Eduardo Fernández is recognized as one of today’s leading guitarists. Born in 1952 in Uruguay, he began his studies of guitar at age 7. His principal teachers were Abel Carlevaro, Guido Santórsola and Héctor Tosar. After being prized in several international competitions, the most notable being the 1972 Porto Alegre (Brazil) and 1975 Radio France (Paris) competitions, he won the first prize of the 1975 Andrés Segovia Competition in Mallorca (Spain). His New York debut in 1977 won critical accolades, being described as “A top guitarist…Rarely has this reviewer heard a more impressive debut recital on any instrument” (Donal Henahan, The New York Times). Fernández has returned to the U.S.A. almost every season since then, playing with prestigious orchestras as well as giving recitals, always to great acclaim from critics and audiences. His London debut, in Wigmore Hall (1983), had also a great impact, and resulted in his signing an exclusive recording contract with Decca, a label for which he made 18 recordings (solos, and with the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic), that cover a wide section of the repertoire, from Bach to the contemporary.
They include many first recordings (for instance, Berio’s “Sequenza XI” and Tosar’s “Gandhara”), and several of them have been selected as “best of the month” and “best of the year” by publications such as Stereo Review and The New York Times, as well as Asahi Shinbun from Japan. He has also made a recording for Erato with violinist Alexander Markow, covering most of Paganini’s work for violin and guitar, and three duo CDs with Japanese guitarist Shin-Ichi Fukuda (with whom he has also performed in the Far East. South America, and in Germany) for DENON, in Japan. Currently he is exclusive recording artist of the Oehms Classics label, for which he has recorded the complete lute suites by Bach and “Romantic Guitar” a 19th-century guitar recording on a period instrument, one CD of guitar music from South America, and an all-Giuliani CD, “Varie Idee Sentimentali”. He also recorded for Labor Records from USA, the CD “Between two worlds”.
Fernández has also played, with the same success, in most European countries, and in the Far East (Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and China, Thailand and Singapore), Australia and South Africa, as well as in South America and Mexico.
He has a vivid interest in historical instruments, and he plays often the repertoire of the XIXth century on a period guitar.
Eduardo Fernández is also active as a teacher, having taught several years at the University’s School of Music in Montevideo, where he is now a fellow researcher, as well as being very much in demand for masterclasses and lectures all around the world. Since 2002 he has been conducting every year masterclasses in Germany (“Gitarre und Natur”, Erlbach). He has written a major book on guitar technique (Technique, Mechanism, Learning, published by Chanterelle Verlag, Heidelberg and in Spanish edition by ART Ediciones, Montevideo), a book of essays on Bach’s lute music, published in 2003 by ART Ediciones, and several articles in leading guitar publications. Currently he is preparing a work on the first generation of 19th-century guitarist-composers.
Also an active composer, he was the secretary of the Uruguayan branch of ISCM for two years. He was also a founder of Uruguay’s CIM/UNESCO section, and was artistic director of the short-lived Montevideo’s biannual International Guitar Festivals (1996 to 2000). Currently he is artistic director of Colombia’s Encuentros Nacionales de la Guitarra (sponsored by COMPENSAR) since 2000.