Roland Dyens in the skaï
  • Biography

Born on October 19th, 1955, French interpreter, composer, arranger, and improviser Roland Dyens began guitar studies when he was nine. Four years later, he became a student of Spanish master Alberto Ponce: in his class, in 1976, he was awarded the Licence de Concert de l’École Normale de Musique de Paris. Besides his instrumental studies, Roland Dyens was carefully taught by the renowned composer and conductor Désiré Dondeyne (composing class) under whose guidance he would be awarded a First Prize in Harmony, Counterpoint, and Analysis.

Among the main honors he received from the beginning of his early career, are the Special Prize of the International Competition Città di Alessandria (Italy) and the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles-Cros, both obtained during tributes to Villa-Lobos. He was also the winner of the Menuhin Foundation and when he was 33, he was ranked by the magazine Guitarist among the best guitarists in all styles in the world.

On September 30th, 2006, he was awarded the Chitarra d’Oro 2006 for his body of compositions by the Presidency of the International Competition Città di Alessandria. The following year, he was honored by the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) then held in Los Angeles. Up to this day, this international guitar event has recognized three students of Roland Dyens at the Conservatoire de Paris within six years. In October 2006 and during his fall tour in North America, the Canadian press awarded him five stars for his Winnipeg recital from October 6th. This was the second time such praise was given by the daily paper Winnipeg Free Press since its creation in 1872.

On July 27th, 2008, his works were once again recognized in Italy with the Premio per la Composizione at the 2nd International Festival of Città di Fiuggi, near Rome. A few months later, he was privileged to be asked to compose the music and conduct the guitar ensemble for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the prestigious Guitar Ensemble Association of Japan. Soleils levants was premiered on November 9th, 2008, at the Nakano Main Hall of Tokyo.

On January 21st, 2010, Roland Dyens was the only classical guitarist invited to perform in a tribute to the great Django Reinhardt for the Centenary of his birth, in a concert given by one hundred guitarists at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

In 2011, his recital performed on July 12th at the prestigious International Córdoba Guitar Festival received the coveted “Five Stars” from the Spanish Press which titled its review “Roland Dyens, El Mago de la guitarra” (the Wizard of guitar).

Roland Dyens was ranked highest in the “Top 100” list of most recorded original works for the guitar by living composers worldwide. Moreover, three of Dyens' compositions are part of this ranking, fruit of the remarkable eponymous book published by Canadian musicologist Enrique Robichaud in 2013. Roland Dyens divided his time worldwide between concerts, composition, and teaching. This treble combination has been the very basis of the unquestionable success of this constantly evolving musician.

If Roland Dyens’ recitals were always genuine events, they were true shocks to some or – as the Americans say – very inspiring experiences to others. Some, rather unfamiliar with the instrument, even evoked a deep “reconciliation” with classical guitar… Roland Dyens had a hypersensitive and colorful approach to guitar, an unfailing open-mindedness bringing together all forms of music in a unique programme, his stage presence, his improvised openings and his unique relationship with the listeners undeniably position him at the forefront of contemporary guitar performance, more the pleasure.

For a long time now, his music has been an integral part of the instrument’s repertoire, leading him to be part of a select group of guitarists enjoying such a privileged position. His compositions and arrangements are performed worldwide and universally acclaimed. They provide a new breath of life for this guitar he never ceased to challenge the limitations. The growing number of participants and auditors in Roland Dyens’ master classes is surely due to the depth of his approach rich in innovative themes and to his sincere closeness to the younger generations of guitarists. With them, it wasn’t about the formality of a master class, but about joyful encounters centred on the quality of the emotion.

A teacher at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, Roland Dyens passed away on October 29th, 2016.

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