Happy Birthday Fernando Sor

 Image courtesy of curiosity.com

Image courtesy of curiosity.com

Fernando Sor's Contribution to the Classical Guitar

Fernando Sor was baptized 2/14/1778 in Barcelona, Spain. Sor is a famous guitar virtuoso that was one of the first to play the guitar as a classical instrument. He also wrote one of the first books on playing classical guitar. Sor was involved in music his entire life, and his music is still felt today. 

He was introduced to Italian opera and the guitar when he was a little boy and attended a choir school in Barcelona. In 1797, he staged his first opera, Il Telemaco nell’isola de Calipso (“Telemachus on the Island of Calypso”), and was then supported by the Duchess of Alba until her death.

When Napoleon was busy conquering Europe, Sor was initially sided with Spain. However, once Napoleon entered Spain in 1808 and won, Sor switched sides and took up a post with the French government. Once Napoleon eventually lost in 1813, Sor fled Spain for France and remained in exile for the rest of his life.

While in exile, Sor began playing guitar. He moved to London in 1815 and remained there until 1823, and began to write music inexhaustibly, producing many works. He eventually moved back to Paris in 1826, but it was in 1830 that he produced his first book Method for the Spanish Guitar. This book is a book of 30 studies and is considered a major contribution to the classical guitar genre. 

Of course, it was Andres Segovia that revived interest in the classical guitar and in musicians like Fernando Sor. And although Sor had hundreds of compositions in operas, ballets, voice, and piano, he is mostly remembered for his contribution to the classical guitar. 

On this Valentine’s Day, we would also like to wish a Happy Birthday to Fernando Sor and are grateful for the volume of work that he left us with.


Eric Henderson plays a beautiful rendition of Estudio #5 (among many others found in the article above) by Fernando Sor. You can download and listen to it here.

Eric Henderson & William Sigismondi for the first time in concert together in Laguna Beach on March 24th, 2018. Get your tickets here.

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