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Reminiscing on Andrés Segovia

Ken Moore, Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge, Department of Musical Instruments

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014

Philippe de Montebello with Andrés Segovia, 1986

Former Director Philippe de Montebello in the galleries with Andrés Segovia, 1986. Photograph © Richard Lombard

«February 21 marks the birthday of classical guitarist Andrés Segovia (1893–1987). The Museum is home to two of his instruments—including the famed 1937 guitar made by Hermann Hauser, an instrument that Segovia called "the greatest guitar of our epoch."»

In early 1986, I had the privilege of being invited to lunch with Maestro Segovia to help prepare for the donation and presentation of his guitars to the Met later that year. Nervous at the opportunity to meet a true musical genius and childhood hero, I was almost speechless during the hour and a half repast.

Segovia cheerfully filled the time with stories of his extensive travels, the guitar's universal appeal, people he played for and with, composers who wrote for him, and concerns about the continued interest in modern guitar studies. He told me how honored he and his wife, Emilita, were to present his precious instruments to the Museum—a thank you to New York City for helping to establish his career in 1927.

Of course, it has been our honor to be able to showcase his historic instruments for an international audience of makers, players, and Segovia fans. In the end, he needn't have worried about his legacy, as the classical guitar is studied now more than ever.

Related Link
Explore the guitar built for Segovia by Hermann Hauser in Jayson Kerr Dobney's 82nd and Fifth episode, "String Theory."

Department(s): Musical Instruments


  • jingle says:

    Got to say happy birthday old man!

    Posted: February 21, 2014, 2:25 p.m.

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About the Author

Ken Moore is the Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge of the Department of Musical Instruments.

About this Blog

The Museum's collection of musical instruments includes approximately five thousand examples from six continents and the Pacific Islands, dating from about 300 B.C. to the present. It illustrates the development of musical instruments from all cultures and eras. On this blog, curators and guests will share information about this extraordinary collection, its storied history, the department's public activities, and some of the audio and video recordings from our archives.