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 69)
São Paulo, Brazil
GenresClassical music
OccupationsGuitarist, arranger
Years activefl. ca. 1958 - present
LabelsZOHO Records
Notable instruments
Prenkert guitar
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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 69)
São Paulo, Brazil
GenresClassical music
OccupationsGuitarist, arranger
Years activefl. ca. 1958 - present
LabelsZOHO Records
Notable instruments
Prenkert guitar

Antonio Carlos Ribeiro Barbosa Lima (born 17 December 1944) is a Brazilian guitarist born in São Paulo. He devotes most of his time as a recitalist on international concert tours and 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 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]



Music for Guitar and Orchestra, Various Categories:


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]


Books and monographs written[edit]


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

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

Original Works by Various Authors Edited by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

Warner Brothers: Arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima

Boosey and Hawkes:

Ricordi Brasileira

Global performance reviews and newspaper articles




  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