Carlos Barbosa-Lima

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Carlos Barbosa-Lima
CBL Red Bricks 9x12 200 dpi.jpg
Carlos Barbosa-Lima
Background information
Born (1944-12-17) 17 December 1944 (age 72)
São Paulo, Brazil
Genres Classical music
Occupation(s) Guitarist, arranger
Instruments Guitar
Years active fl. ca. 1958 - present
Labels ZOHO Records
Notable instruments
Prenkert guitar

Antonio Carlos Ribeiro Barbosa Lima (born 17 December 1944) is an acclaimed Brazilian virtuoso guitarist, arranger and professor born in São Paulo. 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 regularly appears as a soloist with numerous major orchestras.

Early development[edit]

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

Barbosa-Lima recalls that his father, Manuel Carlos, had hired a music instructor to teach him how to play the guitar.[2] The guitar 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, at the time one of the leading musicians in the field.[3] Under the strong recommendation of Bonfa, the young Carlos was directed to the father of the classical guitar school of Brasil, Isaias Savio.[4] At the behest of family friends and musical acquaintances, and with the firm support of his parents, the young Carlos publicly debuted at a solo concert hall appearance (in São Paulo) in November, 1957, when he was twelve years old.[5]

The immediate rave reviews and enthusiastic public acclaim led to a subsequent invitation for the young guitarist to make his concert debut in Rio de Janeiro, at the time capital of Brazil, preceded by his television debut on a variety style TV show that featured young, up and coming Artists. This was March 1958, Barbosa-Lima was thirteen.[6] These two public appearances led to a recording contract with the then up and coming Chantecler label, initially part of the RCA Brasil group. The LP recording, called "Dez Dedos Magicos Num Violão De Ouro" was released in June 1958, when he was 13 years old.[7]

In 1960 Barbosa-Lima began life on the road, which continues extensively till this day. Trips to Montevideo, Uruguay, and eastern Brazil became common place.[8] In 1967 at the age of 23, Barbosa-Lima made his American debut in Washington, D.C.[9] Excellent reviews followed and Barbosa-Lima's concert career expanded across the United States, Central and South America.[10] Barbosa-Lima was now making his own arrangements for guitar and in 1964 he released an album of arrangements by the popular Brazilian songwriter, Catullo. Close friends of Barbosa-Lima at the time heard these arrangements and encouraged the guitarist to continue on the path of arranging for the 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 truly launched the career of the young guitarist onto the global concert stage where he remains to this day.[13] 1968 marked the year that Barbosa-Lima would travel to Madrid, Spain, to play for Andrés Segovia.[14] Upon his return from Spain in 1970 Barbosa-Lima gave a concert in New York's Town Hall. At the conclusion of this concert Barbosa-Lima was approached by Harold Shaw and Shaw Concerts who offered Barbosa-Lima 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 unique style integrates classical, Latin, and jazz. His discography extends over forty releases and over fifty years. He currently records for the Zoho label.[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]


  • Manhattan School of Music
  • Juilliard School of Music
  • Richard Miller-PhD thesis on "Choros" (Catholic University - Washington, D.C.)
  • Royal College of Music, London UK
  • Regularly conducts master classes worldwide
  • Christopher Coats-MA thesis on Barbosa-Lima's transcribing and arranging for guitar "Keyboard Translations by Guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima: The Evolution from Transcriber to Arranger" (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. )2003.
  • Adjudication international guitar compositions: 1981 = Paris (France), 1992 = NewOrleans (USA), 1996 = New York "Naumburg", 2001 = Mexico City (Mexico), 2002 = Alessandria (Italy), 2009 = Almeria (Spain).


Music for Guitar and Orchestra, Various Categories:

  • Concierto de Aranjuez Joaquín Rodrigo
  • Fantasia para un gentilhombre Joaquín 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 Santórsola
  • Concertino no. 2 (dedicated to CBL) Guido Santórsola
  • Concerto Heitor Villa-Lobos
  • A Lenda do Caboclo (arr. by ByronYasui) Heitor Villa-Lobos
  • Concerto (dedicated to CBL) 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 (dedicated to CBL) Bobby Scott
  • Clio (dedicated to CBL) 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) (ded. to CBL) Theodoro Nogueira
  • O Boto (arr. by Byron Yasui) Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Saudade do Brasil (arr. Paulo Jobim) Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Meu amigo Radames (arr. Paulo Jobim) Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Concerto (orig. harp—arr. by CBL) George Frederic Handel
  • Concerto (orig. no. 5 harpsichord arr. CBL) Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Modinha (arr. Bobby Scott) Francisco Mignone
  • Amazonia (arr. CBL) Laurindo Almeida


Classical European[edit]

French Impressionistic music[edit]


Caribbean and Mexico[edit]


North American[edit]

International transitional styles[edit]

Original music written for or dedicated to Carlos Barbosa-Lima[citation needed][edit]

Influence of teachers[edit]

  • Manuel Carlos Barbosa-Lima (father and best mentor/character formation)
  • Isaias Savio, fundamentals; guitar mentor; the big picture; stage presence[29]
  • Andrés Segovia—shaping technique and expression
  • Theodoro Nogueira, composer—arranging music for guitar
  • Guido Santórsola, composer—mentor; focus on the big picture later stages


