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Raymond Burley

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English Guitar Orchestra Concert 17th Nov 2018

English Guitar Orchestra Concert 17th Nov 2018

updated: 5 years ago

Stephen Dodgson: Guitar Concerto no.1

Stephen Dodgson

Stephen Dodgson

On Saturday 28th April I had the pleasure of performing Stephen Dodgson's first Guitar Concerto in Manchester with the excellent Amaretti Chamber Orchestra conducted by Alex Robinson.

Alex did a terrific job ensuring both the rehearsal and performance ran smoothly. It was a huge honour for me to play the piece, a work I've enjoyed for many years through John Williams' 1968 CBS recording.

Stephen Dodgson, who died in 2013, was a good friend and I was privileged to receive a piece from him: 'Dialogues' for guitar and harpsichord; it was premiered at the Wigmore Hall with my then duo partner Stephen Bell.

updated: 6 years ago

Recording with Giorgio Mirto

Recording with Giorgio Mirto
Raymond Burley recently teamed up with the Italian guitarist and composer Giorgio Mirto, they will be recording their first CD in October 2018.

It will feature an unusual and interesting programme by three composers. The featured works are:
Virtu, California Breeze, DissFunkshun and Sanzen-in by the American guitarist and composer Andrew York, Giorgio Mirto's Tres piezas de Avril and the three movement Automne a Paris and four pieces from Rachel Portman's highly effective score from the 2001 film 'Chocolat' arranged by Giorgio Mirto.

The recording will be released by Brilliant Classics.

updated: 6 years ago

Matanya Ophee (1932-2017)

Matanya Ophee 19322017
I've just heard the sad news that musicologist and publisher Matanya Ophee has died.

Our paths crossed from time to time at guitar festivals both in this country and in the US. We corresponded regularly, most recently a few months ago regarding the 10 Concert Études of Giulio Regondi. Several years ago Matanya undertook the task of tracking down and publishing the set. I had owned a manuscript copy of Étude no.9 for many years. Curiously my copy differed somewhat from Matanya's version. This was of great interest to him. Matanya was often very opinionated and controversial but time spent with him was never dull.

I hope his publishing company Editions Orphée is able to continue as over the years it produced a wealth of important guitar literature.

updated: 6 years ago

Phillip Houghton (1954-2017)

Phillip Houghton 19542017
Yesterday I received the very sad news that Australian guitarist and composer Phillip Houghton had died.

Unfortunately I never met him but over a period of more than 10 years he kindly sent me many of his scores: some published, others in manuscript. He never used a computer but really didn't need to as his handwriting was as beautiful and clear as could be imagined. He frequently sent me pieces (such as his Stéle) with his performing suggestions and occasional fingering revisions. Although I only played two of his solo compositions in public: Rain and God of the Northern Forest his Suite of Six Trios was performed many times by the Pro Arte Guitar Trio particularly during US tours.

Phil was hugely generous and I will be eternally grateful to him. He is a huge loss to the classical guitar world.

updated: 6 years ago

Vivaldi's Concerto no.8 from 'L'Estro Armonico

Vivaldi039s Concerto no8 from 039L039Estro Armonico

I'm pleased to announce that my arrangement of Vivaldi's Concerto no.8 from 'L'Estro Armonico (RV522) has just been released by Corda Music.

It is scored for two solo guitars and four-part accompaniment.

More details can be found HERE

updated: 7 years ago

Lyric Trio at the Holywell Music Room.

Lyric Trio at the Holywell Music Room

updated: 7 years ago

Bampton Charity Concert

Bampton Charity Concert

updated: 7 years ago

Sir Terry Wogan (1938-2016)

Sir Terry Wogan 19382016

Photo ©

So sad to hear of the death of Sir Terry Wogan, a true legend.

I had the pleasure of working with him a couple years ago at a glitzy charity concert at a stately home near Maidenhead. I played Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez with the English Chamber Orchestra and Terry Wogan introduced the event.

A genuinely nice guy.

He'll certainly be missed.

updated: 8 years ago

4 Parts on WBBC

4 Parts on WBBC

On Friday 23rd October 4 Parts Guitar will be featured on Bob Harris's tv channel WBBC.

updated: 8 years ago

Segovia Legacy

Segovia Legacy

updated: 8 years ago

Future Recordings

'The Segovia Legacy' a programme of works dedicated to or written by Andrés Segovia including: Roussel: Segovia op.29, Moreno-Torroba: Castles of Spain, Segovia: Estudio Sin Luz, Ponce: Variations on 'Folies de España' and Fugue, Tansman: Cavatina and Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Rondo op.129.

Duo CD with guitarist John Feeley of works by Enrique Granados: 12 Danzas Españolas op.37 and Valses Poeticos.

Duo CD with harpsichordist Gilbert Rowland of works by Stephen Dodgson including: Duo Concertant, Dialogues, Partita no.1, Fantasy Divisions and Inventions (Set 1).

updated: 8 years ago

Aston Pottery Charity Concert

Aston Pottery Charity Concert

updated: 8 years ago

Dimitris Fampas International Guitar Competition

Picture courtsey of httpwwwevafampasgrfampasenhtml
Raymond Burley will be a member of the jury of the Dimitris Fampas International Guitar Competition in April 2016 in Athens.

Guitar Friends Association “Dimitris Fampas” gladly announces the organization of the 1st International Guitar Competition Dimitris Fampas in Athens during 2016 to honor the memory of this great guitarist, composer and professor. This competition will be organized every three years and it is open to all guitarists from around the world who will be under 30 years old on the day of the finals on April 2016.

The competition will be in two Rounds. The Preliminary round will be an Online one and the Finals will take place in Athens on April as a part of the FAMPAS GUITAR SYMPOSIUM which will be co-organized with the ATHENS Municipality Culture, Sports and Youth Organization

World famous guitarists, professors, festivals’ artistic directors, journalists and music critics will be on the jury of the competition.


Eligible contestants must be under 30 years of age at the time of the Finals and must have access to the internet. In order to participate the contestants have to send by email ( between November 10th 2015 andJanuary 10th 2016:

1) a copy/scan of their license, ID or passport , 2) a short curriculum vitae, 3) a payment receipt from the Bank (the account details will be provided shortly) for the participation fee which is 50€ and part of IT will go for the support of the City of Athens Homeless Shelter (KYADA) 4) the URL link of their Youtube video where they perform the required repertoire.


  • A piece by Dimitris Fampas*
  • One movement from a Sonata / Sonatina by a contemporary composer (20th & 21st century)
  • Two parts from a Suite by J. S. Bach

For the online round the contestants have to upload a video of themselves to YouTube performing the above repertoire. At the beginning of the recording, they must clearly announce a) their name, b) each piece they are going to perform and c) that it is for the DIMITRIS FAMPAS International Guitar Competition 2016. These details will be the video title, as well.

NOTICE: The video recording should be taken in one take, should not be edited at all as well as has to be of a high quality to allow the judges to make their decision. The contestant must be visible at all times to ensure that the video and performance is authentic. Any videos deemed to be dubbed or false will not be accepted

The organizers of the competition will forward the video – performing of all participants to the judges all over the world as well as they will promote these participations to a large audience through the web. The results of the Preliminary Round will be announced during the first days of February 2016. 5 or 6 players will be chosen to take part in the Finals.

THE FINALS - Repertoire

  • A piece by Dimitris Fampas*
  • A piece by a Greek composer (Dimitris Fampas also accepted here as well) **
  • Free program up to 20’ maximum duration


The financial problems in Greece do not allow us to offer a large amount of money, so we will give symbolic money awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winner as well as lots of gifts, concerts etc. Special prize for the 1st winner will be awarded: A PERFORMANCE with ATHENS MUNICIPALITY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA . Full list of the prizes will be announced soon.

The website of the DIMITRIS FAMPAS GUITAR COMPETITION will be ready soon with all the details needed for the participants including the names of the judges for the Preliminary round.

For more information please contact Pr. Eva Fampas at

* For DIMITRIS FAMPAS’ music we propose to the participants to choose from the following editions: ANTHOLOGY of DIMITRIS FAMPAS guitar music (edition MEL BAY), DIMITRIS FAMPAS’ music for guitar volume 2 and volume 3 (edition PAPAGRIGORIOU – NAKAS –, Danza Greca n. 1Karaguna (Editions RICORDI), Danse grecque: Sousta, Vision, Prelude Modern, Conte (editions Max Eschig), BOLERO (Editions COLUMBIA music CO)

** For Greek Composers’ music we propose the following: the GREEK GUITAR MUSIC anthology (Edition Les Productions D’oZ - ) and editions of Greek composers for guitar (like K.Tzortzinakis, K.Hatzopoulos, K.Grigoreas, N.Mamagakis and more) from the Editors PAPAGRIGORIOU - NAKAS (

updated: 8 years ago

Four Parts 'Guitarmageddon' Tour

Four Parts 039Guitarmageddon039 Tour
(Gordon Giltrap, Clive Carroll, John Etheridge and RB)

This year's tour proved to be quite substantial with gigs in many parts of the country: Falmouth, Aldershot, Leamington Spa, Calstock, Grantham, Hailsworth, South Petherton, Buxton, Haverhill, Lichfield, Stroud, Andover, Worcester, Colchester, Milton Keynes and York. The audience response to our new programme was phenomenal. Most of the gigs were sold out and a huge number of copies of the new CD were sold - and signed.

We decided to devote the first half of each concert to solo items: Gordon, Clive, RB and John. The second half was almost like a party on stage with the wide variety of duos and quartets, and the ever-changing banter. Thankfully my new arrangement of Gordon's greatest hit 'Heartsong' was very well received. As always we began the group set with another Giltrap hit 'Maddie Goes West' which seemed to evolve steadily as the tour progressed - particularly when it was featured as an encore item with John's blistering overdriven solo. A surprising high point was a duo featuring Clive and me: an arrangement of Egberto Gismonti's beautiful 'Agua y Vinho'. There were many high points during the tour (on and off the stage) far too many to mention here. It was a very pleasant surprise to have John Williams in the audience at Calstock Arts Centre.

We're all keen to repeat the experience next year. Fingers crossed it comes off; I can't wait.

updated: 9 years ago

John Renbourn (1944 - 2015)

John Renbourn 1944  2015

Photograph: Barney Britton/Redferns

Last Thursday night I received a phone call from my good pal Gordon Giltrap informing me that the great steel string guitarist John Renbourn had died.

Although I never knew John well, our paths had crossed a few times. The last time I saw him was when we met up in an Indian restaurant in Cheltenham just prior to one of the last concerts given by Julian Bream. John reminded me that we had both played in the Wirral Festival a good few years ago. I had totally forgotten what I played there; he reminded me and, as far as I can remember, he was right. I was extremely impressed. Although John was never an influence on me in the way some other players had been I certainly respected what he did and how he did it. He'll be greatly missed.

updated: 9 years ago

Guitar for sale - SOLD

Guitar for sale  SOLD


Ramirez 1A
concert guitar and case for sale.

The guitar was made in 1983, serial number 17083.

Red cedar top, Jacaranda sides and bottom with Ebony fingerboard.

650mm scale length. Very little used but wonderful to play.

Recommended retail price £7000, for quick sale £ 3250

Enquiries to John Cordingley on (01795) 431221 or email:

rburley 1620
rburley 1620

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rburley 1620

rburley 1620

updated: 8 years ago

Danzas Españolas

Danzas Espantildeolas
I'm very happy to report that all four volumes of my arrangements for two guitars of the 12 Danzas Españolas by Enrique Granados are now available from Corda Music. The first three volumes were released several years ago; the fourth became available recently.

I'm grateful to Ian Gammie for publishing the volumes and for his patience.

Raymond Burley

updated: 9 years ago

Studley Castle Guitar Ensemble Course

Studley Castle Guitar Ensemble Course
The weekend of 14th - 16th November saw the first guitar ensemble course at beautiful Studley Castle in Warwickshire. The course was organised very successfully by Ray Butcher and it was my great pleasure to tutor. There were 16 students with varying degrees of ensemble experience but they all coped well with the music chosen: Mark Houghton's 'Tango', 'Rustic Dance' and 'Ballad', a set of dances by Claude Gervaise, and a suite by Witt.

On Saturday evening I played a short concert of music by Brouwer, Bach, Weiss, Villa-Lobos and Barrios.

Many of the students had been regular participants at my courses at Urchfont Manor. It was a huge disappointment when Wiltshire Council decided to sell the building. The course relocated to Missenden Abbey but the majority of the students were unhappy with the quality of the food and regimented approach. Studley Castle was similar to Urchfont but on a grander scale. The facilities and food were excellent and the staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. I'm happy to report that the course will be running at a similar time next year.

Should you be interested in attending please contact Ray Butcher:  

updated: 9 years ago

October Trio Concert, Oxford

October Trio Concert Oxford

updated: 9 years ago

Future Talent concert, London

Future Talent concert London

updated: 9 years ago

Baroque Guitar For Sale

Baroque Guitar For Sale

I am selling a fine modern copy of a five course baroque guitar. The instrument was made for me by the Lichfield based guitar maker Roger Williams in 2008. I had plans of recording with the guitar and using it to begin concert programmes but other things took over so it remains unused and in mint condition.

rburley 1717

It is based on the Stradivari baroque guitar in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford but, to facilitate switching from a modern concert guitar in performance, it was made 10% bigger all round. For photographs and Roger William's detailed information about the guitar look under Performance information - Instruments' on this website.

The instrument comes with a standard modern guitar case. The price is £1500.

updated: 9 years ago

Wyres 'Raymond Burley Signature' Guitar Strings

Wyres 039Raymond Burley Signature039 Guitar Strings
Update 2014
I've just received sets of the new Raymond Burley signature guitar strings. A few months ago I was sent prototypes of both the Normal Tension and Hard Tension sets. I found both sets to be beautifully vibrant, longer lasting than most string brands and very accurate in terms of intonation. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them. The strings are produced near Toronto, Canada and at the moment I'm not sure where they be obtained in the UK. I will be receiving this information very soon.

rburley 1550

I’ve been using the same brand and gauge of guitar strings for many years now - and been very happy with them. Recently I was sent a couple of sets of Wyres strings manufactured near Toronto, Canada. I suppose I was a little sceptical about a ‘revolutionary guitar string’ coming onto the market as so often new brands of string come and go and are soon forgotten.

