Praised for his lyrical voice and ebullient virtuosity, Paulo Martelli is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in Brazil today. A gifted performer, he has appeared frequently in concerts, master classes and on television, displaying both remarkable facility and astute interpretation. He is also a dedicated scholar and pedagogue, and through his efforts has become one of the leading proponents of the classical guitar in Brazil.
A native of Brazil, Mr. Martelli began studying guitar at the age of 10 under the guidance of Francisco Brasilino and Henrique Pinto. Later studies with friend and mentor Sergio Abreu instilled in him great respect for the tradition and repertoire of the guitar, to which he tirelessly dedicated himself. As a youth Mr. Martelli received many prizes and honors, including awards in the prestigious Young Artist Competition, the Villa-Lobos Competition, and the First Mozarteum University Scholarship Competition. After graduating with honors from the University in 1989, he immediately assumed a professorship at the Ribeirão Preto University in São Paulo where he taught for several years.
In 1993, Mr. Martelli left his professorship to pursue his studies of the guitar abroad at the Juilliard School in New York City. He made his New York debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in 1995, and in the same year released his self-titled first album, for which he received critical acclaim throughout Europe, the Americas and Japan. A recipient of the Jeremy Green Scholarship, Mr. Martelli completed his Master’s Degree at the Juilliard School in 1997. Upon his graduation from Juilliard, Mr. Martelli returned to Brazil where he has since toured extensively as a solo artist and with Brazil’s greatest orchestras. In addition to his achievements as a musician, Mr. Martelli has distinguished himself as a teacher and scholar. Throughout the U.S. and Brazil he has sought to educate a new generation of guitarists through master classes and private instruction. In 1999 in recognition of his deep commitment to music education, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture awarded him the “Virtuoso” scholarship with which he has begun studies in notational tablature systems at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2000 he was also awarded the Andrés Segovia Award by the Manhattan School.
Mr. Martelli’s latest recording, Roots, is an homage to his South American heritage and an embodiment of his commitment to musical research. Featured are some well-known and not-so-well-known works by fellow countrymen Egberto Gismonti, Radamés Gnattali, Paulo Bellinati and GeraldoVespar, as well as Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla and Paraguayan guitarist Augustin Barrios. Michael Lorimer writes of Roots “. Paulo Martelli brilliantly and sensitively performs a fascinating, well-formed program of exquisite South American repertoire.”