Carlos Barbosa-Lima

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Carlos Barbosa-Lima
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Carlos Barbosa-Lima
Background information
Birth nameAntonio Carlos Ribeiro Barbosa Lima
Born (1944-12-17) December 17, 1944 (age 73)
São Paulo, Brazil
GenresClassical, jazz, Brazilian
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger
Years active1958 – present
LabelsConcord Jazz, Zoho

Antonio Carlos Ribeiro Barbosa Lima (born December 17, 1944) is a classical and jazz guitarist from Brazil. He has spent most of his professional life as a resident in the United States, devoting much of his time as a recitalist on international concert tours. He has appeared often as a soloist and with orchestras

Early development[edit]

Born on December 17, 1944 in São Paulo, Brazil, Barbosa-Lima grew up in the Brooklyn district of the city. He states that he began playing guitar when he was seven.[1]

Barbosa-Lima recalls that his father, Manuel Carlos, hired an instructor to teach him how to play guitar.[2] The lessons were then transferred from the father to the son, and the child became known in the neighborhood as a prodigy. After two years of lessons with Benedito Moreira, the young man was introduced to Brazilian guitarist composer Luiz Bonfá.[3] Under the recommendation of Bonfa, Barbosa-Lima was directed to Isaias Savio, the father of the classical guitar school of Brasil.[4] At the behest of family, friends, and acquaintances, he made his concert debut in Sao Paulo in November 1957 when he was twelve years old.[5] During the next year, he performed on a television variety show that introduced young musicians and gave a solo concert in Rio de Janeiro.[6] He signed a contract with Chantecler, which was part of RCA Brazil, and in June 1958 he released his first album, Dez Dedos Magicos Num Violão De Ouro.[7]

In 1960 Barbosa-Lima began the life of a traveling musician, touring in Montevideo, Uruguay, and eastern Brazil.[8] He made his American debut in Washington, D.C, in 1967.[9] He toured through the U.S. and Central and South America.[10] Barbosa-Lima was now making his own arrangements for guitar. In 1964 he released an album of arrangements by the popular Brazilian songwriter, Catullo. Friends of Barbosa-Lima heard these arrangements and encouraged him to continue arranging for guitar.[11]

Professional life[edit]

In 1967 Barbosa-Lima gave his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (then known as Carnegie Recital Hall).[12] This concert was met once again with excellent reviews and moved his career onto the global concert stage.[13] In 1968 he went to Madrid to play for Andrés Segovia.[14] After returning two years later, he gave a concert in New York's Town Hall. At the conclusion of this concert he was approached by Harold Shaw and Shaw Concerts who offered him a steady stream of concert dates within the United States.[15] With the heavy concert schedule and Master classes now available to him through Shaw Concerts Barbosa-Lima took a teaching position at Carnegie Mellon University (1974–1978). It was during this time that Barbosa-Lima's reputation as a world class guitarist began to blossom and composers began writing works for him. One very important composer of this time was Alberto Ginastera who composed the Sonata for guitar, op. 47 for Barbosa-Lima.[16] The later end of the decade (1977) saw Barbosa-Lima perform Francisco Mignone's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[17]

As the 1980s began Barbosa-Lima moved to New York City (1981) and took a teaching post at the Manhattan School of Music. Once in New York Barbosa-Lima began to perform with Jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd.[18] Upon hearing Barbosa-Lima's arrangements Mr. Byrd immediately arranged for Barbosa-Lima to meet and perform for Carl Jefferson (the owner of Concord records). Carl Jefferson signed Barbosa-Lima and eleven recordings were to follow on the Concord Jazz label.[19] In 1982 Barbosa-Lima made frequent contact with fellow Brazilian, Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the world's most popular composers of all time. Barbosa-Lima would often meet him at Jobim's upper east side apartment in New York City for impromptu jam sessions. It was out of these sessions that came the recording Carlos Barbosa-Lima plays Music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and George Gershwin a crossover CD before the word was popular.[20] Jobim was immediately impressed with Barbosa-Lima's arranging technique for guitar which Barbosa-Lima describes as "multi-linear" basically meaning several voices moving at once like classical guitar technique. At the time of their meetings Jobim was more familiar with the Brazilian guitar technique which utilized a "block chord" technique as Jobim himself used.[21] "...Barbosa-Lima brings an ear attuned to counterpoint and technique that gives each independent line its own voice. His transcriptions find and define every moving part, in bossa novas and countermelodies together as he does in Gershwin, he sounds like a team of guitarists".[22] And in keeping with Barbosa-Lima's multi-linear technique the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, who has long been a personal friend of his, has said; "...when unknowingly I [Brouwer] walked by a hotel room and heard guitar music I thought I was listening to a guitar duo and then suddenly recognized the music and realized it was Barbosa-Lima playing solo. If I weren't a guitar player and guitar composer who noticed a mistake by one of the violinists during a rehearsal of a seventy-member orchestra my confusion could be justified. I believe that Carlos Barbosa-Lima is a genius of transcriptions of Latin American music for guitar."[23]

