I first got interested in playing the guitar when I was 17. I liked ragtime/country blues (anyone remember Rev. Gary Davies?) and John Renbourn, though I never owned a steel string guitar. I taught myself to read music and started to explore the classical guitar repertoire. Then I went to college and got the chance of free(!) guitar lessons every week with Julian Byzantine, who taught me a lot about music as well as the guitar. My left hand underwent some pretty thorough training.
The next decisive moment was (about a year later) attending a lecture-recital given by Anthony Rooley in 1973. He was really friendly and enthusiastic and from that moment on I realised I had to play the lute. Being an impoverished student it took me some time to get around to buying a lute, and it wasn't until the end of my doctoral studies (1979) that I finally acquired a lute, aged 24 (me, not the lute). I filed off my nails, changed my right hand to "thumb-inside", put the guitar in its case and that was that.
In 1980 I attended my first Lute Society Summer School at Cheltenham. I was particularly impressed with Chris Wilson's recital of early 16th C music and went off to make myself a 6c lute. I subsequently had further lessons with Chris in London and continued to explore Spinacino, Capirola, Francesco, etc. My first concerts on the lute were around this time. I also met Stewart McCoy, and we've been playing lute duets ever since.
I made several more lutes for my own use, then started to take commissions in 1988. One of the first was from a lady called Claire who was looking for both a lute and an accompanist for lute songs. I made her a nice lute and she became my wife! ..“
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Added on: Sep 20, 2009 | Hits: 677