A few years ago I was involved with a brand of French guitar strings which were ‘flavour of the month’ for a few years. I used them for a while but many players - myself included - have since moved on. Anyway, I’m very happy to report that Wyres have entirely lived up to their claims. They settled quickly, play beautifully in tune and are truly long-lasting. I was sent two sets: Normal (medium) Tension and Hard (high) Tension. I had been using medium gauge strings on my Woodfield so I put on the Normal Tension Wyres. I haven’t yet had an opportunity to try the Hard Tension as the first set has gone on and on and show no signs of fading.

The company is continually experimenting with different types of nylon and bass string coatings and I’m looking forward to trying the latest versions which I should be receiving very shortly.

I urge you to give Wyres strings a try - I’ll be very surprised if you’re disappointed.

updated: 9 years ago

Double Vision in the Channel Islands

At the end of July I had just one free day after returning from Portugal (where I played with violinist Emanuel Salvador in the Gaia Festival) before setting off for the Double Vision Channel Islands mini tour.

I’m happy to report that the tour (involving Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and Jersey) was both successful and extremely enjoyable. Having played all four islands several times previously I was really looking forward to going back and meeting up with some old friends. Gordon had played the four islands last year with keyboard player Oliver Wakeman. The weather was stunning which made this beautiful part of the world even more idyllic.

I've played solo concerts in Guernsey’s lovely St James Arts Centre in St Peter Port many times - around 20, I’m guessing - and it was good to return. On arriving at the hall I was met by one of the stewards who asked if I’d brought any CDs to sell as the one she bought last time I was there was pretty much worn out! As we were travelling light there were no CDs. The concert went very well and there was a good, enthusiastic crowd. One big plus of doing this tour is the fantastic hospitality and, for this, I’m very grateful. The logistics were handled by Kirstin Simon and Claire le Brocq and everything went like clockwork.

On then to the island of Sark - by boat, of course: no cars, no proper roads and definitely no airport. We played in the relatively new Island Hall. I had played in this venue once before; in previous visits it was in the old Island Hall which is still standing but used now for a different purpose. We had the pleasure of staying with singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel Byrne and his lovely family. Peter treated us to a handful of new songs and gave me a copy of his latest CD, which I would thoroughly recommend. He has a great voice and is a very capable guitarist. There’s talk of me playing on his next recording.

The plane to Alderney followed and the venue this time was St Anne’s Church - the island ‘cathedral’ - designed by George Gilbert Scott although, from the outside, it wasn't looking its best as it was covered in scaffolding required to replace the damaged roof. Previously I had performed in the Alderney Island Hall. Again an enthusiastic crowd helped the evening along. I have been asked to play a solo concert there next year.

The final concert of the tour was in Jersey Arts Centre. I had played Jersey several times previously but not in this venue. We were greeted by a noisy, appreciative crowd with some good-natured heckling along the way.  

Thanks again to the tour organisers for a very enjoyable few days. Here’s to the next time.

updated: 9 years ago

Double Vision in Oxfordshire

 Double Vision in Oxfordshire

updated: 10 years ago

Woodfield and Burley Interview

Woodfield and Burley Interview
Click the PDF icon below to open and read the full article from Acoustic Magazine Feb 2014

updated: 10 years ago

Guitar For Sale - SOLD

Guitar For Sale  SOLD

Asturias 'John Mills' model guitar

A 'John Mills' model Asturias classical guitar for sale that was purchased from Boosey and Hawkes in 1981. The guitar was sold as new although it was used once by John Mills at a concert in London.

rburley 1585

The guitar is in excellent condition apart from a few traces of wear which are visible only under close inspection.

rburley 1585

Top: Close grained cedar
Back and sides: Laminated Indian Rosewood
Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
Scale length: 64 cm

rburley 1585

I am selling the guitar for £750; it comes complete with a hard case.

For further information please contact Ken Canfield:

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rburley 1585

rburley 1585

updated: 10 years ago

Salvador and Burley

Salvador and Burley
I’m very happy to report that my duo with the Portuguese virtuoso violinist Emanuel Salvador will be performing again next year in festivals in Portugal; concerts in the UK are planned also. We will be recording a CD in Poland in the near future.

It’s quite unusual for two players, never having met previously, to bond so well musically and so quickly. In rehearsal, right from the opening few bars of the first piece it was clear that the project was going to work - and work very well.

Our programme this year included Bartok: ‘Romanian Dances’, Giuliani’s op.85: ‘Grand Sonata’, Paganini: ‘Cantabile’, Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso’, Gismonti: ‘Agua y Vinho’ and Piazzolla’s: ‘Histoire du Tango’. In the St Michael and the North Gate Church concert in Oxford I gave the first performance of the Chipping Norton based composer Raymond Head’s solo guitar piece ‘Pensiero’.

There’s no doubt the most challenging piece in the programme for me was the Saint-Saens - not to play but to arrange. There were times when I doubted it would work but with some tweaking it became a very effective part of the programme. Thankfully I was able to use Bizet’s piano reduction of the orchestral score as the basis for my guitar arrangement. This may well appear on the CD.

rburley 1558

updated: 10 years ago

JHS Event, 2013

JHS Event 2013
The annual JHS Event took place between Saturday 8th and Tuesday 11th June at its usual venue, the spacious grounds of John Hornby Skewes headquarters in Garforth, Leeds. It offers instrument and equipment dealers a chance to see the entire range of JHS items in a warm and relaxed setting. There were generous refreshments and entertainment was provided by some of JHS’s leading endorsers and artists. This was the Event’s 17th year.

Many of JHS’s signature artists were on hand to chat to visitors about why they are honoured to be part of the JHS empire. Among those visiting - and performing - this year were Paul Brett, Gordon Giltrap, Ray Jackson, Thomas Blug, Jerry Donahue, Geoff Whitehorn, John Etheridge, Alan Morrison, Mick Abrahams, John Verity and Dave Colwell. I was very happy to be included in the line-up again (my third time) playing both solo and in duo with Gordon Giltrap.

For the first two days I used my Santos Martinez Raymond Burley Signature Guitar for pieces by Bach, Villa-Lobos, Barrios and Giltrap; on the third day I played a brand new guitar made for me by the excellent Spanish maker Manuel Rodriguez - who was in the audience to hear it.

The Event provides an excellent opportunity to meet up with several friends not seen since to previous year. It was quite a surprise to learn that Ray Jackson - singer, harmonica player and mandolinist from Lindisfarne (the band, not the island) - lives just three miles from me.

Several people mentioned that it’s a pity the Event is not open to the public for one of the days. I’ll have a word with the powers-that-be.

Here’s to next year.  

updated: 11 years ago

Second Course at Missenden Abbey

Second Course at Missenden Abbey
17th - 19th May 2013 saw the second weekend guitar course in the sumptuous surroundings of Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire.

The participants were all competent and experienced players ensuring a good standard of ensemble was achieved very quickly. The large ensemble pieces tackled this time were my arrangements of works by Claude Gervaise, Poulenc (after Gervaise) and Arne Brattland. ‘Four Dances’ by Claude Gervaise were performed with parts swapping between players. Poulenc’s challenging seven-movement ‘Suite Francaise’ - based on dances by Gervaise - proved to be very popular with the players who, after just a few attempts, were producing a very creditable performance. Arne Brattland’s lovely ‘September Song’ also fared well. The piece was written originally as a guitar duo but works extremely well arranged in five parts - with the composer’s approval, I should add.

Following the evening meal on Saturday we lauched into the traditional Pop Orchestra, reading through a variety of standards such as Tony Hatch’s ‘Downtown’, Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’, Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Hey Jude’ and Sting’s ‘Every Breath You Take’. We could have gone on all night but at just after 10 pm decided to call it a day.  
The Sunday morning Student Concert just before lunch included the three large ensembles plus a variety of smaller ensembles and solos.

As always I would like to thank the participants for their talents and enthusiasm - it would be lovely to see some, or all, of them again at future events. The staff at Missenden Abbey should also be thanked for helping the weekend to run smoothly.

The next courses at Missenden Abbey will be 12th - 14th August 2013 and 7th - 9th February 2014.

updated: 11 years ago

Biberian's LIBER

Biberian039s LIBER
The first volume of Gilbert Biberian's book Liber (Right hand) is now available.

I would have no hesitation in stating that it is a major contribution to the guitar's technical literature. It deals with all aspects of articulation in a logical and concise manner aided by copious examples from the guitar repertory and beyond. It is invaluable to players of all standards and particularly to teachers of the instrument. It's the book I wish I'd written. I can't wait for volume two.

It can be ordered directly from Gilbert Biberian at

updated: 11 years ago

Burley and Feeley, Bolivar Hall

Burley and Feeley
The programme will contain mainly works for two guitars by South American composers: 'Suite Retratos' by Radames Gnattali, the five 'Micro Piezas' by Leo Brouwer, three dances from 'Estancia' by Alberto Ginastera and 'Agua e Vinho' by Egberto Gismonti. 'Fantaisie op.54' by Fernando Sor, 'Princess of Lykia' by Fazil Say and the premiere of Irish composer Jerome de Bromhead's 'Rapport' will also be featured.

updated: 11 years ago

Emanuel Salvador (violin) and Raymond Burley 9th Feb

Emanuel Salvador violin and Raymond Burley 9th Feb
The St Michael at the North Gate Church, Oxford programme featuring the exciting new pairing of Emanuel Salvador (violin) and Raymond Burley on 9th Feb 2013 will include Giuliani: Grande Sonata op.85, Paganini: Cantabile, Bartok: Romanian Dances, Piazzolla: Histoire du Tango and a new arrangement for the duo of Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso op.28.

Tickets are available from

updated: 11 years ago

Gradus Ad . . .

Gradus Ad

A good few years ago Gilbert Biberian and I performed several programmes of guitar duos and poetry readings. The music comprised a selection of pieces from Gilbert’s cycle ‘Gradus Ad . . .’, the poetry was chosen and read by actress Freda Dowie. Unfortunately it was never recorded for commercial release.

Gilbert and I have had a lot of fun recently performing some old and new pieces from the set in conjunction with poetry written and read by Peter and Alice Oswald.

I’m very happy to announce that next spring Gilbert and I will be recording a substantial portion of ‘Gradus Ad . . .’ for CD release. For those of you not familiar with the music I recommend it wholeheartedly. The pieces - in four volumes - are concise but masterpieces of guitar duo writing.

updated: 11 years ago

A Second Signature Guitar

To be the recipient of a signature guitar is a great honour; to have signature guitars from two different makers might be considered greedy – but I’m certainly not complaining.

In June I played a batch of concerts in Leeds with my good mate Gordon Giltrap and the guitar maker Manuel Rodriguez III happened to be there. As we hadn’t seen each other for (he estimated) around 25 years it was wonderful to see him again after such a long time. Almost straight away Manuel offered to make me a signature guitar. It will be a lattice-braced instrument with the option of both spruce and cedar soundboards. As I’ve never owned a cedar instrument it will be particularly interesting to see how this one has turned out as I’ll be playing and recording a fair amount of Spanish music next year.

The guitars will be ready at the beginning of November. Siân and I will be visiting Manuel’s workshops in Madrid to collect the instrument then, and to see the exhibition related to the Rodriguez 106th anniversary.

There will be more information about the instrument later in the year.

updated: 11 years ago

Win a Santos Martinez Ray Burley signature model guitar

Win tickets to see Gordon Giltrap as part of London Acoustic Guitar Show, plus a Santos Martinez Ray Burley signature model guitar

We wanted to let you know about a great new competition have running that's exclusive to their fans on Facebook in which you can win tickets to London Acoustic Guitar Show, plus over £600 worth of acoustic guitar!

To enter, simply visit the Ents24 Facebook Fan Page here:

... and then follow the instructions on the competition post itself. Easy! Closing date 30th July.

Make sure you've hit the 'Like' button at the top of the page as well, and be among the first to know about all of the great competitions, interviews and news from Ents24 on Facebook.

Good Luck!

The Team

updated: 11 years ago

Nocturne 29th June

Nocturne 29th June

updated: 12 years ago

Future Talent Concert report

Future Talent Concert report
Saturday 28th April saw the annual multi guitar concert in aid of the Duchess of Kent's charity 'Future Talent'. It was again held in the lovely High Street Methodist Church in the centre of Witney, Oxfordshire. The varied programme featured a duo item, a trio, a quartet, two quintets and several pieces for the entire group of 13 players. The programme comprised: 'Serenade op.96' by Carulli, my new arrangement of Vivaldi's 'Concerto op.3, no.8' (originally for two violins), two more of my arrangements: Ronald Binge's beautiful 'Elizabethan Serenade' and Karl Jenkins' 'Palladio'; in between these were two recently composed pieces by the prolific Liverpool-based composer Mark Houghton, 'Passacaglia' and Tango'. The second half kicked off with the eternal favourite, Stanley Myers' 'Cavatina', this was followed by another Mark Houghton composition, 'The Storm'. Recently I arranged a set of 12 pieces by Albeniz for guitar trio (for a recording and for publication); 'Mallorca' was chosen for this concert. In the early days of the Pro Arte and New Pro Arte Guitar trios many of the arrangements featured requinto on the upper line; I dusted mine off and used it for my arrangement of three movements from Haydn's 'Divertimento op.2, no.2' originally for lute and strings. The concert ended on a slightly lighter note with three of my pop arrangements: Tony Hatch's 'Downtown', Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' and Abba's 'S.O.S.'.

I'd like to thank the members of the audience for supporting the cause. Obviously a concert such as this couldn't take place without the enthusiasm and willingness of the players who, as always, gave their time and talents freely. I'm very grateful to them.

Will it happen again next year? Probably.

updated: 12 years ago

Holywell Music Room 19th May

Holywell Music Room 19th May

updated: 12 years ago

Announcing A New Weekend Course

Announcing A New Weekend Course

updated: 12 years ago

Urchfont Manor Closes

Urchfont Manor Closes

By now, many of you will know that Urchfont Manor College will be closing in September.