Currently Barbosa-Lima records for the Zoho music record label and has released five recordings under this label and the direction of Barbosa-Lima's recordings as well as his concert programing have a definite Latin American concept.[24] In April, 2010 Barbosa-Lima celebrated the release of his fiftieth recording release, Merengue (Zoho Music, CD 200911) at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.


Carlos Barbosa-Lima's style integrates classical, Latin, and jazz. His discography extends over forty releases and over fifty years.[25]

Due to his first recording (age 13) having been made in 1958,[26] when the recording industry had not yet gone digital, the initial recordings were all on analog media, primarily 45rpm, 78 rpm, and LP disks, along with cassette tapes. A long-term relationship with Concord Records developed in 1982,[27] and it began on analog media, taking the recording process into the digital age with CDs.

When Concord changed its focus, Barbosa-Lima developed a new partnership with the New York-based Zoho label in 2001 beginning with his recording Frenesi (Zoho 200408).[28]


  • Music for Guitar and Orchestra
  • Concierto de Aranjuez Joaquin Rodrigo
  • Fantasia para un gentilhombre Joaquin Rodrigo
  • Concierto Antillano Ernesto Cordero
  • Concierto del Sur Manuel Ponce
  • Concerto no.1 Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
  • Capricio Diabolico Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
  • Concertino no.1 Guido Santorsola
  • Concertino no.2 Guido Santorsola
  • Concerto Heitor Villa-Lobos
  • A Lenda do Caboclo (arr by ByronYasui) Heitor Villa-Lobos
  • Concerto Francisco Mignone
  • Concerto de Copacabana Radanies Gnattali
  • Piccola Arieta no.2 Byron Yasui
  • Rhapsody in Blue (arr by CBL) George Gershwin
  • Concierto en modo frigio Eduardo Grau
  • Eloise and Abelard Bobby Scott
  • Clio Bobby Scott
  • From Yesterday to Penny Lane (arr Brouwer) Paul McCartney/John Lennon
  • Concertino da California Albert Harris
  • Suite Retratos Radanes Gnattali
  • Concerto (viola brasileira) Theodoro Nogueira
  • O Boto (arr by Byron Yasui) Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Saudade do Brasil (arr Paulo Jobim) Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Meu amigo Radames (arr Paulo Jobim) Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Concerto (arr by CBL) George Frederic Handel
  • Concerto (arr CBL) Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Modinha (arr Bobby Scott) Francisco Mignone
  • Amazonia (arr CBL) Laurindo Almeida


  • Fifteen Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti
  • Sonata no.2 by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Suite by George Frederic Handel
  • Six Lute Pieces by Silvius Leopold Weiss
  • Several pieces by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, and Gabriel Faure
  • Several pieces by Isaac Albeniz & Enrique Granados
  • Works by Ernesto Lecuona, Rafael Hernandez Marin, Cesar Almodovar, Enric Madriguera, Agustin Lara, Alberto Dominguez, Alvaro Carrillo, Ruben Fuentes
  • Pieces by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho Pixinguinha, along with pieces by Luiz Bonfa, Noel Rosa, Ary Barroso, Ernesto Nazareth, Catullo do Paixao Cearense
  • Many arrangements of music composed by Mason Williams, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Dave Brubeck, Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin, and several that incorporate American folk songs
  • Music from Scandinavian countries and several pieces by Kurt Weill have been arranged, with other, more well-known pieces such as "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" (from Evita) by Andrew Lloyd Webber; "Send in the Clowns" by Stephen Sondheim, "Nuages" by Django Reinhardt, "Summer of '42", by Michel Legrand, and "Memory" (from Cats), by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Music written for or dedicated to Carlos Barbosa-Lima[citation needed]

