Venezuelan composer, guitarist, choral singer and teacher Antonio Lauro was born in Ciudad Bolívar on 3 August 1917. He was influenced as a child by his father, a barber from Italy, who sang and played the guitar. His father died, the family moved to Caracas and Lauro studied at the Academia de Música y Declamación, where Vicente Emilio Sojo was one of his teachers. He was very impressed when he heard Agustín Barrios play guitar in Caracas in 1932, and decided to abandon his violin and piano studies for the guitar. He then studied with Raúl Borges, discovering the classical guitar repertoire and meeting Alirio Díaz, who was largely responsible for popularising Lauro's music.
He composed many guitar pieces, but also wrote music for choir, orchestra, piano and voice which is less well known.
Lauro was a cultural nationalist, touring neighbouring countries to introduce them to Venezuelan music. He also believed in democracy, which landed him in prison in 1948 when the military junta tried to suppress alternative political viewpoints. He continued to compose, even in prison, claiming that this was normal for a Venezuelan of his generation.
Antonio Lauro died in Caracas on 18 April 1986, aged sixty-eight.
CD Spotlight. Clear Melodic Simplicity - Geoff Pearce listens to guitar music by Antonio Lauro. 'I recommend this recording to anyone who loves and appreciates fine classical guitar playing ...'
Ensemble. Intimately Done - Paul Sarcich was at the Echoes Festival's PanAmericana concert, which illustrated the cross-influence between North and South American music