I've been involved in running guitar ensemble courses there for more years than I care to remember and, it has to be said, I've enjoyed every minute. I'll certainly miss going there. Even though I'll be seeing a number of the students (many regulars and a few new faces) at the end of this month, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for coming. I like to think I'll be seeing you again at other venues at some point in the future. The teachers provide the material and expertise but ultimately it is the venue, accomodation, food and (especially) the students who have made the course so successful. Huge thanks to you all.

You can read a review of the final course HERE

updated: 12 years ago

Oxford Guitar Society

Oxford Guitar Society
The Oxford Guitar Society now has a website for more information on meetings and events.  

The address is:

updated: 12 years ago

Christopher Dean SOLD

1992 Christopher Dean

1992 Christopher Dean guitar, no.160 and case.

Spruce, Indian rosewood back and sides. Excellent condition, hardly used.


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updated: 12 years ago

Serenade Concert 26th Nov Flyer

Serenade Concert 26th Nov Flyer

updated: 12 years ago

Urchfont Manor Oct 2011 Review

Urchfont Manor

I'm happy to report that last month's weekend guitar ensemble course was a great success. As usual it was sold out and I understand there are very few places left for the next course in March. The chosen 'orchestral' pieces this time were Arne Brattland's excellent arrangement of a section of the 'Allegretto' from Beethoven's 7th Symphony used in the film 'The King's Speech', and my arrangements of Abba's 'S.O.S.' and Ronald Binge's famous 'Elizabethan Serenade'.

The Saturday evening concert was given by 'Double Vision' (Gordon Giltrap and me). The Saturday evening concert for the March course will comprise music for three guitars played by Arne and Debbie Brattland and me.

As always, I'd like to thank all the players for coming; some have been coming for 10 years. Their loyalty and participation is greatly appreciated.

updated: 12 years ago

Sor CD re-release

Raymond Burley's all Sor CD (originally released by ASV in the UK) will be re-released by Con Brio shortly. The CD received a number of glowing reviews both here and in the US.

Quotes include:

'If one had to select a single Sor recording to augment a collection, this disc would make an excellent candidate. Burley's playing is tasteful and refined, and he is in full command of his material. I can't recall having heard the great op.7 'Fantaisie' played better'.
Soundboard magazine (US).

'The essence of Raymond Burley's playing is refinement of technique allied to good tone, qualities which are well to the fore here. This is music that bears attentive listening and Burley's performance yields that opportunity. The disc has an air of authority about it. Classical Guitar magazine (UK).

updated: 12 years ago

Forthcoming Granados CD

The most recent CD (a guitar duo recording with Gregg Nestor) was completed at the beginning of September, an all Granados album comprising the complete set of '12 Danzas Espanolas' (arr. Burley), four of the 'Tonadillas' (arr. Nestor) and Emilio Pujol's very effective arrangement of the 'Intermezzo' from 'Goyescas'.

The album was recorded at Penguin Studio in Los Angeles. Thankfully all went well despite the outside temperature reaching 41 degrees C (roughly 106 degrees F) for a few days. The studio was, of course, air-conditioned.

For those interested in such things, the guitars used for the recording were a Ron Hachez - by Gregg, and I used my trusty Woodfield.

The first three volumes are available from Corda Music Publications in the UK. (CMP 219 to CMP 222) Information on the new CD's availability through Con Brio Recordings will appear shortly.  

updated: 12 years ago

Oxford Guitar Society

Oxford Guitar Society
The inaugural concert for the Oxford Guitar Society will take place at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on Saturday 8th October.

The programme will comprise guitar solos plus works for guitar duo, guitar and flute, and guitar and string quartet. Download via the link at the bottom of this page.

The first meeting of the society is on Wednesday 28th September at the Faculty of Music, St Aldates, Oxford.

Update Feb 2012

The Oxford Guitar Society now has a website.  

The address is:

updated: 12 years ago

More Raymond on You Tube

Raymond has once again been very busy recently adding more videos on his You Tube Channel. Latest footage includes some superb guitar duets played with John Feeley of music by Johann Kaspar Mertz and Fernando Sor recorded in May 2011. See more on You Tube.

As well as the earlier footage of Raymond with John Mills there are 11 clips from the Sept 2009 Three Parts Guitar concert in Buxton,

Isis Duo (Raymond Burley and Keith Fairbairn) playing Romanian Dances by Bela Bartok arr. Burley, recorded in St.Helen's Church, Stickford, Lincs. February 2009.

and 8 clips of Raymond with Arne Brattland at a weekend guitar workshop and concert at Urchfont Manor on 21st March 2009

Thanks to Harold Houldershaw and Bob Wilson for their hard work making this possible.

A selection of the clips can also be found on Guitar Tube

updated: 13 years ago

Duchess of Kent's charity Future Talent

Duchess of Kent039s charity Future Talent

Future Talent Concert 2nd July

Raymond Burley will lead and conduct a group of 12 guitarists in a concert in aid of the Duchess of Kent's charity Future Talent.

Players taking part are: Arne Brattland, Richard Butters, Stephen Christmas, Roger Green, Debbie Haeck, Mike Hinchliffe, Gary Jordan, Shaun Kennedy, Orsolya Pataki, David Pedder, Andrew Stanton..

The concert, in the presence of The Duchess of Kent, starting at 7.30pm, will take place in the High Street Methodist Church, Witney.

Tickets £10, concessions £6

Phone 01993 700 332

updated: 13 years ago

4 Parts Guitar - CD out now and video on YouTube

Four Parts Guitar photo copy Rob Jewell
Update 5th April 2011

The eagerly awaited 4 Parts Guitar CD of the same name is out now.

See the track listing and listen to some samples HERE
The CD is now available from GuitarCds.

Buy Now!

Update 1st April

Well, the 4 Parts Guitar tour for this year is now over and, I have to say, I can't wait for the next one. Even though we're living in cash-strapped times it was good see so many capacity crowds even though the tickets were not cheap. The audience response was overwhelming and, judging by the number of CDs sold, there was a genuine interest in our diverse choice of music. It was great to meet a good number of people during the CD signing and to see some old friends that, in some cases, I hadn't seen for many years.

The only disappointment (for us and, I'm sure, for the audiences) was that John Etheridge was unwell and not able to join us for the final three gigs. South Petherton and New Milton Arts Centres were happy to go ahead with 3 Parts Guitar; Colston Hall has been re-scheduled for 27th June.

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For the 3 Parts Guitar gigs we adjusted the programme slightly; Gordon and I added a couple more duo pieces in the first half - 'Kaz' and 'Tailor Bird' - and Clive joined us for 'Down the River' in the second half. We'd planned just one encore, Gordon's 'The Dodo's Dream' but at New Milton Arts Centre a second encore was needed - we choose to repeat 'Maddie Goes West.

For the first few gigs of the tour I used my trusty Philip Woodfield guitar played through an AKG 414 microphone but after meeting up with the guys at JHS in Leeds I decided to try one of their electro-classical guitars, a Santos Martinez SM650CEA. I have to say it worked like a charm and I had no hesitation in endorsing it.

For me the programme had many highlights, just a few of them: hearing my arrangement of 'The Dodo's Dream' evolve during the tour, playing Clive's fantastic 'Renaissance Suite' with him, and the group version of 'Maddie Goes West' (one of my all-time favourite Giltrap pieces) and daring to play 'Tailor Bird' with Gordon.

It's working with friends (who just happen to be musicians of the highest order) that reminds one of why you choose music as a career. We enjoy making music together, it's fun - on and off the stage - and the spontaneity helps to keep you on your toes. It doesn't get much better than that.

Long may it continue.

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Update 25th March 2011

There is a two page interview with Raymond in this months Acoustic Magazine where he talks about Four Parts Guitar. Click the PDF icon at the bottom of the page to see the article.

You can see a taster from the 4 Parts Guitar performance at High Barn on 19th Feb below, filmed by Sue Holton.

Sept 2010

It is now confirmed that Three Parts Guitar has become 4 Parts Guitar with the addition of the superb steel string guitarist Clive Carroll.

The tour started at the Playhouse Theatre, Weston Super Mare on 10th Sept, and is reviewed below by Darren Thompson @ GigJunkie and Bob Wilson. More tour dates are being added all the time - please check the Diary for details as there are a lot of dates coming up in March 2011.

4 Parts Guitar review by Darren Thompson at GigJunkie

The Weston-Super-Mare Playhouse is certainly not Rock’n’Roll, but I was intrigued to see ‘4 Parts Guitar’ nonetheless as I’m a great fan of the instrument in general, and this was alleged to be a master class.

The stage was set very simply for the four musicians on the bill; chairs, mics, and a soft drape hung loosely behind with a soft coloured pattern projected onto it. This understated setup proved a humble backdrop for the evening’s music. The first half of the evening saw four individual and starkly differing performances, rather than the single ensemble I was initially expecting.

First to the stage was Gordon Giltrap, who carried with him both his acoustic guitar and a relaxed aura, softening the audience with self-deprecating quips and a friendly manner. He opened proceedings playing a handful of intensely intricate pieces including his famous, ‘Heartsong’, which was widely known as the BBC’s ‘Holiday Programme’ title piece. I did note that references to his past were at times unusually wistful for someone both brilliantly able and active, but they were not overbearing.

Next to take the stage was classical guitarist Raymond Burley, who’s somewhat formal presence was expertly relieved with a witty comment or two. His enchanting playing sounded as if it had been lifted straight from a bygone century, conjuring both imagery and the atmosphere of a previous era. Much like Giltrap before him, every note was superbly executed, and often intensely complex.

The penultimate guitarist of the shows first half was John Etheridge, who eschewed the emerging pattern of acoustics in favour of his electric guitar. Technically superb, Etheridges’s choices of jazzy and South African composed pieces offered variety, if perhaps being a little too novel for the audience to lock fully into the groove with him.

Finally taking the musical helm was the newest member of ‘4 Parts Guitar’, “young man” Clive Carroll. Dressed unassumingly, Clive made a few last minute tweaks before relaxing into his groove, absolutely captivating the audience to their peak. Playing with a ‘Rodrigo y Gabriela’ style in which every surface of the guitar was utilised and crafted in a host of rarely seen techniques, he played the equivalent of a small band’s output through the one instrument. Tapping the base of the guitar boomed rolling bass, and numerous taps, neck bends and finger tricks created not just music but staggering ambience. He proved impressive, unique and mesmerising – a notable feat after the three previous players high calibre benchmarks. Finishing with his amusingly introduced song ‘Oregon’, he drew every last breath from the crowd as he tied them up in a musical web of percussion-driven magic.

The interlude allowed for reflection on the evening so far – technically incredible guitar playing, surprising variety, if perhaps occasionally a little niche in its content.

The second half of the show drew all four guitarists to the stage at once, each leading proceedings with a brief introduction to their own chosen pieces, before they shared tracks together. Some pieces involved all four members, others were duets, but most importantly all were superb. Their interplay was an assault on the senses – in terms of audio it was difficult to stay on track as rhythms, leads and licks interwove through the air like the smooth threads of audio silk. Visually it was equally challenging as there was so much to see all at once!

A mix of styles returned for the latter part also; a particular favourite of mine was a brief dabble into the Blues which instantly provided the rhythmical fix I had at times craved earlier in the evening. Whilst I could appreciate the technicality and intricacy of the previous pieces, there is little that can connect so instinctively to my musicality than the Blues – this was a welcome addition that had my feet tapping within a second.

Peppered throughout with jokes, banter and fun interactions, the evening ended with an easy informality between the performers and the audience. Combined with the unmistakable talents of ‘4 Parts Guitar’, the humble and appeasing nature with which they presented themselves only endeared them further. Whilst not a gig I recommend watching if you crave mosh pits and Marshall amps, the evening was relaxed, enjoyable and at times hugely absorbing, and for a fan of the guitar, a master class indeed.

8 out of 10 - Darren Paul Thompson
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4 Parts Guitar review by Bob Wilson

Well, the first of the ‘4 Parts Guitar’ didn’t disappoint. What a pleasure it was to see four brilliant guitarists having such a great time as they played, entertained and amazed us. Gordon, Ray and John were joined by Clive who brought his own unique style to the evening.

The first half consisted of each guitarist playing a few solo pieces in their own style. Gordon started the proceedings with favourites Shining Morn and Heartsong followed by Ray who played three beautiful classical pieces (one Brazilian I think) but by this time I was too into the music to even notice the titles. John then played Stormy Weather and a South African piece on electric guitar (the latter giving the effect of steel drums on guitar – amazing!). Clive was the final guitarist, starting with a Celtic guitar medley and then a piece on a loop station using the percussive guitar technique.

The second half started with all four musicians playing a new version of ‘The Dodo’s Dream’ arranged by Ray. What a great job he did of it too! This is a particular favourite of mine and to arrange for 4 guitarists must have caused Ray a few headaches. He left a couple of places for improvisation which means that even with the four of them playing this piece, it will still evolve and change on each playing. Nice one Ray!

Each guitarist then played pieces of their own with one other guitarist supporting them. Sometimes all four played a Gordon piece and this gave a whole new dimension to Gordon’s composing as some of his pieces lend themselves to improvisation. What guitarist doesn’t enjoy improvising? This showed the skill of these guitarists – all of them able to just fit in with each other, sometimes sight reading, sometimes not, but always with a passion and love that shone through. Several acoustic styles were covered in some way during the night and the friendship of these four was apparent as I don’t think any of them stopped smiling all evening. From the beginning to the encore a very enjoyable first concert by ‘Four Parts Guitar’.  Very hard to pick out a special part of the evening (apart from ‘The Dodo’s Dream’), but as the new boy, I do think the extra dimension of Clive’s playing added to this unique quartet and his ‘Renaissance Piece’ played with Ray was beautiful.

Bob Wilson

updated: 13 years ago

Philip Woodfield Grand Concert Guitar - SOLD

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2010 Philip Woodfield
Grand Concert Guitar

with lattice bracing
(named 'Kiri').

Spruce top with Honduras rosewood back and sides.

