Liona Boyd

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Liona Boyd
Background information
Birth name Liona Maria Carolynne Boyd
Born (1949-07-11) 11 July 1949 (age 69)
London, England
Genres Classical, new-age
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1962–present
Labels Boot, Sony, Columbia, RCA, Polygram, CBS Masterworks, Moston

Liona Maria Carolynne Boyd, CM, O.Ont (born 11 July 1949, London), is a classical guitarist often referred to as the First Lady of the Guitar.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Boyd was born in London but grew up in Toronto.[1] Her father grew up in Bilbao, Spain, and her mother in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Her grandmother was from Linares, Spain, the birthplace of the "king of the classical guitar", Andrés Segovia. During her family's ocean voyage to Canada, she performed her first concert in a talent show on the ship. She played "Bluebells of Scotland" on a treble recorder.

When she was thirteen, she was given her first guitar, a Christmas present which her parents had bought in Spain seven years earlier.[2] She took lessons from Eli Kassner, Narciso Yepes, Alexandre Lagoya, Julian Bream, and Segovia.

Boyd graduated from the University of Toronto in 1972 with a degree in music.[1][3]


In 1975, she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.[1] After the concert, Segovia wrote her a note that said "through your beauty and talent you will conquer the public, philharmonic or not."[4] During the same year, she toured northern British Columbia and Yukon, paying her dues in front of rough crowds, as she writes autobiography, in the tradition of pop and folk musicians.[5] She also began to tour with Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot.[1]


In 1974, Boyd released her debut album, "The Guitar". It was produced by Eleanor Koldofsky[6] and was released on Boot Records. In 1976, Boyd joined SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, and established her own publishing company, Mid-Continental Music. As at the end of 2016, she had 27 studio albums, live recordings and compilation recordings to her credit and a new album of original songs was planned for release in 2017.[7]

During her career, Boyd has recorded with Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Al Di Meola, Rik Emmett, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Morse, Canadian Brass, André Gagnon, Yo Yo Ma, Frank Mills, Strunz & Farah, Roger Whittaker, and Gheorghe Zamfir.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1988, Stoddard Publishing of Toronto, Canada published Boyd's autobiography In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music.[9] In it she revealed her eight-year romance with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.[1] In 1992, Boyd moved to Beverly Hills, California, after marrying John Simon, a real estate developer.[1]

Following a diagnosis of focal dystonia after the release of Camino Latino, Boyd was compelled to change how she plays guitar. She reinvented herself by developing her songwriting and singing skills and playing less demanding guitar arrangements.[10]

In August 2017, Dundurn Press reissued Boyd's first memoir In My Own Key and published her second memoir, No Remedy for Love.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Instrumental Artist of the Year, Juno Awards, five times
  • Gallery of the Greats, Classical Guitar Player
  • Classical Guitar Musician of the Year, Guitar Player, five times
  • Order of Canada
  • Order of Ontario
  • Vanier Award
  • Prix Esprit du Ciècle[8]


Title Label Year
The Guitar/Classical Guitar Boot/London 1974
The Guitar Artistry of Liona Boyd Boot/London 1975
Miniatures for Guitar Boot/CBS Masterworks 1977
The First Lady of the Guitar Columbia 1978
The First Nashville Guitar Quartet RCA 1979
Liona Boyd with Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra CBS Masterworks 1979
Spanish Fantasy CBS Masterworks 1980
A Guitar for Christmas CBS Masterworks 1981
The Best of Liona Boyd (compilation) CBS Masterworks 1982
Virtuoso CBS Masterworks 1983
Liona Live in Tokyo CBS Masterworks 1984
The Romantic Guitar of Liona Boyd CBS Masterworks 1985
Persona CBS Masterworks 1986
Encore A & M 1988
Christmas Dreams A & M 1989
Highlights (compilation) A & M 1989
Paddle to the Sea Oak Street 1990
Dancing on the Edge Moston 1991
Classically Yours Moston 1995
Whispers of Love Moston 1999
The Spanish Album (compilation) Moston 1999
Passport to Serenity (compilation) Moston 2000
Camino Latino Moston 2002
Romanza (compilation) Moston 2005
Liona Boyd Sings Songs of Love Moston/Universal 2009
Seven Journeys: Music for the Soul and Imagination (Liona Boyd and Peter Bond) Moston/Universal 2009
The Return...To Canada with Love Moston/Universal 2013
A Winter Fantasy Moston/Universal 2015


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cummings, Robert. "Liona Boyd | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Liona Boyd Interview". Guitarhoo!. 19 May 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Liona Boyd" Archived 8 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine., The Canadian Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Liona Boyd (2008). In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music. Stoddard Publishing. p. 65.
  5. ^ Liona Boyd (1998). In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music. Stoddard Publishing. p. 100.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Awards & Collaborations". Liona Boyd. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ "In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music". AMICUS: The Canadian National Catalogue. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  10. ^ "Liona Boyd: Singer". The National. 15 November 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Liona Boyd releasing new CD and autobiography, No Remedy For Love on August 19". That Eric Apler. July 20, 2017.

External links[edit]