted into their "Gallery of Greats." CBC produced several one-hour specials including "Romancing the Guitar - The Life and Times of Liona Boyd" and, her autobiography "In My Own Key - My Life in Love and Music" became a best seller in Canada.
Recently Liona decided to pursue her passion for Latin culture and love of the Spanish language. She combined popular Latin rhythms with her romantic Spanish guitar music in her latest release "Camino Latino/Latin Journey." "Having lived in Mexico as a teenager I fell in love with the country, the food, the dancing and, of course, the music! Whenever my concert tours have taken me to South and Central America I have felt a special rapport with my audiences." Now, in addition to playing solo and orchestral concerts, Liona has been touring with a "Nuevo Latino" band, and special guest, Pavlo.
Liona wrote "Music contributes profoundly to the richness and beauty of our life experience. I feel so fortunate to share this wonderful international language with people around the world." Liona presently resides in California where she maintains a busy schedule of recording and touring.
Check out the artist's website:
4. Aria Di Portonova
5. Spirit of the Moving Waters
6. Spirit of the Forest
7. Spirit of the West Wind
8. Serenade For Autumn
9. Serenade For Winter
10. Serenade For Spring
11. Serenade For Summer
12. Preludio Poetico
13. Fantasy On a Romantic Theme
14. Lullaby For My Love