The instrument is in mint condition.

Price: £3500.

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Contact me by phone or email. It would need to be collected from Oxfordshire.

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updated: 13 years ago

CD with John Feeley - 'Romantic Serenade' Recording of the Week on Lyric FM

CD with John Feeley  039Romantic Serenade039 Recording of the Week on Lyric FM
UPDATE 21st Dec 2010

It's just been announced that as from 31st January 2011 Raymond Burley and John Feeley's CD 'Romantic Serenade' is to be the Irish radio station Lyric FM's 'Recording of the Week'.

A new duo guitar CD with Irish guitarist John Feeley entitled 'Romantic Serenade' is out now. It features works by two composers, Fernando Sor (1778-1839) and Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856). The CD will be issued by the San Francisco based record company Con Brio.

Recorded by John Taylor at St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Hampshire, England

The programme is as follows:

Mertz:   Am Grabe der Geliebten, Ich Denke Dein, Trauermarsch, Unruhe, Vespergang, Mazurka, Barcarole.

Sor:      L'Encouragement op.34, Fantaisie op.54 bis.

updated: 13 years ago

Mosaic Editions

Mosaic Editions is a publishing company intent on producing exciting and interesting guitar music from a wide variety of composers and periods.

We are pleased to announce that the first volumes produced by Mosaic Editions will be available from the beginning of September. Starting with a series of pieces by Isaac Albeniz arranged by Raymond Burley for three guitars, after that will come arrangements for solo guitar by Girolamo Frescobaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach. Guitar duo and trio pieces by the English composer David Gow will be next. The first publications are as follows:

001: ALBENIZ: Orientale op.232 - for three guitars
002: ALBENIZ: Zambra Granadina WoO - for three guitars
003: ALBENIZ: Seguidillas op.232 - for three guitars
004: ALBENIZ: Zortzico op.165 - for three guitars
005: ALBENIZ: Cordoba op.232 - for three guitars
006: ALBENIZ: Aragon op.47 - for three guitars
007: FRESCOBALDI: Aria detta 'La Frescobalda' - for solo guitar
008: DAVID GOW: Lord Haldon Dances - for three guitars
009: DAVID GOW: Partita - for two guitars

These pieces, and many others, are shortly being recorded by the Dublin Guitar Trio (Raymond Burley, John Feeley and Michael O'Toole) as part of an all Albeniz CD. All the arrangements on the CD will be made available by Mosaic Editions in due course.

Mosaic Editions will be distributed by the Spanish Guitar Centre, Nottingham

For more information on Mosaic Editions, please refer to this earlier webpage

updated: 13 years ago

Dec 11th Holywell Music Room

Dec 11th Holywell Music Room
Advance notice about an event happening at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on Saturday 11th December.

The concert will feature Raymond Burley performing solo and with the Bonnici String Quartet, flautist Chris Britton and reader David Clover. The programme will include: 'Platero y Yo' by Spanish guitarist and composer Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, 'Guitar Quintet' by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Dudley Moore's 'Horizon' for guitar and strings, and 'Sonata' (BWV 1033) for flute and guitar by Johann Sebastian Bach. The programme will also include guitar solos.

More information can be found in my Diary

updated: 14 years ago

Urchfont Weekend Nov 09

Urchfont Manor
The weekend of 13th - 15th Nov 09 saw another very successful guitar course in the wonderful setting of Urchfont Manor in the picturesque village of Urchfont, near Devizes in Wiltshire. The course was full with just two new faces and lots of regular participants. The chosen large group music is always varied; this time we performed my arrangement of Handel's Concerto Grosso op.6, no.1  (a substantial work in five movements) and Arne Brattland's very effective arrangement of Vocalise by Rachmaninoff.

Smaller ensembles prepared a wide variety of items in a very short time, many of which were featured in the Sunday morning Student Concert. Following the Saturday evening meal Arne Brattland and I gave a duo concert of works by Gismonti, Telemann, Albeniz, Mertz and Granados. After a short breather we all launched into the traditional 'Pop Orchestra' where we sight-read through a variety of arrangements of well-known pop standards.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the students for their contributions - very greatly appreciated.

The March 2010 Urchfont course is already fully booked although there is a waiting list in operation in case of cancellations.

For more information about future courses please Click here

updated: 14 years ago

New recordings out now

New recordings out now
There are two new CDs out now:

The first is a guitar duo recording with Gregg Nestor, made in Los Angeles, of works by Debussy, Michael Deak, Rozsa, Turina, Toni Beaulieu and Poulenc. All the arrangements are by Gregg Nestor. The CD, titled Kaleidoscope is on the Cambria label and will also be downloadable through Naxos. For full information click here

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The second CD is the re-released Double Vision duo album with Gordon Giltrap; the new recording is titled Double Visions and features two bonus tracks (also written by Gordon), 'Kaz' and 'Tears of Joy'. The album has been released by the UK company Floating World Records.

For full information click here.

There will also be another new CD released shortly, yet another duo CD but this time it's with the Irish guitarist John Feeley. The recording is entitled 'Serenade' and features music from the 19th century - works by Mertz, Carulli and Sor. It will be released by the San Francisco based record company Con Brio.

updated: 14 years ago

New music book published in Poland

New music book published in Poland
New book released May 09 - in Poland; Witold Lutoslawski - Twelve Folk Melodies arranged by Raymond Burley.

It will become available in the UK at a later date.

Witold Lutoslawski's set of Twelve Folk Melodies was written in 1945 for the piano in response to a commission from PWM Edition (Poland). The pieces are essentially arrangements of Polish folk music, not dissimilar to Miguel Llobet's guitar arrangements of Catalan folk songs. Lutoslawski's pieces originate from several different parts of Poland.

Several years ago the English guitarist Julian Bream made an arrangement of the pieces and apparently consulted the composer before performing his edition; the arrangement remains unpublished. Many years ago I arranged a handful of the pieces for the guitar and more recently was encouraged to complete the set. I felt it necessary to relocate some of the pieces to more accommodating keys; one or two further alterations were required in order to present the pieces convincingly on the guitar. However, there is nothing that dilutes the original material or compromises the composer's intentions.

For more information see my Published Music page.

updated: 15 years ago

Friday Night Is Music Night

Friday Night Is Music Night

Raymond has been asked to appear again on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night Is Music Night.

Last April he performed as part of the duo 'Double Vision' with Gordon Giltrap. The programme is usually broadcast live but this edition will be recorded at the Mermaid Theatre in east London on Tuesday 2nd June; it's assumed it will be broadcast during the evening of Friday 5th.

Raymond will play three solo pieces: Cadiz by Isaac Albeniz, Porro by Gentil Montana and Andrew York's Sunburst.  

updated: 14 years ago

Rodrigo Guitar Trio's 2009 U.S. Tour

Rodrigo Guitar Trio
The Rodrigo Guitar Trio has just returned from a very enjoyable and successful United States tour. The group's usual third member Cornelius Bruinsma was unable to be with us this time so the Dublin-based guitarist John Feeley stood in. John fitted into the group very easily and quickly made a positive contribution.

Although the trip lasted just 10 days it meant undertaking 18 flights - to New York's JFK airport, Memphis, Newport News, Evansville, Pittsburgh, Brunswick, and numerous connecting flights to Atlanta before finally returning to London's Heathrow.

The trio's concert programme consisting of Grieg: Three pieces, Phillip Houghton: Suite, Granados: Three Spanish dances, Bernstein: Suite from 'West Side Story' and Albeniz: Three pieces - was very well received (particularly the Bernstein) and featured about as much contrast as the trio could muster. Audiences were large and appreciative and the post-concert receptions were lavish.

Our hosts treated us to some wonderful, generous hospitality and for that we're very grateful. As always we ate and drank far too much and sampled many brands of whiskey! The temperature in Georgia was very warm and John improvised a sun hat courtesy of the score of one of Grieg's Norwegian Dances.

As always not everything ran quite to plan: an unscheduled stopover in Atlanta caused by a delayed previous flight, and a slight change of programme for the Evansville concert. The players caught the flight to Evansville (just!) but unfortunately the luggage didn't make it. One trio member - who shall remain nameless - packed the music in his suitcase so it meant him playing some items from memory, having some music emailed from England to the hotel, and each of us adding some solo items. Even more contrast! Unfortunately John Feeley's lovely Woodfield guitar was badly damaged en route from Atlanta to Evansville despite using a very sturdy flight case. Scotch tape came to the rescue. We were unable to blame Delta Airlines for John's broken thumbnail - repaired very successfully in a nail bar in Virginia.

Next year's US tour will be undertaken by the English Guitar Duo.

To see some photos from the tour, please click here

updated: 14 years ago

Urchfont Manor March 2009 Review

Urchfont Manor March 2009 Review
The weekend of 20th – 22nd March saw another very successful guitar course in the wonderful setting of Urchfont Manor. The course was full with three new faces and lots of regular participants. The chosen large group music is always varied; this time we performed Ian Gammie's 'Concerto Veneziano' (an excellent work in three movements in the style of Vivaldi), Gammie's arrangement of pieces by Sanz, a fun arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's 'Day Tripper'; I threw in my arrangement of Abba's 'Mama Mia' for good measure.  

Smaller ensembles prepared a wide variety of items in a very short time, many of which were featured in the Sunday morning Student Concert. Following the Saturday evening meal Arne Brattland and I gave a duo concert of works by Scarlatti, Grieg, Duarte, Sor, Gismonti and Machado; some of these performances are already on Youtube. We then all launched into the traditional 'Pop Orchestra' where we sight-read through a variety of arrangements of well-known pop standards.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the students for their contributions - all very greatly appreciated.

Next November's Urchfont course is already full although there is a waiting list in operation in case of cancellations.

updated: 14 years ago

Raymond on YouTube

Raymond is delighted to announce that he now has his own YouTube Channel where you can view a selection of videos such as Telemann 'Partie Polonoise'.- Raymond Burley & John Mills - 1998 below.

UPDATE 27th March - More videos added of Arne Brattland and Raymond Burley (English Guitar Duo) featuring music by Scarlatti, Sor, Machado, Duarte, Gismonti and Grieg.

Videos uploaded so far are:
Raymond Burley & John Mills - 1998

Carulli: Serenade in A op.96

Poulenc: Bransle de Bourgogne
Poulenc: Pavane
Poulenc: Petite Marche Militaire
Poulenc: Complainte
Poulenc: Bransle de Champagne
Poulenc: Sicilienne
Poulenc: Carillon

Telemann: Partie Polonoise

Brouwer: Tranquillo
Brouwer: Allegro vivace
Brouwer: Vivacissimo muy ritmico
Brouwer: Sonoro
Brouwer: Andante tranquillo

Granados: Intermezzo

Mertz: Vespergang
Mertz: Mazurka
Mertz: Am Grabe der Geliebten
Mertz Unruhe

Ginastera: Three Dances from Estancia

Machado: Imagens do Nordeste

updated: 14 years ago

New Philip Woodfield Guitar

New Philip Woodfield Guitar

Raymond has just taken charge of a new guitar by the Sussex-based guitar maker Philip Woodfield. The guitar, named"Billie" (after Philip's favourite jazz singer Billie Holliday), is a lattice braced, spruce fronted instrument with Macassar ebony back and sides and a Brazilian cedar neck. Although it was only recently strung up it already has substantial volume, clarity, and excellent balance across the tonal range.

Raymond will shortly be recording the soundtrack for 'To Hear or Not to Hear', a film made by the producer/director Erika Stevenson.

updated: 15 years ago

New ABRSM syllabus

New ABRSM syllabus
Raymond Burley was recently asked to record the grades 6, 7 and 8 examination pieces for the next Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music classical guitar syllabus.

CDs of the pieces are now available for purchase. For more information, please visit the Recordings section of the website and scroll down to Educational to see details of all 3 CDs.

The ABRSM, as it's generally known, is an examination board based on the pedigree of four Royal Schools of Music:

The Royal Academy of Music,
The Royal College of Music,
The Royal Northern College of Music
The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

updated: 15 years ago

Reading at Sight

Reading at Sight


A Practical Guide for Guitarists

Raymond is currently in the process of writing a new book for Registry Publications on the hugely important subject of sight-reading. The book is based on a series of seminars given for the RGT's (Registry of Guitar Tutors) annual conferences during the past three years. The book covers the subject in a detailed, refreshing and imaginative way. Guitarists are notoriously poor sight-readers and it is hoped that this publication will go some way towards improving the situation.

updated: 15 years ago

New Miklós Rózsa collection CD released

New Mikloacutes Roacutezsa collection CD released
BUYSOUNDTRAX Records will be releasing THE MIKLÓS RÓZSA COLLECTION: MUSIC FOR GUITAR. The album features music composed for motion pictures by Miklós Rózsa, arranged for guitar by Gregg Nestor, performed by Gregg Nestor, Raymond Burley and William Kanengiser, augmented by Francisco Castillo on Oboe and Carole Kleister-Castillo on Violin.

THE MIKLÓS RÓZSA COLLECTION: MUSIC FOR GUITAR presents the music of Miklós Rózsa in an entirely new light, adapting the pieces for three guitars, in arrangements based faithfully on the composer's original scores by internationally acclaimed guitarist Gregg Nestor.

In 1994 Raymond Burley had the pleasure of playing to Miklós Rozsa in his Hollywood home.

The CD was recorded at Penguin Studios in Eagle Rock, Los Angleles, California.

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For more information and some short audio samples please visit the recordings section.

Review taken from

Rating: ****

This has been such an amazing year for older soundtrack releases that this little release from BSX might have completely slipped under the radar.

Guitarist Gregg Nestor has arranged a variety of works for his instrument that have expanded the repertoire admirably. And he is responsible for the commissioning of the sonata which Rozsa wrote for the instrument in 1986.