  • 1958 Chantecler Dez Dedos Magicos Num Violão De Ouro (LP)
  • 1958 Chantecler Favorite Solos (78 rpm)
  • 1959 Chantecler O Menino e o Violão (LP)
  • 1959 Chantecler Selected Solos (45 rpm)
  • 1960 Chantecler Concerto de Violão (LP)
  • 1961 Chantecler Recital Brasileiro I (LP)
  • 1962 Chantecler Recital Brasileiro II (LP)
  • 1962 Chantecler Viola Brasileira (Orchestral & Solos) (LP)
  • 1963 Chantecler Missa de N. Sra. dos Navegantes (viola brasileira & choir) (LP)
  • 1964 RGE Concerto em Modo Frigio (orchestra & solos) (LP)
  • 1964 Chantecler Imortal Catullo (LP)
  • 1965 Chantecler Modinhas (LP)
  • 1966 Chantecler Recital Brasileiro III (LP)
  • 1971 Westminster Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Scarlatti Sonatas (LP)
  • 1971 Westminster Solo Pieces Recital (LP) unreleased
  • 1974 ABC Dunhill Scarlatti Sonatas (rerelease) (LP)
  • 1978 Phillips of Brasil Mignone Twelve Etudes (LP)
  • 1981 Private Label Leonardo Balada's Suite No. 1 (LP)
  • 1980 Continental Brasil e o Violão (LP)
  • 1982 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Jobim & Gershwin (LP)
  • 1983 Concord Motion picture soundtrack "Deal of the Century"
  • 1983 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Scott Joplin (LP)
  • 1984 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Bonfa & Porter (LP)
  • 1985 Concord Impressions (LP)
  • 1986 Concord Brazil, With Love (with Sharon Isbin) (LP & CD)
  • 1987 Concord Rhapsody in Blue/West Side Story (with Sharon Isbin)
  • 1988 Private Label Music of Bobby Scott (five projects-cassette)
  • 1989 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Jobim & Gershwin (extra tracks CD)
  • 1989 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima—The Entertainer/Joplin (extra tracks CD)
  • 1989 Concord Carlos Barbosa-Lima Plays Bonfa & Porter (extra tracks CD)
  • 1989 Concord Impressions (extra tracks CD)
  • 1990 Concord Music of the Brazilian Masters (with Charlie Byrd & Laurindo Almeida) (CD)
  • 1990 Private Label Brasil, With Love (w/Sharon Isbin rerelease project CD)
  • 1991 Concord Music of the Americas (CD)
  • 1991 Private Label Guitar Solo Brasil Holiday Project (CD)
  • 1992 Concord Chants For The Chief (w/Thiago de Mello CD)
  • 1993 Concord Ginastera's Sonata (CD)
  • 1994 Concord Twilight in Rio (CD)
  • 1995 Concord Quintet Music for Guitar (w/C. Byrd CD)
  • 1996 Mel Bay Brazilian Guitar (CD)
  • 1997 Concord From Yesterday to Penny Lane (Orchestral) (CD)
  • 1998 Concord O Boto (Orchestral CD)
  • 1999 Concord Christmas Compilation CD
  • 2000 Private Calle de la Luna (Venezuela) Guest of Gustavo Colina
  • 2001 Zoho Siboney (with guests CD)
  • 2001 Labor Records Music of Tribute Vol. II-Debussy (soloist compilation CD)
  • 2001 Jazz Station Rio-Solo Guitar (CD) unreleased
  • 2002 Zoho Frenesi (with guests CD)
  • 2003 Labor Records Between Two Worlds (CD)
  • 2005 Zoho Carioca (with guests CD)
  • 2006 Private Label Guitar Duets (w.Victor Pellegrini unreleased CD)
  • 2007 Zoho O Boto (re-release CD)
  • 2008 On Music Alma y Corazon (with Berta Rojas CD)
  • 2009 Zoho Merengue (with other guests CD)
  • 2010 River Bank Romance of the Guitar (guest-duets with Byron Yasui)

Books and monographs written[edit]

  • 1984 BelwinMills Music of Scott Joplin (subsequently Warner Brothers)
  • 1993 Mel Bay Master Anthology of Blues Guitar Solos (Volume I) (Book/CD)
  • 1993 Warner Bros Music of Isaac Albéniz (Music 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 ( for voice & guitar; solo guitar)
  • Four Pieces by Luiz Bonfá
  • Six Pieces by Dave Brubeck
  • Eleven Immortal Songs by Catullo da Paixao Cearense
  • Samba Chorado by Thiago de Mello
  • Nine Pieces by Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Seven Valsas de Esquina by Francisco Mignone
  • Four Pieces by Ernesto Nazareth (two guitars)
  • Eight Pieces by Alfredo Viana "Pixinguinha"
  • Four Pieces by Alfredo Vianna "Pixinguinha" (for two guitars)
  • 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 (orig. harpsichord)
  • Sonata No.2 (orig. violin) by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Suite (orig. harpsichord) by George Frederic Haendel
  • Concerto For Guitar & String Orchestra (orig. harp) by George Frederic Haendel
  • Six Lute Pieces by Sylvius Leopold Weiss
  • Cadiz by Isaac Albéniz
  • Córdoba by Isaac Albéniz
  • 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-Chôro by Guido Santórsola (dedicated to Barbosa-Lima)

Warner Brothers: Arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

  • Music by Scott Joplin—10 Pieces
  • Music by Isaac Albéniz—5 Pieces (w/CD)
  • Music by Debussy and Ravel—5 Pieces (w/CD)

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

Global performance reviews and newspaper articles

  • Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)
  • Gendai Guitar Magazine (現代ギター誌) (Japan)
  • Soundboard Guitar Magazine (USA)


  • 1964 Vereda da Salvacao Motion Picture Soundtrack (with Viola Brasileira)
  • 1983 Deal of the Century Motion Picture Soundtrack
  • 1984 Private Label Selected Solos DVD (hosted by Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  • 1997 Private Label Estrada do Sol (VHS/DVD)
  • 1999 Mel Bay VHS Favorite Guitar Solos (DVD released 2001)
  • 2001 Mel Bay DVD Classic Guitar DVD Anthology



  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. ^ Syukhtun Editions


  • 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)