Carlos Bonell has been described by the Classical Guitar Magazine, UK as "one of the great communicators of the guitar world". He has recorded more than twenty albums and played in forty countries, with concert appearances ranging from intimate recitals to concertos with symphony orchestras, all while maintaining an active position as a teacher and arranger.
Most recently, Carlos has been assisting Sir Paul McCartney who is composing a concerto for guitar and orchestra. Over many meetings Carlos has notated and recorded drafts of the guitar part. The work was featured in a June 2007 cover article by The New Yorker magazine. Inspired by his association with Sir Paul McCartney, Carlos created his latest album Magical Mystery Guitar Tour, which 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, and the album also entered the top ten in the overall UK iTunes charts. This year Carlos has been presenting Magical Mystery Guitar Tour in concert.
Carlos was born in London of Spanish parents in 1949. He started to play at the age of five, learning to play Spanish folk music from his father who was a keen amateur guitarist. He completed his studies at the Royal College of Music with John Williams, where he was appointed the youngest ever professor at the age of 22. Continuing his relationship with John Williams, Carlos recorded a Grammy nominated album, John Williams and Friends for CBS, with the unusual instrumentation of two guitars, marimba, xylophone and double bass. The group performed throughout the UK for several years.
Carlos made the first of his three recordings of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez in the 1980's. Recorded in Canada with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Charles Dutoit for the Decca label, it was the first-ever digital recording of the concerto and was hailed as "a magnificent triumph" by the Classical Music magazine. It was awarded a coveted rosette by the Penguin CD Guide and has been frequently singled out ever since as the finest version available.
In 1995 Carlos gave a landmark benefit concert at the Wigmore Hall, London with John Williams to raise awareness of the plight of children around the world caught in acts of war. All proceeds were donated to the organization War Child. This was one of many appearances with John Williams during a lifetime's association. 2005 saw the first London International Guitar Festival, of which Carlos was founder and artistic director. The festival has remained to this day the largest guitar festival ever presented in London with events in five major halls.
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.
Carlos is greatly in demand as a teacher, conducting international teaching courses in Italy, Spain and the UK. In addition to his teaching as senior professor at London's Royal College of Music he is Profesor Invitado at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. In Venezuela he was awarded the Cátedra Internacional de Guitarra Carlos Bonell in recognition of his teaching activities. He will teach a master class at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, October 24 at 6 PM in Slonaker Hall. The public is invited to attend ($5 at the door).