The first half of the disc features come from the composer's more classical composition drawer. It begins with a set of delightful miniatures which Rozsa composed for his children in 1946. Kaleidoscope, Op. 19c is a six-movement work of little pieces for two guitars (performed with Raymond Burley) that include an opening march, a delightful musette, and a beautiful lullaby in addition to a couple of ethnic music pieces ("Zingara" and "Chinese Carillon") and a fun concluding burlesque. There is a lot of delightful music in this suite that features a more modal sounding harmonic palette that resembles a gentler Bartok-ian sensibility. The Sonata for Guitar, Op. 42 is a classically-conceived work in every sense of the word from its sonata form construction and an interior canzon movement, to the exciting final movement. There are some melodic qualities to the work that recall those of the composer's epic period scores but here cast in a far more intimate light. Written in 1986, the work feels more like a piece of the 1950s at times, but it has a freshness and intricate design that warrants its establishment in the repertoire. It is one of the many delightful discoveries on the disc.

Admittedly, the thought of such a largely-conceived work as EL CID's score re-imagined for guitar seemed a rather hefty goal. And yet, the performance and arrangement here of the "Overture" is one that is both extremely musical and intricately engaging as some of the finer details of Rozsa's harmony and counterpoint can so clearly be delineated on this two-guitar setting (Nestor is joined here by William Kenengiser). A soulful oboe (performed by Francisco Castillo), and later violin (performed by Carole Kleister-Castillo), is added to the texture for the following "Love Theme" making for a nice contrast to the preceding material as well. All this music lies well for the guitar and this is clear throughout these first two adaptations which have an appropriately Castillian feel to them made more audible in this setting. In many ways, the performances practically transport you back to the period of the story.

Other selections on the disc include the beautiful love theme from THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, and a couple of suites from scores for LYDIA and CRISIS, the latter score from 1950 originally composed mostly for two guitars. The central portion of the disc features a variety of source cues which Rozsa composed to fit specific period scenes. There sounds tend to waver between a Renaissance style and a more Baroque one (i.e. the delightful "Bouree" from MOONFLEET) depending on the film. But they all sound like long lost guitar miniature gems. Two of these, music from YOUNG BESS and MADAME BOVARY, are arranged for two guitars and are beautifully balanced here between the two instruments. Nestor's solo tracks are all beautifully realized with "The Tokyo Tea Room Waltz" from BLOOD ON THE SUN a particularly engaging, if brief, musical work. The theme from GREEN FIRE sounds like something from every guitarist's Spanish guitar playbook in this light, but with Rozsa's unique and engaging melodic stamp it becomes something much more.

Each guitar voice is assigned a different side of the sound spectrum to identify the performer, but it actually recreates a more realistic concert sound that is warm and intimate throughout. The instruments themselves have beautiful tone quality and the performances are quite clean and crisp (without the too-close miked finger noises that often can distract those unfamiliar with classical guitar recordings).

This is an overall wonderful release that features an intelligently written and engaging overview of the selections included in this fine release. For a variety of highlighted clips from the release, you can visit the label's website: here

This is a great disc of music that will have great appeal to guitar music fans as well as those looking for a way to introduce the music of this great composer to your more classically-minded friends.

Steven A. Kennedy , 12 December 2008

A few additional comments...

I completely agree with Steve's opinion of this wonderful CD of Gregg Nestor's flavorful arrangements of Miklos Rozsa's film music.

We need more recordings like this one to demonstratethat film music need not only be performed by orchestras and pop groups. This ensemble of musicians play their respects to one of Hollywood's best composers. And the CD notes are by Herrmann's biographer, Steven C. Smith.

This is a first rate CD, beautifully recorded, and also has a handsomely designed booklet.

It is highly recommended for all Rozsaphiles, or any listener who appreciates the art of film music from Hollywood's Golden Age.

Roger Hall, FMR Editor

updated: 14 years ago

Chris Britton

Chris Britton
Raymond will be shortly be getting back together with flautist Chris Britton, this time to record an all Bach CD.

The programme will include new arrangements of BWV 997, 1033 and 817.

Also Raymond Burley and Chris Britton (flute) will be performing as follows:

Sunday, September 14th, 2008 2.30pm
Witney Music Festival
Cokethorpe School
Oxfordshire OX29 7PU

phone: (01865) 358293

For more information on Chris Click here

updated: 15 years ago

Double Vision on Radio 2

Double Vision on Radio 2

Friday Night Is Music Night
is a BBC radio programme that has graced the airwaves for over 50 years, initially on the Light Programme and then later on Radio 2; this makes it the longest running music programme on the radio. The programme's resident orchestra is the fantastic BBC Concert Orchestra.

For many years Friday Night Is Music Night was broadcast from the Hippodrome in Golders Green but more recently it has come from several other theatres and concert halls in the London area. The programme has an estimated listening audience of over a million. To be asked to appear as a guest on this 'National Institution' is indeed a great honour.

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The show on Friday April 25th was broadcast live from the Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars, East London and hosted by Ken Bruce. The other guests were soprano Sophie Louise Dann, baritone Tim Rogers, and the orchestra was conducted by Richard Balcombe.

If you missed the programme you can listen online here (UK only) until Thursday 1st May. Scroll down to the Friday Night Is Music Night link.

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My partner in Double Vision, Gordon Giltrap (and his wife Hilary) travelled down from Sutton Coldfield to Oxfordshire the previous evening in readiness for an early rehearsal on Friday morning. Our four chosen items were all written by Gordon: Maddie Goes West, A Christmas Carol, Fast Approaching (from our Double Vision CD) and a more recent piece, Tears of Joy. We set off for London after an excellent rehearsal and arrived at the theatre in good time. Luckily we were able to sit in on some orchestral and vocal rehearsal before our sound check.

I'm very happy to report that when the programme came we played well and received a terrific ovation at the end. As many of you will know, Gordon uses several different tunings but, as there were other items in between ours, it meant he was able to use just one instrument (a Fylde Custom) and retune in between.
I used my Philip Woodfield, which blended with
the Flyde superbly.
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The evening finished with a trip to the nearby Cockpit pub with Ken Bruce, his daughter Katie and some near neighbours of theirs. Our agent, publicist and web designer Sue Holton (and her husband Mike) joined us for the event and we're very grateful to her for the photographs that appear here.  

To read about this event through the eyes of my partner, Gordon Giltrap, visit his website here

See PDF file below for details of playlist.

updated: 15 years ago

12 Polish Folksongs by Witold Lutoslawski

12 Polish Folksongs by Witold Lutoslawski

It's just been announced that Raymond's wonderful guitar arrangement of the 12 Polish Folksongs by Witold Lutoslawski is shortly to be published by Lutoslawski's main publisher PWM (Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne).

Witold Lutoslawski; (January 25, 1913 – February 7, 1994)
was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the pre-eminent Polish musicians during his last three decades. During his lifetime, Lutoslawski earned many international awards and prizes, including the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour.

During his youth, Lutoslawski studied piano and composition in Warsaw. His early works were influenced by Polish folk music. His style demonstrates a wide range of rich atmospheric textures. He began to develop his own characteristic composition techniques in the late 1950s. His music from this period onwards incorporates his own methods of building harmonies from small groups of musical intervals. It also uses aleatory processes, in which the rhythmic coordination of parts is subject to an element of chance. His compositions (of which he was a notable conductor) include four symphonies, a Concerto for Orchestra, and several instrumental concertos and orchestral song cycles.

updated: 16 years ago

Double Vision DVD - 'In Vision' - Out Now

Double Vision DVD  039In Vision039  Out Now


Double Vision - In Vision is a DVD that captures two specially filmed performances of Gordon Giltrap and Raymond Burley. Although both artists have completely different styles they manage to blend both styles together effortlessly in two intimate performances filmed in late 2006 at Stickford Church and Fulston Manor.

Having already recorded an album together in 2004 entitled Double Vision the next logical step was to film these two wonderful artists in concert and two specially arranged concerts were set up in late 2006. Both performances feature the two musicians bringing out the best in each other in this rare coupling.

As Gordon Giltrap's and Raymond Burley's schedules rarely allow them the opportunity to play together this DVD will be seen as the next best thing to actually experiencing a live concert.

Click either arrow twice to play the video ( please remember this is a low resolution sample and not representative of the actual DVD quality )

The DVD contains both concerts in full and also an interview feature entitled Meet Ray and Gordon.

The DVD is available now from Voiceprint and orders are now being taken on the dedicated micro website which also includes the low resolution sample of the DVD

For more details and to place an order please go to:  

Double Vision DVD Orders

UPDATE  - 17th August 2008

DVD Review from Classic Rock Society magazine  (August / September 2008)

Gordon Giltrap and Raymond Burley - Double Vision – In Vision (Voiceprint)

Two very different acoustic guitarists combine wonderfully on this recording. The folky idiosyncratic Gordon Giltrap performs with the more classically measured Raymond Burley to create music that is both intriguing and intimate. Recorded live in two venues in late 2006, the pair make the music seem almost effortless. The first recording at Stickford Church finds the musicians playing in an empty church without an audience. It is well filmed and recorded, and you can tell that in spite of the intensity it was a highly enjoyable experience for them both. At Fulston Manor they play pretty much the same material before a receptive audience, including Maddie Goes West, Isabella's Wedding and Down the River. Due to the size of the venue the pictures are a little claustrophobic at times, although well recorded both visually and aurally so it does not spoil the atmosphere. This is a pretty rare event too, as the busy schedules of the pair make live dates highly unlikely. A very enjoyable release.

Bernard Law

UPDATE - 23rd June 2008

This great review was spotted online at the Bolton News website:

DVD Review.
Double Vision - In Vision By Martin Hutchinson.

Double Vision is in fact the pairing of two of the greatest guitarists around today - Gordon Giltrap and Raymond Burley.
Despite the fact that these two have completely different styles of playing (Gordon uses a pick and his little finger whilst Raymond just uses his fingers to play), they blend together perfectly.

Double Vision is actually the title of the album they recorded together in 2004, yet because of their hectic schedules it took until late 2006 for them to come together to play live.

There are two intimate concerts here, one recorded at Stickford Church and the other at Fulston Manor. Both concerts have generally the same tracks, and are a complete joy to listen to - and to watch the masters at work is an education. Tracks such as 'Down The River', 'Isabella's Wedding' and 'Maddie Goes West' show just what magicians of music this pair is.

A bonus feature of an interview with both players is an interesting addition to the disc.

Nothing is more beautiful than the sound of the guitar…. save perhaps two"

updated: 15 years ago

Double Vision News

Double Vision News
Gordon Giltrap and I recently spent a very pleasant day with our good friend Paul White at his studio in Malvern where we recorded two pieces: Kaz and Tears of Joy. Our Double Vision CD was released in 2006 by Voiceprint and is shortly to be re-released by the German company Hypertension with the title 'Double Vision - Special Edition'; the two new pieces will be included as bonus tracks. The recording will be re-mastered and will have different artwork.  

We're very grateful to Rob Ayling at Voiceprint for releasing the Double Vision album but we all now realise that it was a just a little too specialist for their market. Hypertension is the company that released my solo Giltrap album The Long Road Home at the end of last year.

updated: 15 years ago

The London College of Music Classical Guitar Syllabus

The London College of Music Classical Guitar Syllabus
A few months ago Tony Skinner, the guitar coordinator for the London College of Music, asked if I would be interested in assisting him in compiling the next LCM Classical Guitar exam syllabus. Having helped with the previous syllabus I knew it was something that would occupy a fair amount of time, nevertheless I was still more than happy to be involved.

Due credit must go to Tony Skinner who spent an inordinate amount of time collating and typesetting the music, proof-reading, etc. and throughout it all his enthusiasm never seemed to falter. I hope the new syllabus proves to be popular, as I believe the requirements offer a great deal of variety and interest, plus I feel the syllabus is a realistic standard throughout.  

The new LCM Classical Guitar syllabus is in 10 volumes: Steps 1 and 2, followed by Grades 1-8. The books are beautifully produced and are very reasonably priced. Each volume includes the set pieces for the grade (although there is a supplementary list), performance notes, scales, examples of the sight-reading requirements, aural tests and viva voce; an entry form is also provided.

For more information go to the Published Music section of my website and scroll down to the Educational category, or  view the PDF file below.

updated: 15 years ago

Mosaic Editions

Mosaic Editions

Mosaic Editions is a publishing company intent on producing exciting and interesting guitar music from a wide variety of composers and periods.

The series will begin shortly with three pieces by the English composer David Gow (1917-1986): Cancion y Danza (for solo guitar), Partita (for guitar duo) and Lord Haldon Dances (for guitar trio).
David Gow studied at the Royal College of Music with Gordon Jacob and Frank Merrick; he was awarded the Cobbett Prize and Alfred Clements Prize for his first full-length chamber work, Clarinet Quintet. He obtained a BMus and MMus as an external student of Durham University. After leaving college he taught in the Extra Mural Departments of both Oxford and London; he obtained a full-time teaching position in London in 1962. Eight years later he moved to Wiltshire to take up an appointment as Lecturer in Music at Swindon College where he remained until his retirement in 1986.

Raymond Burley was introduced to David Gow in the mid 1970s, the collaboration resulted in a number of works for guitar (in addition to the above): Rainbow Pieces and A Group of Noble Dames (solo guitar), A Distant Door and Cantos Agridulces (for mezzo soprano and guitar), Guitar Concertino (guitar and chamber orchestra) and Cygnus X1 (guitar and harpsichord).

After the music of David Gow there will be two solo pieces from James Patten: Appell I (written for Gilbert Biberian) and Appell II (Memories). The latter piece was written for Raymond Burley and commissioned by David James CBE. Appell II was given its premiere by Raymond Burley at the 2001 Devizes Festival and several subsequent performances in the USA.

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James Patten was born in Sheffield in 1936. Following Army service he studied with Richard Arnell and won the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize with a piano concerto. Shortly after he gained a German Academic Exchange Scholarship to study in Berlin with Boris Blacher and Josef Rufer. Later he became Professor of Composition at Trinity College of Music. He now lives in Somerset.