  • "Fantasy on a Hawaiian Lullaby", by Byron Yasui, based on "Pupu Hinu Hinu" by Nona Beamer,
  • Several other pieces by Byron Yasui
  • Works by Leo Brouwer, Manuel Ponce, Guido Santorsola, Isaias Savio, Antonio Lauro, Alberto Ginastera, Ernesto Cordero (musician)|Ernesto Cordero, Julio Cesar Oliva, Gentil Montana, Abel Carlevaro, Diego Legrand, Carlos Payes
  • pieces by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Francisco Mignone, Radames Gnattali, Laurindo Almeida, Paulo Bellinati, Mauricio Carrilho, Carlos Gomez, Oscar Fernandez (musician)|Oscar Fernandez
  • Pieces by Bobby Scott, including solos, chamber music, guitar and chamber orchestra pieces


  • Dez Dedos Magicos Num Violão De Ouro (Chantecler, 1958)
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Jobim & Gershwin (Concord Jazz, 1982)
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays 'The Entertainer' and Selected Works by Scott Joplin (Concord, 1983)
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Luiz Bonfa & Cole Porter (Concord, 1984)
  • Music of the Brazilian Masters (Concord, 1990)
  • Music of the Americas (Concord, 1991)
  • Impressions (Concord, 1991)
  • Rhapsody in Blue/West Side Story (Concord, 1992)
  • Chants for the Chief (Concord, 1992)
  • Brazil, with Love (Concord, 1992)
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Ginastera's Sonata (Concord, 1993)
  • Twilight in Rio (Concord, 1995)
  • From Yesterday to Penny Lane (Concord, 1997)
  • O Boto (Concord, 1998)
  • Mambo No. 5 (2001)
  • Natalia (2003)
  • Frenesi (Zoho, 2004)
  • Siboney (Zoho, 2004)
  • Carioca (Zoho, 2006)
  • Alma y Corazon (On, 2007)
  • O Boto (Zoho, 2007)
  • Merengue (Zoho, 2009)
  • Leo Brouwer: Beatlerianas (Zoho, 2013)
  • The Chantecler Sessions, Vol. 1: 1958–1959 (Zoho, 2015)
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Mason Williams (Zoho, 2016)
  • The Chantecler Sessions, Vol. 2 1960–1961 (Zoho, 2016)[29]

Books and monographs[edit]

  • 1984 Belwin Mills Music of Scott Joplin
  • 1993 Mel Bay Master Anthology of Blues Guitar Solos (Volume I) (Book/CD)
  • 1993 Warner Bros. Music of Isaac Albéniz (Book/CD)
  • 1994 Mel Bay Brazilian Music for Acoustic Guitar (two volumes)
  • 1995 Warner Bros. Music of Debussy & Ravel
  • 1996 Mel Bay Suite Antilliana composed by Ernesto Cordeiro (Book/CD)
  • 1997 Mel Bay Brazilian Jazz Guitar Styles (BookCD)
  • 1998 Mel Bay 30 Short Pieces for Guitar (Book/CD)
  • 1999 Mel Bay Arpreggio Studies for Guitar (Book/CD)


Guitar Solo Publications (GSP): arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

  • Three American Folk Songs
  • Four Pieces by Luiz Bonfa
  • Six Pieces by Dave Brubeck
  • Eleven Immortal Songs by Catullo da Paixao Cearense
  • Samba Chorado by Thiago de Mello
  • Nine Pieces by Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Seven Valsas de Esquina by Francisco Mignone
  • Four Pieces by Ernesto Nazareth
  • Eight Pieces by Alfredo Viana "Pixinguinha"
  • Four Pieces by Alfredo Vianna "Pixinguinha"
  • Impressions – Eleven Pieces by Faure, Ravel, Debussy, Satie
  • Twelve Modinhas – by various authors

