“Exceptional artistry.” –The New Yorker
“Unique clarity and controlled passion . . . [Bach’s] French Suite had a soaring dignity. But the guitarist is also expanding his repertory, and his current work-in-progress focuses on newly transcribed Impressionist music. As he commented Sunday, ‘Composers who stress suggestion fit most comfortably on the instrument.’ He proved his point with his fascinating new take on Debussy's ‘Children's Corner,’ making the piano piece sing on guitar, as if it belonged there, all dreamily rippling textures and lucid, tender spirit.” —Los Angeles Times
“Galbraith . . . showed just how gorgeously the guitar can sing . . . Galbraith’s satiny smooth technique . . . conjure(d) both the solid ring of the harpsichord and the breathy sweetness of the flute, spun out with a vocal agility, a rainbow range of tonal colors and textures. Galbraith consistently sustained voicing of intense purity, crispness of ornamentation and jewellike sonorities. At the same time, he preserved the finger-to-string textures that are so integral a part of the guitar’s dynamic expression.” —The Oregonian
“The highlight of his recital . . . was a gracefully phrased, beautifully balanced account of Haydn’s Piano Sonata No.46 . . . (His guitar’s) sonic benefits include a deep, almost lutelike bass sound and a more general lushness throughout the instrument’s range . . . Mr. Galbraith also gave clean, texturally transparent accounts of Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro and the Second Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin. His ornaments had a keyboardlike crispness, and in the fugues of both works he kept the individual musical strands nicely separated. He also brought imagination and coloristic variety to two Greek works . . .” –The New York Times
“To say that Paul Galbraith is a legend in classic guitar circles is only a partial truth. It’s a question of tools: The virtuosic Mr. Galbraith is also a rebel on the fringes in that he doesn’t play the same classical guitar in common usage . . . To hear him play [his 8-string guitar cello-style] live and up close as in the compelling intimacy of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's auditorium on Thursday, Mr. Galbraith's music comes alive in a special way . . . the performance in this small chamber verged on an epiphany . . . [Bach’s] ‘French Suite No. 2’ . . . [was] teeming with life and variation . . . an arrangement of Debussy's entrancing piano piece ‘Children's Corner,’ reminded us that Debussy's music is too rarely tapped in the classical guitar world . . . Granados' ‘Valses Poeticos’ was treated with a piano-like independence of articulated lines, its emotional tenor shifting amiably from jubilant to reflective, but always sophisticated and melody-driven . . . Another rarity this night, ironically enough, was guitar music by French composer Jacques Ibert, the brisk and flavorful ‘Ariette’ and the moody ‘Francaise.’ These works were actually written for the guitar, but are seldom played by guitarists, partly because of their difficulty. Mr. Galbraith's eight string dexterity and sense of adventure to the rescue . . . A transcription of Grieg's ‘Melody,’ by the late guitar icon Andres Segovia, ended a brilliant recital.” —Santa Barbara News-Press
“A sense of excitement and curiosity prevailed among the gathering crowd [at Paul Galbraith’s New York début at the Frick Collection] . . . After all, there was much to anticipate . . . From the beginning . . . it was clear that Mr. Galbraith’s technique was not a gimmick, but a tool to create music. His phrasing was superbly clear and executed with ease . . . Of particular note were his unbelabored trills, which possessed fluidity and sparkle, seeming to float on top of the music . . . Playing the faster movements [of Skalkottas’ Sonata Op.1] with a dazzling ferocity and the slower ones with an introspective, thoughtful elegance was a showcase for Paul Galbraith’s ability both as a guitarist and as a musician. . . The different textures [in Haydn’s Keyboard Sonata No.46] as well as the ambitious modulations were performed with an ease that might not have been possible on a standard guitar. In fact, at times the voices were so clearly defined that it sounded as though a keyboardist were playing . . . a memorable and musically convincing concert.” –Guitar Review
“Dexterity is not the half of it; the man is an extraordinary musician. His performance of the Vivaldi Concerto in D major [with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra] made familiar music uncommonly tender and uncommonly clear.” –San Jose Mercury News
“Sitting in a shaft of light in a pitch-black concert hall, Galbraith glowed with dexterity and genius . . . one of the premier living classic guitarists . . . he chose for each note a particular dynamic and intention. His technique was simply awesome. An audience that sat rapt for two hours under Galbraith’s spell demanded an encore.” –The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
“Pure magic . . . Two short pieces by John Dowland were long enough to refocus one’s attention on Galbraith’s incredible soft dynamics . . . Even more revelatory was Galbraith’s transcription of Haydn’s Sonata for Keyboard No.46. The transparency of Galbraith’s playing opened up new aspects of Haydn’s classicism; even so routine a technique as parallel thirds took on a new freshness. If Galbraith’s arrangement and playing didn’t exceed the range of Haydn’s keyboard original, it certainly surpassed it in beauty.” –Santa Barbara News-Press
“Worth travelling long distances to hear.” –The Guardian (U.K.)
