Carlos Bonell Concert at the Purbeck Guitar Festival

Carlos Bonell, photo Roy Stedall-Humphryes, Malaga, Spain, 2004
Photo by Roy Stedall-Humphryes, Malaga, Spain, 2004

Bringing classical guitar into the mainstream

We are really lucky to have the great classical guitarist, Carlos Bonell at our Purbeck Guitar Festival in Wareham on the 1st June.

Carlos Bonell is a famous classical guitarist, who has played in concerts all over the world. He is passionate about bringing classical guitar into the mainstream and has recorded a number of albums from traditional guitar classics to his own arrangements of the Queen and Beatles songs. 

“A player of superb poetic gifts”
New York Times newspaper

Carlos started to play guitar at the age of five. He completed his studies at the Royal College of Music with John Williams and was appointed the youngest ever professor at the age of 22!

A masterclass in magic”
BBC Music Magazine

Carlos has recorded more than twenty albums and played in forty countries, with concert appearances ranging from intimate recitals to concertos with symphony orchestras. He recorded a Grammy nominated album with John Wililams and has performed in concert with him on a number of occasions.

Other artists with whom Carlos has recorded and appeared in concert include guitarists Paco Peña and Martin Taylor (also performing The Purbeck Guitar Festival), violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Salvatore Accardo, and singers Patricia Rozario, Teresa Berganza and the late Philip Langridge.

Benefit concert in London with John Williams and Paco Peña, 1999

Carlos also recorded the guitar for the popular TV Series Inspector Morse theme and the follow up series Endeavour (young inspector Morse). The TV theme was voted the nation’s favourite theme by Classic FM in 2021.

Inspector Morse with guitar by Carlos Bonell
“Absolutely exquisite”
Brian May on Carlos Bonell
Brian May

Carlos’ interest in bringing the classical guitar into the mainstream led in 2008 to his album release Queen Guitar Rhapsodies, in concerto-style arrangements of music by the group Queen for solo guitar and symphony orchestra. It was widely praised, including by Queen’s Brian May who described it as “Absolutely exquisite”.

His album Magical Mystery Guitar Tour, inspired by his association with Sir Paul McCartney is dedicated to the music of the Beatles in Carlos’ own arrangements for solo guitar. It went to number one on the UK iTunes classical album charts in May 2012. In fact Carlos played guitar on the 1984 McCartney Album ‘Give My Regards to Broadstreet’

Magical mystery guitar tour Carlos Bonell
Carlos Bonell with Sir Paul McCartney

Concert in Wareham

From Royal Courts to Strawberry Fields

1st June at the Priory Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham

Carlos Bonell’s concert in Wareham is from called from ‘Royal Courts to Strawberry Fields’ and reflects his interest in classical guitar’s place in mainstream music. The programme (see list below) will include some classical guitar pieces as well as some of his tracks from his Queen and Beatles themed albums.

Programme for Carlos Bonell's concert in Wareham

Gaspar Sanz: Danza de las Hachas

c.1640-c.1720 Canarios

Heitor Villa-Lobos:

1887-1959 Prelude no.3

Choros no.1

Armand Coeck:

b.1941 Midnight Dance

Carlos Bonell: Variations (2022)

b.1949 Love in Age (2023)

Freddie Mercury:

1946-1991 Nevermore*

Love of my Life*

The Beatles*:

Penny Lane*

Strawberry Fields*

Here Comes The Sun*

Albeniz: Granada

Trad. Arr Bonell