Columbia Music Company (CMC): arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

  • Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti
  • Sonata No.2 (orig. violin) by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Suite (orig. harpsichord) by George Frederic Haendel
  • Concerto for Guitar & String Orchestra by George Frederic Haendel
  • Six Lute Pieces by Sylvius Leopold Weiss
  • Cadiz by Isaac Albeniz
  • Cordoba by Isaac Albeniz
  • Spanish Dances No. 3 & 6 by Enrique Granados

Original works by various authors edited by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

  • Twelve Etudes by Francisco Mignone (dedicated to Barbosa-Lima)
  • Suite by Leonardo Balada
  • Sonatina by Albert Harris
  • Partita by John Duarte (dedicated to Barbosa-Lima)
  • Valsa-Choro by Guido Santorsola (dedicated to Barbosa-Lima)

Warner Brothers: arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

  • Music by Scott Joplin
  • Music by Isaac Albeniz
  • Music by Debussy and Ravel

Boosey and Hawkes

  • Sonata Op.47 by Alberto Ginastera (dedicated to Barbosa-Lima)
  • Two Dances from Suite de Danzas Criollas (arranged by Barbosa-Lima)

Ricordi Brasileira

  • Suite Antiga by Guido Santorsola (edited by Barbosa-Lima)


  • 1964 Vereda da Salvacao soundtrack (with Viola Brasileira)
  • 1983 Deal of the Century soundtrack
  • 1984 Selected Solos
  • 1997 Estrada do Sol
  • 1999 Favorite Guitar Solos (Mel Bay)
  • 2001 Classic Guitar (Mel Bay)


  1. ^ Mel Bay 2010
  2. ^ Del Casale 1998, p.8.
  3. ^ Del Casale 1998, p. 8.
  4. ^ Del Casale 1998, p. 8.
  5. ^ GFA
  6. ^ Del Casale 1998, p.8
  7. ^ Mel Bay 2010
  8. ^ Del Casale 1998
  9. ^ Del Casale 1998
  10. ^ Del Casale 1998
  11. ^ Del Casale 1998
  12. ^ Del Casale 1998
  13. ^ MelBay 2010
  14. ^ Del Casale 1998
  15. ^ Del Casale 1998
  16. ^ Del Casale 1998
  17. ^ Del Casale 1998
  18. ^ Del Casale 1998
  19. ^ GFA 2010
  20. ^ Del Casale 1998
  21. ^ Del Casale 1999
  22. ^ Pareles 1982,
  23. ^ Saulter 2010
  24. ^ Saulter 2010
  25. ^ Becker
  26. ^ Del Casale 1998
  27. ^ Del Casale 1998
  28. ^ Becker, Jochen, pres. Zoho Music 2011
  29. ^ "Carlos Barbosa-Lima | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 December 2017.


  • Brubeck, Dave. "Music of the Americas" 6 pieces arranged for solo guitar by Carlos Barbosa-Lima (1991), (USA, San Francisco CA, Guitar Solo Publications)
  • Del Casale, Lawrence (1998) . "Carlos Barbosa-Lima, The ChameleonPart I, 1944–1982", ' ' GFA Soundboard' ', vol.25, no.2
  • Evans, Tom and Mary Anne, Guitars, Music, History, Construction and Players. (New York: facts on File, 1977), pp. 286–288
  • Guitar Foundation of America. "Carlos Barbosa-Lima in New York City" [Web Site], (1973–2011) site address:
  • Mel Bay Publications, Carlos Barbosa-Lima-Mel Bay Profile [Web site], (2010), site address:
  • Pareles, John (1982). The New York Times, review. "Guitar: Carlos Barbosa-Lima"
  • Saulter, Gerry (May,2010). "An Interview with Carlos Barbosa-Lima" "Classical Guitar magazine"
  • Syukhtun Editions, Theo Rodic [web site] "Isaias Savio" (27 December 2010) Site address:
  • Zoho Music, Becker, Jochen, president [web site] (2011)