John W. Duarte
Duarte was born in Sheffield, England, but lived in Manchester from the age of 6. Although his surname, Duarte, is of Portuguese origin, he considered himself 100% British — his father was Scottish and his mother was English — a fact that echoed throughout his music. Duarte's English Suite, op. 31, a three-movement work for the guitar, reflects the Renaissance style of court lutenists such as John Dowland and John Johnson.
Education and professional relationships
Duarte was educated at Manchester Central High School (1931–35) and Manchester University Faculty of Technology (1936–40). He worked as a professional chemist until 1969, then abandoned chemistry in favour of full-time dedication to music. His only formal musical education consisted in jazz guitar lessons with Terence "Terry" Usher (1934–36); the rest he learned by self-instruction. He also worked professionally as a player of the trumpet and double bass, performing music of many kinds, and regularly worked as a jazz musician until 1953. He sustained several lasting friendships with great musicians, including a 39-year-long relationship with Andrés Segovia and another with Ida Presti, who died prematurely at the age of 42. Duarte also a taught a young John Williams (guitarist), at the request of his father Len Williams, for a period of three years in London, before Williams entered the Royal College of Music. He played the double bass on occasion in the company of Coleman Hawkins and Django Reinhardt.
Duarte was the composer of nearly 150 works for the guitar and lute (many commissioned with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and other sources). Most have been published and 57 have been commercially recorded by 58 artists and/or ensembles in 24 countries, some several times. His Appalachian Dreams op.121 was recorded by Sharon Isbin on her 2001 Grammy Award winning album Dreams of a World. His piece "Moraviana" was written for the celebrated Czech guitarist Vladislav Blaha, with whom he worked closely. He also made many arrangements (several also recorded), and wrote a number of didactic works, including an introduction to harmony for guitarists.
Articles and publications
Duarte was a regular contributor to the magazine Soundboard, an interviewer and reviewer of books, music, concerts and recordings of many kinds (specializing in Baroque music) with Gramophone, Music Teacher and Classical Guitar, and the author of numerous concert programme notes and about 250 liner notes for records of various kinds, including those for the complete reissue of Julian Bream's recordings for RCA (28 compact discs). He received a Grammy Award for his annotation to the reissue of Segovia's recordings of 1927-39. He contributed regularly to Music in Education, Guitar Review, Guitar International, Music & Musicians, Records and Recording and Performance, and contributed to the revised edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Duarte also wrote a memoir of his relationship with Andres Segovia, Andres Segovia, As I Knew Him, released in book form in 1998.
John W. Duarte died on 23 December 2004. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy, whom he married in 1943, and by two sons and a daughter.
- John W. Duarte obituary, [London] Times, 31 December 2004. No cause of death in this obituary. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
- Duarte, John W. Andres Segovia, As I Knew Him. Pacific, Mo.: Mel Bay, 1998. p. 19