Gordon Giltrap

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Gordon Giltrap
Background information
Born (1948-04-06) April 6, 1948 (age 70)
Brenchley, Kent
GenresProgressive rock, Classical music
Occupation(s)Musician, composer

Gordon Giltrap (born 6 April 1948 in Brenchley, Kent) is an English acoustic and electric guitarist and composer. His musical styles cross several genres, including folk, blues, folk rock, pop, classical and rock.

Life and career[edit]

Giltrap started to learn the guitar at the age of twelve. Never receiving any formal tuition on the instrument, he gradually developed his own style and technique.

His musical career started to take off in the 1960s, when he played on the folk scene in London alongside contemporaries such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield. Giltrap cites Jansch as a great influence.

At the age of eighteen Giltrap signed to Transatlantic Records and between 1968 and 1971 released a folk album (performing guitar and vocals) every year. In April 1969 he joined the Buskers' Tour of the UK, headlined by one-man band Don Partridge. Later he joined with Partridge to found acoustic rock group Accolade, where Giltrap played lead guitar and penned several compositions, but he left in 1970 sometime after recording their first album.[1] While popular on the folk and university circuit, Giltrap reached a turning point and received much greater recognition during the 1970s. During this time Giltrap started to concentrate on more purely instrumental pieces, and in 1976 released the album Visionary, based on the art and poetry of William Blake.

The success of this album prompted Giltrap to move on from the singer-songwriter approach and to form the Gordon Giltrap Band, which toured extensively in the UK at that time. His follow-up album Perilous Journey consolidated his success, being named one of the best albums of 1977 by The Sunday Times. It peaked in the UK Albums Chart at #29.[2] A single taken from the album, "Heartsong", received extensive airplay and reached #21 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] The track was later used as the theme tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. Another of Giltrap's tracks, "The Carnival", was used as the theme to Wish You Were Here...? the holiday programme of ITV.

Giltrap's next album, Fear of the Dark, was released in 1978.

By the end of the 1970s he had been commissioned to write a number of notable pieces, such as the classically inspired The Brotherhood, based on the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, and The Eye of the Wind Rhapsody,[3] an orchestral work celebrating the exploration of the New World by British sailing ships. In the 1990s Giltrap played a key role in Cliff Richard's Heathcliff musical, playing the musical narrator. He also composed a number of pieces for the show.

In late 2009 Giltrap started "Three Parts Guitar", a four-date world tour with the classical guitarist Raymond Burley and the jazz guitarist John Etheridge.

For two years, around 1997,[when?] Giltrap wrote a regular acoustic column for Total Guitar magazine. An anthology of 26 of these articles is published in Total Giltrap,[4] a book with an accompanying CD on which he plays the studies and pieces. Giltrap is a regular columnist for Acoustic magazine.

In August 2012 he became product ambassador for Guitar Practiced Perfectly.[5]

He is described as innovative in his biography at AllMusic.[6]


Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has named Giltrap as an early influence on the development of his own playing style.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Accolade, Capitol Records / Columbia SCX6405 (1970)
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 227. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Gordon Giltrap and Friends at the Symphony Hall", Live Recording (2006), La Cooka Ratcha, Cat. No. LCVP160CD
  4. ^ Giltrap, Gordon (2002). Total Giltrap - Guitar Encounters of the Fingerstyle Kind, Mel Bay, ISBN 0-7866-5676-X
  5. ^ "Gordon Giltrap teams up with Guitar Practised Perfectly"
  6. ^ Hill, Gary. "Gordon Giltrap". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  7. ^ Thore, Kim (27 August 2009). "Steve Rothery". All Access Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2015.

External links[edit]