Mosaic Editions will continue with the Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006) by Johann Sebastian Bach; each work will be published separately.
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Richard Leigh Harris is one of the UK's most distinguished pianists and harpsichordists. He is an experienced performer and has worked in a wide variety of musical settings. In addition to solo performances he has collaborated with flamenco and classical guitarists (including Raymond Burley), recorder players and a number of highly respected jazz musicians. Richard is also in great demand as a teacher and is currently the visiting composition tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Mosaic Editions will shortly be publishing two of Richard's guitar pieces: Double Triptych (1986) for solo guitar, premiered by Raymond Burley, and Deuawd: Everlasting Day (2002) for two guitars, written as a wedding present for Raymond Burley and his wife Siân.

updated: 15 years ago

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas and Partitas

Johann Sebastian Bach Sonatas and Partitas

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas and Partitas
[BWV 1001-1006]

One of Raymond Burley's many projects for 2008 is to record the complete set of Sonatas and Partitas that Bach wrote for solo violin or, as he preferred: Six Solos for Violin Without Accompanying Bass. The work survives in a carefully prepared autograph manuscript dated 1720, which can be found in the Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. The cycle  remained unpublished in the composer's lifetime and seems not to have circulated widely until the end of the 18th century.

Much of the writing consists of implied harmonies; Bach's pupil Johann Friedrich Agricola recalled that the composer frequently played the pieces on the clavichord, adding as much harmony as he felt was necessary. Unfortunately for us his re-workings were never written down. However, there are some contemporary keyboard arrangements of the complete Sonata (BWV 1003) and the opening movement of the Sonata (BWV 1005), Grave; they are thought to have been made by Bach's eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann. It can be presumed that Johann Sebastian sanctioned and approved these arrangements.

Just as the keyboard is able to add flesh to the bones of the violin score, so too is the guitar. Raymond has used the original versions as the basis for his guitar arrangements, incorporating some of Wilhelm Friedemann's ideas, and using them as a model for the remaining works.

The complete cycle is being recorded by Raymond Burley at the beginning of June and will be issued by the San Francisco based record company Con Brio. Raymond's arrangements, in six separate volumes, will eventually be available as part of the Mosaic Editions series.

'Some of the most imaginative Bach playing I've ever heard on the guitar.'
John Duarte

updated: 15 years ago

New Santos Martinez Raymond Burley signature guitar

Santos Martinez logo

Santos Martinez introduce nylon strung
'Raymond Burley' signature classical
acoustic guitar

With Indian rosewood back and sides bound with multiple rosewood and maple bindings, mahogany neck, 19 fret rosewood fingerboard and a beautiful top crafted from A grade solid German spruce, the new Santos Martinez Raymond Burley signature model, is a fine example of the company’s exquisite series of high quality nylon strung classical guitars.

Combining power and sound characteristics, with exceptional playability and performance, additional appointments that contribute to the visual elegance of this exquisite model finished in high gloss, include the familiar profile-contoured, capped headstock with engraved SM logo and maple inlay, gold-plated machine heads with white pearl buttons, capped heel and detailed rosette inlay.

Having brought classical guitar music to concert halls worldwide, Raymond Burley is one of Britain's most experienced classical guitar players, performing solo concerts, concertos, on film scores, radio, and television and in virtually every possible guitar ensemble combination.

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SM3000RB Santos Martinez Raymond Burley signature with guitar Bag £399 rrp

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“This is actually my second signature model,” explains Raymond, “The first dates back to 2002 when I started working with Santos Martinez, which received enormous praise and recognition in the media.

The skilled luthiers at the company were aware of my favourite tonewoods and my playing style of course, so for this latest model, I let them have carte blanche to go ahead. I received the prototype and expected to suggest some changes or improvements, but it was absolutely fine as it was, no alterations were necessary.

The appearance was stunning and the playability, action and balance between treble and bass and volume were all excellent. It suits my playing style totally, I couldn’t ask for more from a guitar at this price that for me, is perfect in the studio and a live stage environment.”

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Paired with its rosewood body, a tonewood renowned for its ability to add warmth, punch and sustain, internal fan bracing and the natural richness of the tight grained German spruce top, rosewood bridge and bone nut, this intriguing nylon strung classical guitar, delivers rich sustain and excellent projection with a long-throw.

Superb note clarity is notably apparent when playing arpeggio style chords or indeed, the more aggressive and typical rasgueado or Spanish classical fast finger strumming techniques.

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Available from your favourite music store or online

updated: 1 month ago

Gilbert Biberian at 80 concert 24th Feb 2024

Gilbert Biberian at 80 concert 24th Feb 2024

updated: 5 months ago

The Long Road Home available to download

The Long Road Home cover

The following is taken from Gordon Giltrap’s website:


I’m delighted to report that Raymond Burley’s beautiful album of my tunes, ‘The Long Road Home, will be available to download from ‘MirrorNoir Records’ from July 23rd.

Raymond Burley (

Also, the music and TAB will be available if all you pickers out there want to learn some of these old tunes of mine re-interpreted by a master of the classical guitar. They are mainly in standard tuning. The man’s a genius!

updated: 1 year ago

West Dean Festival 13-18 August bookings open now

West Dean Festival 1318 August bookings open now

UPDATE 20th Feb 2022


Booking for this year’s West Dean International Guitar Festival is now open. The dates are
13 th - 18 th August. The festival is open to players of all ages (over 18), Grade 2 standard and
above. Bursaries are available for students aged 18 - 24.

A week of repertoire and technique workshops, individual lessons, ensemble playing,
lectures, masterclasses, informal student concerts and a guitar orchestra.

An enjoyable time is guaranteed.

updated: 2 years ago

Handel: 'Suite no.7 (HWV 432)

Handel 039Suite no7 HWV 432

The most recent publication in the Raymond Burley Series for d'Oz is the wonderful keyboard 'Suite no.7' originally for keyboard. This has been arranged for two guitars.

The catalogue number is DZ 3803.

At the moment it is available as download only; hard copies from the beginning of December 2021.

updated: 2 years ago

Rosette Editions

Rosette Editions

I'm very happy to have arrangements published by Rosette Editions.

The first of these is Scarlatti's Sonata K.87 (L.33) originally for harpsichord but arranged for guitar quartet. It's available in two versions, hard copy or as a download.

The next edition will be 'Partie Polonoise' by Georg Philippe Telemann originally composed for two lutes and arranged for two guitars. This will become available shortly.

updated: 2 years ago

Mirror Noir Records

Mirror Noir Records

I'm delighted to have several of my earlier CDs re-released recently by the Malvern based company Mirror Noir Records. So far I have three recordings in their growing catalogue:

'Raymond Burley plays the music of Fernando Sor'.

'Divertimento' - a mixed recital programme with English guitarist John Mills.

'Double Vision' with steel string guitarist Gordon Giltrap.

The above albums are now available to download.

updated: 2 years ago

London College of Music New Classical Guitar Exam Syllabus

I was recently asked to contribute a number of arrangements to the new Classical Guitar Exam Syllabus for the London College of Music (LCM). They include works by Bach, Dowland, Mudarra, Sanz, Scarlatti and Weiss.

updated: 2 years ago

ARC, Old Harlow, Friday 8th October 2021

I'm very happy to be returning to ARC in Old Harlow on Friday 8th October for a lunchtime concert of Spanish Music.

The programme: SOR: 'Fantaisie op.40', ALBENIZ: 'Mallorca', MORENO TORROBA: 'Madronos', SAINZ DE LA MAZA: 'Homenaje a la Guitarra', TARREGA: 'Capricho Arabe', TURINA: 'Hommage a Tarrega', LLOBET: 'Four Catalan Folksongs' and 'Variations on a Theme of Sor'.

updated: 2 years ago

South Hill Park now 20th Nov 2021

South Hill Park now 20th Nov 2021
Another rescheduled concert now on 20th Nov.

The Recital Hall at South Hill Park is one of my favourite smaller venue.

This time I'll be playing a programme entitled 'The Music of Spain with works by Sor, Sainz de la Maza, Falla, Albeniz, Moreno Torroba, Turina, Llobet and Pujol.

updated: 2 years ago

Hillscourt now 5th - 7th Nov 2021

The ensemble weekend at Hillscourt, Rednal near Birmingham is normally an annual event but like most other things had to be postponed. It's taking place on 5th-7th November.

There will be an evening concert given by Abigail James and Raymond Burley.

The programme will include works by Telemann, Scarlatti, Brahms, Carulli and Takemitsu.

Should you be interested in joining us for the weekend please contact Ray Butcher:

updated: 2 years ago

English Guitar Orchestra in Witney 14th May 2022

The date is Saturday 14th May next year at the newly renovated Corn Exchange.

The English Guitar Orchestra is directed by Raymond Burley.

The proceeds will be donated to Cancer UK. Unfortunately one of the orchestra's principal members Arne Brattland died from cancer last January.

The programme is still to be decided

updated: 2 years ago

A Second Signature Guitar

It's a huge honour to have a signature guitar - to be offered a second is absolutely amazing. The first version was produced by the fantastic Leeds based company JHS and was modelled on my trusty 1985 Martin Fleeson. Full details of this guitar can be found on the homepage.

The design for the second guitar (also produced by JHS) is as yet undecided - Hauser, Fleta? Watch this space, as they say.

updated: 2 years ago

New Recording

In mid September I'll be recording a new solo album 'Mosaic'.

The programme:

Sainz de la Maza: 'Homenaje a la Guitarra',
Downs: 'Mosaic',
Duarte: 'English Suite' op.31,
Nieminen: Le Tombeau d'Albert Roussel',
Houghton: 'Sonata for Guitar',
Biberian: 'Chanson du Printemps' and
Lauro: 'Suite Venezolana'

updated: 2 years ago

New Publications

The lockdown was a good time to work on other projects, in my case it was many new ensemble arrangements for publication plus forthcoming ensemble days and weekends. The majority of these titles can be seen in the Published Music section of the website.

The most recent works are Vivaldi: 'Concerto' RV 230 for solo guitar with five part ensemble (Bergmann) and Handel: Suite no.7 (HWV 432) for guitar duo (D'Oz). These will become available later in the year.

updated: 2 years ago

New Pieces

SONATA FOR GUITAR by Mark Houghton.

A substantial four movement piece written earlier this year and dedicated to Raymond Burley. It will be recorded for Mirror Noir Records in September 2021.


Written in 2020 and dedicated to Raymond Burley, the piece utilises themes and harmonies from Roussel's ballet-pantomime 'Le Festin de l'Araignee' op.17 (The Spider's Feast). It will be recorded for Mirror Noir Records in September 2021.


An imaginative and varied work. It will be recorded in 2022.

updated: 2 years ago

updated: 2 years ago

Finland is on, now 9th Aug 2022

Finland is on now 9th Aug 2022

I'm glad to report that my concert in the Jyvaskylan Series at Kaupunginkirkko in Finland has been rescheduled to 9th August next year.

updated: 2 years ago


I’m very happy to be involved in next year's Classical Minds Guitar Festival where I’ll be joining the faculty: Valérie Hartzell, Daniela Rossi and Mathew James.

The venue is Foxton Village Hall in Cambridgeshire, the dates are 14th and 15th March. The festival is open to players of all ages and standards. The weekend features guitar orchestra playing, workshops, lecture recitals, private lessons and a student concert on Sunday evening.

Owing to a prior engagement I can only be there on Sunday. My contribution will include a masterclass, guitar orchestra coaching and a workshop.

For full details contact artistic director Valérie Hartzell at

For an application form:

updated: 4 years ago

MARLOS NOBRE: New work for guitar

MARLOS NOBRE New work for guitar
I’m delighted to announce that Brazilian maestro Marlos Nobre is writing a new work for me, it should be completed early next year.

The piece will be included in the programme of a contemporary guitar music CD due to be recorded later in 2020 and will receive numerous concert performances.

updated: 4 years ago


The programme for next year’s contemporary guitar music recording is coming together nicely with the addition of a new piece by Finnish guitarist and composer Kai Nieminen entitled ‘From Shadows of Winds’. The piece takes its inspiration from an Emily Dickinson poem that begins:

I lost a World - the other day!
Has anybody found?
You’ll know it by the Row of Stars
Around its forehead bound.

The piece uses the relatively unusual tuning of 6th string to E flat and 2nd string to B flat, a tuning used very effectively by Toru Takemitsu in 'Equinox’.

updated: 4 years ago

Burley and d'OZ

Burley and d039OZ

I'm happy to report that the first four titles in my series for the Canadian music publisher d'OZ are now available:

Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso op.28 (violin and guitar)
Bach: Partita BWV 826 (two guitars)
Schumann: Kinderszenen op.15 (three guitars)
Franck: Prélude, Fugue and Variation op.18 (four guitars)

To become available shortly:
Handel: Suite no.7 HWV 432 (two guitars)
Turina: Danzas Gitanas op.84 (three guitars)
Bach: Concerto BWV 1060 (six guitars)
Ravel: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (four guitars)

The series is ongoing. Details HERE

I'm grateful to my pal Mark Houghton for the introduction to the company.

updated: 4 years ago

English Guitar Orchestra in Bampton

English Guitar Orchestra in Bampton

updated: 5 years ago

North Wales Federation Day

North Wales Federation Day
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updated: 5 years ago

Dimitris Fampas Guitar Festival

Dimitris Fampas Guitar Festival

updated: 5 years ago

Astraea Guitar Duo Workshop

Astraea Guitar Duo Workshop

2nd March, 2019 from 10 am - 9 pm at Foxton Village Hall, Foxton near Cambridge (Hardman Road, CB22 6RN)

This all day workshop features Raymond Burley and Valerie Hartzell, as the Astraea Guitar Duo, with guitar orchestra rehearsals and small ensemble masterclasses. There is only room for 8 groups to perform in the master classes; each group will receive 30 minutes (all types of groups welcome - duos, trios, quartets, etc).

The day starts with registration before our first event of the day (provided by Raymond and Valérie). Participants are asked to bring lunch (there will be tea, coffee with biscuits available)

In the evening, small ensembles from the master classes, Astraea Guitar Duo, and the guitar orchestra will perform in an evening concert which will be open to the public.

Cost: £35

Masterclass: £10

Tickets to concert: £5 at 7:30 pm.

For further information please contact Valérie at or Raymond at

If you would like to stay overnight, feel free to visit a list of hotels in the area of Foxton: TRAVEL INFORMATION.

