• Born 1952
Often appears with
Manuel Barrueco is admired for his masterful and eloquent guitar playing, his deep musicianship, and his versatility in programming. He has performed recitals and with orchestras throughout the world, which have been featured in live broadcasts in several countries.
Barrueco was born on December 16, 1952, in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. He took up the guitar at age eight and did his early studies at the Esteban Salas Conservatory in Cuba. When he was a teenager, his family moved to the United States, and he went on to study at the Peabody Conservatory with Aaron Shearer. He made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1974, the same year he won the Concerto Artists Guild Competition. His concert and recital programs reveal his commitment to expanding the repertory for the classical guitar and working with other highly skilled performers. His transcriptions of Bach's Violin Sonatas are widely acclaimed. Barrueco has premiered works by Toru Takemitsu and Roberto Sierra and collaborated with Steven Stucky and Arvo Pärt. He has toured with jazz guitarist Al di Meola and released an album of duets, Nylon and Steel, with di Meola, rock guitarist Steve Morse, and Andy Summers, formerly of the rock group the Police. He has performed with orchestras in Europe and Asia, as well as North America. Not only have his performances been broadcast on national networks in Japan, Germany, and Spain, but he has also appeared on the American television shows CBS Sunday Morning, Breakfast with the Arts, and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. He is the subject of the 2006 documentary Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life, which features interviews about his life and career, as well as footage of him teaching and performing.
Barrueco's recordings, primarily found on the EMI label, reflect his versatility. The traditional guitar repertoire of Spanish composers Albéniz, Rodrigo, Turina, and de Falla is represented, but you also find Latin and South American composers such as Chávez, Piazzolla, and Barrios-Mangoré, and Cuban composers Lecuona and Brouwer, and many others, on his albums. In 2013, Barrueco issued a recording on the Tonar Music label of his arrangements of Manolo Sanlúcar's music, Medea, with the Tenerife Symphony and conductor Víctor Pablo Pérez. He was featured, with Giancarlo Guerrero, on an album of music by Heitor Villa-Lobos in 2019, on the Naxos label.
Barrueco's other great commitment is to teaching. He helped establish the guitar program at the Manhattan School of Music right after graduation, and now teaches at the Peabody Conservatory, annually presenting a master class seminar for students from around the world.