Roland Dyens, French classical guitarist and composer, Died at 61

Roland Dyens was born on October 19, 1955, in Tunis, Tunisia and died on October 29, 2016.

He was a French classical guitarist, composer, and arranger.

Dyens studied the guitar with the Spanish classical guitarist Alberto Ponce and analysis with Désiré Dondeyne.

Roland Dyens won several prizes in competitions for classical guitar performance as well as for composition.

He was known for his extraordinary capacity for improvisation as a performer.

He was mostly unique among classical guitarists, Dyens frequently opened his concerts with an improvised piece, in order to help him get a feel for the hall and the audience.

Roland Dyens’ guitar music draws on many elements of folk music and jazz, and has become popular with players.

The song Tango en Skaï (1985), is one of his best-known pieces, but also widely played is the more extended Libra Sonatine (1986) written in three movements: “India”, “Largo”, “Fuoco”, composed after Dyens had undergone heart surgery.

And Skaï is a French slang term for imitation leather, and here references the Gauchos of Argentina and Southern Brazil who are known for their distinctive leather outfits. Hence Tango en Skaï is a humorous, gaudy take on the tango.

Also to being the most prolific guitar composer of his generation, Dyens also released several volumes of arrangements.

He had ranged from jazz standards to Brazilian folk music, these arrangements have made their way into the repertoire of both professional and amateur guitarists.

He toured extensively; he performed at many music festivals and held master classes at many locations across Europe, the United States and Asia.

Roland Dyens taught at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he was Professor of Guitar.

Roland Dyens passed away at 61 years old.