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updated: 5 years ago

Forthcoming Guitar Ensemble Courses

Photo courtesy photospublicdomaincom
Guitar ensemble courses planned for 2019 include:

Tutors: Raymond Burley and Valérie Hartzell.
Foxton Village Hall, Foxton, near Cambridge on Saturday 2nd March. There will be a joint evening concert given by the students and tutors.

Tutor: Raymond Burley.
Benslow Music Trust, Hitchin, Herts. over the weekend 14th - 16th June. There will be an evening concert given by Raymond Burley.

Tutor: Raymond Burley.
Alive Church, Prestatyn, North Wales on Saturday 22nd June. Federation of Guitar Societies Day. There will be a concert at the same venue the previous evening given by Raymond Burley.

Tutor: Raymond Burley.
Hillscourt Conference Centre in Rose Hill, Lickey, Birmingham over the weekend 15th - 17th November. There will be a guitar trio concert on the Saturday evening given by Raymond Burley, Arne Brattland and Debbie Adamson.

updated: 5 years ago

New ABRSM Guitar Exam Syllabus

New ABRSM Guitar Exam Syllabus
The ABRSM guitar syllabus from 2019 onwards has just been announced and I'm pleased to say it features several of my Schott editions:

Grade 6, List A: SANZ, Canarios
Grade 7, List A: SANZ, Pavanas and SEIXAS: Sonata no.5 in D

DipABRSM Diploma
BARRIOS: La Catedral and Vals op.8, no.4
DOWLAND: The Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Essex, his Galliard
SOLER: Sonata in E minor R.118
WEISS: Capricio in D and Tombeau sur la Mort de Mur. Comte d'Logy

LRSM Diploma
SCARLATTI: Sonata in D kp.480 and Sonata in D kp.491
WEISS: Fantasie in C minor and Passagaille in D

updated: 5 years ago

John Duarte Centenary Concert

John Duarte Centenary Concert
The composer, teacher and critic John (Jack) Duarte was born in 1919 and died in 2004.

A concert celebrating what would have been his 100th birthday is being held on 2nd October next year at Kings Place in London. I have been asked to contribute to this important event. One of the pieces I'll be playing is a recently discovered guitar duet, Bardinerie, originally intended for the legendary duo Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya. I'm assuming Presti died before the piece was completed. On this occasion I'll be performing it with American guitarist Valérie Hartzell.

I was fortunate to perform at Jack's 60th and 70th birthday concerts which were held at Wigmore Hall and also his 80th at Bolivar Hall. I also had the honour of playing at his funeral and following memorial concert. Next year's centenary concert promises to be quite an event.

updated: 6 years ago

Mosaic Editions

Mosaic Editions

I’d like to introduce you to a series of guitar publications, Mosaic Editions. It will feature arrangements for guitar ensemble made by Raymond Burley.

Each edition comprises a full score and parts. The pieces are arranged for standard instruments only.

Payment can be made using PayPal. Each edition has its own page in the Published Music Section where you can see a sample of the music before you purchase and details on how to order.

001: ALBÉNIZ: Capricho Catalán (3 Guitars) £10

002: RAVEL: Pavane pour une Infante Défunte (4 Guitars) £10

003: RAVEL: Pavane pour une Infante Défunte (6 Guitars) £15

004: GRANADOS: Aparicion (2 Guitars) £10

005: SCARLATTI: Sonata K.87 (2 guitars) £10

006: SCARLATTI: Sonata K.87 (4 guitars) £12

007: TELEMANN: Partie Polonoise (2 Guitars) £15

008: GRIEG: Two Pieces - Bondens Sang and Tak (4 Guitars) £10

009: HANDEL: Concerto Grosso op.6, no.1 (8 Guitars) £20

updated: 3 years ago

Free Downloadable Scores

Free Downloadable Scores

One of my main interests is arranging music for the guitar. Over the years I have arranged literally hundreds of pieces for solo guitar, and for virtually every musical combination with which I've been involved - some can be found in the Published Music section of the website. Apart from being a composer there is nothing better than starting with a blank sheet of paper (or more recently, computer screen) making an arrangement and hearing it performed and recorded. I have decided to make available a batch of arrangements by composers from various periods. Go to the Resources section to view and download. There are more pieces to follow shortly. I hope you enjoy them.

Raymond Burley

Update 2nd Dec 2016

Weiss Capricho added

updated: 7 years ago

Astraea Guitar Duo

Astraea Guitar Duo

Photo of Valerie by Mark Rutledge

Raymond Burley
has recently teamed up with American guitarist Valerie Hartzell.

The duo is named after Raymond's guitar. The maker, Philip Woodfield, gives all his instruments female names, Astraea was a Greek goddess of justice and innocence. The duo has recently given concerts in Swindon, Bedford, Oxford and Warrington.

Valerie's biog:
Valerie Hartzell studied with Alexandre Lagoya at the Académie Internationale d'Eté in Nice. She later acquired a Bachelor's degree from Peabody Institute, Baltimore, where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. She has performed in festivals throughout the USA, Europe and Canada. She is a prizewinner in eight international guitar competitions; these include Simone Salmaso in Italy and Concours de Guitare Classique Heitor Villa-Lobos in France. She has recorded two CDs: Ex Tenebris ... Lux and Presti. Valerie Hartzell is the director of the 'Classical Minds' festival held in Houston, Texas. She currently lives in England.

Her website is here:

updated: 8 years ago

Raymond Burley Signature Guitar Electric

I'm pleased to be able to announce that now there is the option of buying the Santos Martinez Raymond Burley Signature Guitar as a plug-in version with a Fishman under bridge transducer. At the moment I'm unsure of what the cost of this will be but more information can be found on the JHS website.

My own signature guitar has a Fishman system, kindly fitted by my good mate Gordon Giltrap. I used it recently during our short Channel Islands tour and I can report that the sound is absolutely amazing. Very highly recommended to those of you looking for a volume boost.

updated: 9 years ago

Raymond Burley Signature Guitar Wins Award

Raymond Burley Signature Guitar Wins Award

Update 22nd Nov

I’m very pleased to announce that the Santos Martinez ‘Raymond Burley Signature Guitar’ recently won the accolade ‘Best Classical Guitar of the Year’. The awards were hosted by MIA (Music Industries Association) in partnership with NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchandise) and sponsored by the British classical music radio station Classic FM.

A celebration dinner was held at the Emirates Stadium in London on Thursday November 22nd; unfortunately I was unable to be there as I had a concert with 4 Parts Guitar in Aldershot that night.

I’m very grateful to Dennis Drumm and staff at JHS for their hard work and dedication in bringing such a fine instrument onto the market and also to my good pal and playing colleague Gordon Giltrap for initially bringing the idea of cloning the Martin Fleeson guitar (the instrument on which the signature guitar is based) to the attention of JHS. The ‘Raymond Burley Signature Guitar’ deserves success and it’s good to have my faith in the instrument confirmed and recognised by the music industry as a whole.

My long standing friends at Ivor Mairants Musicentre, in central London, always carry my signature guitar, which you can see at

UPDATE APRIL 2013 - review on

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updated: 9 years ago


First Course at Missenden Abbey

First Course at Missenden Abbey
2nd - 4th Nov 2012 saw the first of the guitar courses operating at Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire. Having run courses at Urchfont Manor near Devizes, Wiltshire for many years I was just a little apprehensive about the change of venue. Thankfully everything worked out very well. The first noticeable thing was that we were given a much larger space in which to function.

The three large ensemble pieces were a published version of Mendelsohn’s Song Without Words op.19. no.6, plus my arrangements of the Concerto Grosso op.6, no.1 (in five movements) by Handel and Marvin Hamlisch’s Nobody Does it Better from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Never let it be said we don’t offer variety.

The Saturday evening concert was given by flautist Chris Britton and me featuring music by Bach - a selection of pieces from our forthcoming CD.

The Sunday morning Student Concert included the three large ensembles plus works performed by several smaller ensembles.

As always I would like to thank all the participants at this year’s course for their talents and enthusiasm. It would be lovely to see some, or all, of them again at future events; also, of course, the staff at Missenden for helping the weekend to run smoothly.

The next weekend course at Missenden Abbey will be 17th - 19th May 2013. There will also be a summer course there between the dates of 12th - 14th August 2013 and another on 7th - 9th February 2014.

updated: 11 years ago

Announcing A New Weekend Course

Announcing A New Weekend Course

updated: 12 years ago

The Final Urchfont Manor Course

The Final Urchfont Manor Course

The weekend of 23rd – 25th March saw the last guitar course at Urchfont Manor. As usual it was a very enjoyable session even though it was tinged with sadness. I’ve been running courses at Urchfont for a good number of years never imagining it would all come to an end rather suddenly. Wiltshire Council is selling the property very soon although, as yet, a buyer is still to be found.

This time the chosen large group pieces were Mark Houghton’s Passacaglia and Tango, Arne Brattland’s arrangement of a Praeludium by Shostakovich and my arrangement of Vivaldi’s Concerto RV522, originally for two violins. As always, there were smaller ensembles being rehearsed and performed alongside these bigger pieces. All these items were featured in the student concert before lunch on the last day.

The Saturday evening concert featured guitar trios this time, played by Arne Brattland, his wife Debbie Adamson and me. The short programme comprised four pieces by Albéniz: Sous le Palmier, Zambra Granadina, Mallorca and Orientale, a quirky Rondo Amoroso by Norwegian composer Harald Saeverud, Kaleidoscope by Miklos Rozsa and a short Sonata by Poulenc; I blew the dust off my requinto for the Poulenc and Rozsa. The encore was Schumann’s beautiful Traemerei.

This time we had two new faces on the course together the many of the regular participants. I’d like to give a huge thank you to all the players and particularly those that have attended for many years. Your contribution is always hugely valued and attendance never taken for granted.

Although this was the final Urchfont, I hope we can meet again at a different venue before too long.

updated: 12 years ago

Urchfont Manor

Urchfont Manor

Urchfont Manor is situated in the village of Urchfont which is near Devizes in Wiltshire. It is a beautiful house set in 10 acres of parkland that has a history stretching back more than 330 years. Twice per year, in the Spring and Autumn, Raymond Burley runs a weekend course there. A second teacher will also be present; in the past these have included  Cornelius Bruinsma, Chris Kilvington, John Mills, Arne Brattland and John Feeley.

2012 Dates

March: 23rd - 25th

October 26-28th

Unfortunately the October course has been cancelled. Wiltshire County Council has made the decision to sell the house and land; it will cease functioning as a college at the beginning of September. Any students having already paid a deposit for the October guitar course will be refunded.

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The courses are designed for classical guitarists from Grade 4 upwards and concentrate on several forms of ensemble playing: guitar orchestra, quartets, trios and duos. Solos can also be coached if required. The music for the large group work is posted to the students prior to the course.

updated: 9 years ago

Latest News

Santos Martinez  'Raymond Burley' signature guitar

Santos Martinez nbsp039Raymond Burley039 signature guitar
The musical instruments manufacturer and distributor John Hornby Skewes (JHS) is currently cloning my Martin Fleeson guitar in China. They will be producing a 'Raymond Burley' signature guitar in three different models: a spruce top (like the original), a cedar top, and an electro acoustic.
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The original was made for me in 1985; Martin died the following year. After acquiring the instrument I played it continuously for more than 20 years. I would rate it as probably the most versatile guitar I've ever owned. It was used on 16 CDs. Over the years it has been re-fretted twice by Christopher Dean and re-polished once by Roger Williams. Unfortunately it suffered small splits in the front and back from severe US and Canadian winters. The guitar was retired a few years ago. It's an instrument I would never sell - it served me well and is of great sentimental value.

The second prototype of the 'Raymond Burley Signature Guitar' arrived a few days ago and I'm pleased to report that it's everything I hoped it would be - and more. The attention to detail is remarkable and the quality of the chosen woods is superb. The neck shape is itentical to the original guitar and is therefore beautifully comfortable to play. Already the volume and sustain are excellent and, of course, these will only improve further with continued playing. The purchase price of £649.00, which includes a plush hard case, is an absolute bargain.

I will eventually be posting some clips of me playing the guitar on YouTube.

I congratulate Dennis Drumm, Paul Smith and the rest of the team at JHS for their expertise and enthusiasm.

The Santos Martinez Raymond Burley signature guitar is now available from the Ivor Mairants Musicentre, 56 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JT (0207 636 1481). Rathbone Place is situated just off Oxford St. Further information about the guitar can be found on the shop's website:

Click the PDF icon at the bottom of this page for more information.

Below is a batch of photographs of the guitar and case:

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Amplifying a classical guitar can be quite a problem whether it be in an ensemble or a concerto situation. Until fairly recently I'd been amplifying my normal Philip Woodfield concert guitar quite successfully with an AKG 414 microphone. The AKG is a terrific microphone for concert playing or recording but during the recent tour with 4 Parts Guitar I sometimes felt I needed an extra volume boost without the fear of feedback. Dennis Drumm at JHS suggested the Santos Martinez SM650CEA guitar to me.

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I have to say I was more than a little sceptical having used bridge saddle transducers in the past; volume was rarely a problem but quality of sound often suffered, sometimes quite severely. The SM650CEA solved all my problems at a stroke. The balance of sound across the strings is perfect and playability excellent. A well known classical guitarist came to see me after one of the tour gigs and commented that the instrument produced one of the best amplified classical guitar sounds he'd ever heard - this from a guitar costing just £529.00. It's a gem.

This great article appeared in the October 11 issue of Acoustic Magazine. If you are having trouble reading it, please click the icon at the bottom of the page.

The Dec 2011 edition carried a full page picture and a 2 page review ( below ) of the guitar rating it 4/5 for build and sound quality. For a more detailed view click the icon at the bottom of the page.

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updated: 9 years ago

Concert reviews

Future Talent 2nd July 2011

Future Talent 2nd July 2011
On 2nd July a concert involving 12 guitarists was staged at the lovely Methodist Church in Witney, the proceeds going to the Duchess of Kent's charity 'Future Talent'. As with the majority of these events rehearsal took place on the day of the performance and I'm pleased (perhaps relieved) to say that it all came together brilliantly. I'd like thank the players for giving their time and talents: Steve Christmas, Arne Brattland, Debbie Haeck, Gary Jordan, Andrew Stanton, Roger Green, Orshi Pataki, Mike Hinchliff, Richard Butters, David Pedder and Shaun Kennedy. If you've just counted them, I was the twelfth player.