“It is not too often that a solo instrumental recital confounds one’s expectations, both visually and aurally, but that is exactly what Paul Galbraith’s recital achieved . . . an unprecedented richness of sound and clarity, enabling the smallest pianissimo to emerge clearly . . . his clear articulation of contrapuntal lines in three Dowland Fantasias and J.S. Bach’s Sonata No.2 for Violin Solo BWV 1003 was exemplary. This player’s control (and wide application) of tone colour was fully revealed in an exquisite reading of Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob. 46 . . . an uncommonly intimate and musically stimulating evening." –Birmingham Post (U.K.)
“Galbraith achieved a considerable feat in both transcribing and committing to memory Bach's six solo Sonatas and Partitas, and went on to play them with a real sense of having something to communicate in the music, rather than simply technical virtuosity . . . a luscious augmentation of instrumental sonority and colour made this concert a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Both Galbraith and his instrument have the potential to do remarkable things.” –Glasgow Herald
“He produced music of unusual color, richness and virtuosity.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“To wind up Piccolo Spoleto’s Fretwork series, Paul Galbraith performed a virtuoso guitar concert that held the sold-out audience in hushed concentration . . . extreme beauty of tone . . . at the end of the concert, audience members were lining up to buy a CD of his music.” –Charleston (SC) Post and Courier
“What many had come to see and hear was the revolutionary change he has brought to playing the guitar . . . the results were truly remarkable, with an amazing clarity and a huge dynamic range I have never before heard from any guitarist. The audience was held spellbound.” –The Sunday Times (London)
“He has not only mastered his instrument technically but has the ability to gain access into its inner mysteries.” –Classical Guitar
“Paul Galbraith has something near genius.” –Classical Music
“On Tuesday evening in the Grand Hall I fell in love with a combination of artist, instrument and music. Pianissimos of the lightest delicacy contrasted with moments of almost awesome power. I've never heard anyone play like this. Galbraith seemed to have transcended technique and established a personal connection with an inner source allowing the music to communicate amazingly directly. Everything sounded like a masterpiece that evening.” –Classical Guitar
“His musicality is so 'authentic' that every note carries the hallmark of truth and academic notions of scholarship became superfluous. He held his audience in rapt silence as if spellbound by some magician.” –The Scotsman
Paul Galbraith’s recording of the Complete Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas (Delos) was nominated for a GRAMMY AWARD in the category of Best Solo Instrumental Album. This 2-CD set was also chosen as one of the two best CDs of 1998 by Gramophone Magazine, which called it “a landmark in the history of guitar recordings.” It received a “Four Star” rating in Stereo Review, and reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s classical charts.
Galbraith gave a nationally-televised closing-night performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez at the Scottish Proms with the BBC Scottish Orchestra. He was invited by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to perform a special “Tribute to Glenn Gould” concert for Canada-wide broadcast at the Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the great pianist’s death. Galbraith has been featured twice on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and numerous times on “Performance Today.”
Galbraith's unique playing position was first revealed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1989. His guitar is supported by a metal endpin, similar to that of a cello, which rests on a wooden resonance box. The instrument has two extra strings, one high, one low. Both the guitar's extraordinary design and Galbraith’s playing style are considered groundbreaking development in the history of the instrument, increasing its range to an unprecedented extent.
Galbraith made his New York début at the Frick Collection, receiving a rave review in the New York Times; a subsequent NYC engagement on Lincoln Center’s “Great Performances” series was sold out, and he has given solo performances three times at the 92nd Street Y. Recent and forthcoming North American recitals include NYC, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portland, Seattle, Miami, Baltimore, Buffalo, Milwaukee, San Antonio, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Cuernavaca (Mexico). In addition, recitals in Geneva, Basel, and Moscow, and tours of the UK, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Israel and Turkey are among Mr. Galbraith’s international activities. He has performed at numerous Bach festivals, including those of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver and Carmel.
At the age of 17, Galbraith won the Silver Medal at the Segovia International Guitar Competition. Andrés Segovia, who was present, called his playing "magnificent." This award helped launch an international career including engagements with some of the finest orchestras in Britain and Europe (Royal Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Orchestra, Scottish Baroque Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra among them). He toured the U.S. as soloist with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and performed in Prague’s Dvorák Hall with the National Chamber Orchestra of Chile.
Born in Scotland and now residing in Basel, Switzerland, Galbraith has lived in Malawi, Greece, London and Brazil. He currently teaches at the Musik-Akademie Basel, and was a Visiting Professor at Columbus State University (Georgia) Schwob School of Music in 2014. Most recently he given recitals in New York City (92nd Street Y), Salt Lake City; Memphis; Vienna, Austria; Cambridge, England; and in Spain, Italy, China and South Korea.