The programme comprised: Guimaraes: 'Grauna' (Ray B), Vivaldi: 'Concerto' RV532 (AB and Ray B soloists), Ivan Andrews 'Suite, Berkshire Bytes' (RB, GJ, DH, MH, RG and OP), Handel: 'Concerto Grosso' op.6, no.1 (group), Sor: 'L'Encouragement' (AB and Ray B), van der Staak: 'Concertino III' (Ray B soloist), Albeniz: 'Zambra Granadina' (AB, DP and Ray B), Mark Houghton: 'The Storm' (group), Jenkins: 'Palladio' (group). The encore given was Lennon and McCartney: 'Eleanor Rigby' (group).

Another multi-guitar event for 'Future Talent' will be held at the same venue on Saturday 28th April next year.  

updated: 13 years ago

Three Parts Guitar Tewkesbury 24th Sept 2009

Three Parts Guitar Tewkesbury 24th Sept 2009
The following review appeared in the Gloucestershire Echo shortly after the 'Three Parts Guitar' gig in the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury last September.

Friday 25th September 2009

If people could go to Three Parts Guitar concerts on the NHS, doctors would never need to prescribe anti depression drugs again.

Those of us in the almost capacity audience at the Roses, Tewkesbury were treated to an uplifting and joyful celebration of wonderful guitar music played by three seasoned virtuosi.

Gordon Giltrap opened the show with a clutch of tunes from his vast back catalogue, played in the inimitable style he once described himself as "fast strumming with twiddly bits in between".

GG then made way for Raymond Burley, a classical player from the top drawer who delivered pieces by Bach and Villa-Lobos with impeccable precision.

GG and RB have been performing together on an occasional basis for the past seven years and demonstrated how their different techniques have been moulded to complement one another.

When playing solo, GG attacks a tune with Pete Townsend-like ferocity. But when RB joins him, draping delicate melodic lines over the robust foundation laid by GG's fret work, the result is softened; something like rock meets Baroque.

After the interval John Etheridge took the stage for a solo set that illustrated why he is widely regarded as one of the foremost all-round players.
His music career includes playing lead guitar with the freeform jazz-rock band Soft Machine, a spell with Stephane Grappelli performing the parts Django Reinhardt used to play, plus session work with everyone from Barney Kessel to Sting.

JE's solo set provided a taster of these eclectic accomplishments, a high spot of the evening being his finger style rendition of the jazz standard Stormy Weather played on a Telecaster fitted with the bottom two strings from a bass guitar.

The three players came together for the final section of the show, by which time the audience was so enthusiastic Raymond Burley received a round of applause for blowing his nose.

Plainly the guys hadn't spent too much rehearsal time on their trio set, which simply meant it was even more fresh and inventive than it might otherwise have been.

The audience enjoyed the banter between the three, the one-liners and Mr Giltrap's splendid anecdotes almost as much as the music.

This was a hugely enjoyable evening of the kind for which the Roses provides the perfect venue – big enough to create atmosphere, small enough to feel at one with the performers.

If you get the chance to see these guys, do it. You'll still be smiling next day.

Robin Brooks

For those of us fortunate to be at the wonderful 'Three Parts Guitar' concert at the Birmingham Town Hall in 2008, news of the mini-tour with the same line-up of Ray Burley, John Etheridge and Gordon Giltrap was greeted with great pleasure.

I'm very conscious that this review of the first concert of three will probably be published before the second and third have taken place and I don't want to spoil the anticipation for those attending those concerts by explaining in detail what you're going to hear. So here goes on a fairly general appreciation…

After a slightly wobbly start while the soundman quickly got his various knobs, buttons and faders properly under control, we all relaxed into an increasing sense of delight at what we were hearing. An all-too-brief solo set from Gordon was followed by every possible combination of solo, duo and trio playing. Ray was at his meticulous best with wonderfully musical interpretations of some great classical pieces; John's versatility was once again plain to hear and Gordon was clearly revelling in playing with superb musicians who are obviously all great friends.

The highlight for me was the encore where my very favourite piece of Gordon's music was given the multi-layered Burley, Etheridge and Giltrap treatment.

I guess my feelings can be summed up by my response to Gordon after the concert. "Was it OK?" he asked. "I'm ready now to go to heaven", I replied!

If you haven't yet booked your tickets to the other two concerts for the 'Three Parts Guitar' tour I'd encourage you to do so without delay. Oh, and if you attend, make sure you keep clapping at the end - that way you'll hear the wonderful encore!

Mike Stranks, Oxford

You can see a gallery of Mike's photos here

updated: 14 years ago

Latest News

Exclusive Private Events

Exclusive Private Events
Classical guitarist Raymond Burley has decided to make himself available for a limited number of Exclusive Private Events.

Raymond welcomes opportunities to perform music in less formal settings and is available, by special arrangement, to play for exclusive private parties, recitals for soirées and corporate events. He is available to perform throughout the UK and abroad.
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For more information on how you can have one of England's premier classical guitarists perform just for you, please see the Private Performances page.

updated: 9 years ago

Concert reviews

Three Parts Guitar at Birmingham Town Hall 2008

Three Parts Guitar at Birmingham Town Hall 2008

Photo © Lee Wilkinson

'Three Parts Guitar' with Rick Wakeman.

Concerts come and go and are not always remembered for the right reasons: examples being: an audience member fainting in Phoenix, Arizona, a broken guitar string, or even a noisy drunk making a nuisance of himself in the middle of the Bach 'Prelude, Fugue and Allegro' in Frankfurt! Happily our concert in the recently refurbished Birmingham Town Hall will be remembered for all the right reasons.

As we're all very busy with our own projects the majority of preparation took place via the telephone and email. Gordon and I planned the format of the evening a month or so ago.

After the concert several people asked how much rehearsal time we'd had together – I had to admit that this all took place on the day! Gordon and I have been working closely together for the last six years so our duo items ('A Christmas Carol' and 'Tears of Joy') were already pretty well played in. John Etheridge and I ran through our duo piece 'Places Between' a couple of times. We'd played this together several times during a 'Three Parts Guitar' tour at the end of last year so it was just refreshing the memory. My main concern was the two group pieces that closed the evening, Gordon's 'Maddie Goes West' and 'Fast Approaching'. We'd considered busking these two items but instead I decided to put together two basic arrangements. I ran through these with Rick on a piano in the green room during the interval and held my breath from then on - seat of the pants stuff indeed! I needn't have worried; it all came together brilliantly. The audience reception couldn't have been better. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening: playing great music with such good friends in a terrific venue in front of a capacity audience. Heaven!

I'd like to thank Gordon, Rick and John, my lovely wife (and driver!) Siân, our agent Ashley Yeats for supporting the event, Cath and Geoff Olner for doing such a great job with the merchandise, and last - but certainly not least - Sue and Mike Holton for their continued support and great photographs.

Here's to the next time . . .

You can see some of Sue's photos from the night in the Gallery here.
'Three Parts Guitar' - A Review

Surely this must be the concert to end all concerts I thought as I read the news about 'Three Parts Guitar'. You see, as someone who's loved classical guitar since teenage years, enjoyed Gordon Giltrap's music since the mid 70s and whose listening of choice these days is blues and jazz, for me this seemed to have it all. It didn't disappoint.

First up was the ever-affable Mr Giltrap whose genuine man-next-door approach has endeared him to many, even before they've heard a note. But with the first few notes you remember that this isn't your mate in the pub – this is one of the greatest masters of the guitar and the composer of many a rattling good tune. Four Giltrap pieces old and new opened the event, including one currently untitled and commissioned to celebrate Sir Cliff Richard's impending birthday. It seemed to me that the obvious title was 'Congratulations', but apparently the honour of naming it goes to the winner of a competition organised by the Birmingham Cliff Richard Fanclub. When Gordon reached for the electric guitar, knowing looks and smiles were exchanged in the audience. We were right; the evolution of 'The Dodo's Dream' continues, making the piece even more beautiful. Those around me who haven't seen 'Dodo' performed live before were amazed at Gordon's skill, mastery of the instrument and sheer musicianship.

Raymond Burley had the unenviable task of following 'The Dodo', but did the job superbly. He introduced us to pieces by various composers from different countries and no-one would disagree with Gordon's assessment of Ray as "probably the finest classical guitarist in the country". Obviously, not someone as at ease with words as Gordon, Ray let the music speak for itself. His assessment of J S Bach as "The Guv'nor" endeared him to me and his interpretations of one of "The Guv'nor's" works and of other pieces was sublime.

Until this concert John Etheridge was to me a known name, but someone whose music I'd never heard. After Saturday, that's going to change! The range of styles and techniques was huge, with John demonstrating how much at one he is with the guitar. This was music demonstrating warmth, fun, melancholy, power and vibrancy. A spell-binding set which left my emotions a-jangle.

After the interval Gordon was back for the briefest of warm introductions to Rick Wakeman. Music gave way to comedy for a few minutes as Rick found a microphone that fought back and entertained us with a couple of anecdotes from a life of touring. But this was a man who was in the right company. The music and playing was as spell-binding as that which we'd experienced in the first half of the concert, and all interspersed with Mr Wakeman's wry observations. What a character!

The anticipated climax came as all three guitarists returned to the stage for various combinations of duets and trios. Everything was there from their solo sessions, but this time with the added interaction with other players. These were clearly people who respect and trust each other's musicianship and simply enjoy playing with fellow craftsmen. Wonderful renditions of pieces such as 'A Christmas Carol' and 'A Dublin Day' were rounded off by the reappearance of Rick Wakeman for 'Maddy Goes West'. For me this was one of the high spots of the evening as each musician featured in turn. Unsurprisingly, no-one was selfish and the whole really was greater than the sum of the parts.

So how can you sum up a concert as unique and special as this? I'll leave that to a teenage friend of mine who's no slouch at the guitar and keyboard himself. His assessment? "Awesome!" And that says it all.

Mike Stranks, Oxford

It was always going to be a special concert. It did not disappoint.

If you had any pretensions to liking guitar music in almost any of its forms then you had no excuse but to be enthralled. Ray's precision, John's passion and Gordon's consummate mastery, were there to delight and envelope you. And then Rick, living legend, coaxing liquid gold from the Steinway, let you slip and slide to euphoria.

( Alternative poster design by Bob Wilson.)
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Each musician, at the peak of their art, showcasing solo, treating us to some of their, and our, favourites. Gordon, was as engaging as ever. The Fylde, much to our personal delight, kicked off the set with the fullness only the 12 string can give. Leading us through some old favourites, and a work in progress, to a version of Dodo's Dream that seemed that little more ethereal than usual, as the notes soared and faded. Ray taking us musically to the heat of Spain and Brazil, rubbing the imaginary sweat from his brow, carefully coaxing those magic tunes from a guitar too precious to ever put down. With John we were transported straight to Africa, and not a foot could resist that rhythm, and from there to a Blues club, wreathed in coils of smoke. He showed us a new depth to the electric guitar as his tongue hovered at the corner of his mouth in concentration. And Rick, left elbow working overtime, fingers moving faster than one could follow, caused the notes to flow into each other and around us, transporting us to Liverpool and Hampton Court.

Finally, after every combination of guitar duo had surprised and delighted, the 4 played together. "Muddy" goes West, and Fast Approaching were excellent choices. Despite the size of the venue, the 4 musicians managed to make it feel an intimate concert. There was an openness. At times, the cost to the musicians, in terms of nervous energy, could be guessed at. But professionals to a man, their connection with their instruments was magical. Their camaraderie obvious, no more so than when Rick demonstrated the position required for a 'Giltrap waxing'!

And glancing momentarily at our neighbours now and again, revealed an audience in rapt attention, thrilling to every note and anecdote. The only sadness, that it was over too soon, and then, as we stumbled out into the cool evening, the shock of how long it had actually been - time flies when you are having fun!

Thank you all.

Christine & David
A wonderful arena in which to see 4 consummate musicians (and friends) demonstrate their art. The acoustics were marvellous and shows how well the renovation of the Town Hall has been undertaken. Even with the ensemble pieces at the end where 4 different sounds were competing on stage, I could hear each of the four parts clearly.

The programme for the evening rightly kept to a simple plan of 4 solo sections, the audience attention held tightly in each by the pieces selected, leading to a rotation of guitar duets where the individual playing styles and instrument tones blended wonderfully well, and finally a piano and guitar ensemble to round off the evening. "Maddy" was indeed a revelation in its extended form, allowing Gordon to hold it all together with the theme and then giving time to each of Ray, John and Rick to highlight while the others strummed along. A real example of how Gordon's "simple tunes" as he calls them can be adapted to the occasion.

Yes it was over all too soon from the audience's perception (if not the performers' who would be well justified in wanting a breather) but doesn't this just underline what a hugely enjoyable and enthralling performance it was? Well done Gordon, Ray, John and Rick. I wouldn't have missed this for the world.

Colin G
The next tour for Three Parts Guitar will begin at the end of September 2009. Dates and venues will be announced shortly.

updated: 14 years ago


West Dean College

West Dean College

West Dean College is an imposing 19th century flint-faced mansion located in the village of West Dean which near Chichester in West Sussex.

West Dean is a unique community, a creative mix of artists and craftspeople, conservators and restorers, working alongside gardeners, farmers, foresters and builders.

West Dean College is part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in south-east England. The house is set in 6000 acres of parkland. The core of the house was built between 1804-30 for Lord Selsey. William James acquired the estate in 1891 and altered and extended the house.

2010 Dates

Friday 2nd - Monday 5th April

Raymond Burley will be running his next course at West Dean College on Friday 2nd - Monday 5th April 2010. He will play a solo concert during the evening on Saturday 3rd.

The course concentrates mainly on the art of ensemble playing but solo playing can also be catered for.

For further details contact West Dean College
E-mail: Click here
or telephone: 0844 4994408.

updated: 15 years ago