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Liona Boyd Biography,Career, Awards and Personal life

Liona Boyd Biography

Liona Maria Carolynne Boyd, CM, O.Ont, is a classical guitarist often referred to as the First Lady of Guitar.Se was born 11 July 1949, London. Boyd was born in London but grew up in Toronto. Her father grew up in Bilbao, Spain, and her mother in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Her grandmother was from Linares, Spain, the birthplace of the “king of the classical guitar”, Andrés Segovia. During her family’s ocean voyage to Canada, she performed her first concert in a talent show on the ship. She played “Bluebells of Scotland” on a treble recorder.

When she was thirteen, she was given her first guitar, a Christmas present which her parents bought in Spain seven years earlier. She took lessons from Eli Kassner, Narciso Yepes, Alexandre Lagoya, Julian Bream, and Segovia.Boyd graduated from the University of Toronto in 1972 with a degree in music.

Liona Boyd Career

She performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City ,in 1975, . After the concert, Segovia wrote her a note that said “through your beauty and talent you will conquer the public, philharmonic or not.” During the same year, she toured northern British Columbia and Yukon, paying her dues in front of rough crowds, as she writes autobiography, in the tradition of pop and folk musicians. She also began to tour with Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot.

In the year 1974, Boyd released her debut album, “The Guitar”. It was produced by Eleanor Koldofsky and was released on Boot Records. In 1976, Boyd joined SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, and established her own publishing company, Mid-Continental Music. As at the end of 2016, she had 27 studio albums, live recordings and compilation recordings to her credit and a new album of original songs was planned for release in 2017.

During her career, Boyd has recorded with Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Al Di Meola, Rik Emmett, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Morse, Canadian Brass, André Gagnon, Yo Yo Ma, Frank Mills, Strunz & Farah, Roger Whittaker, and Gheorghe Zamfir.

Liona Boyd Awards and honours

  1. Instrumental Artist of the Year, Juno Awards, five times
  2. Gallery of the Greats, Classical Guitar Player
  3. Classical Guitar Musician of the Year, Guitar Player, five times
  4. Order of Canada
  5. Order of Ontario
  6. Vanier Award
  7. Prix Esprit du Ciècle
Liona Boyd Photo

Liona Boyd Photo

Liona Boyd Personal life

In 1988, Stoddard Publishing of Toronto, Canada published Boyd’s autobiography In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music. In it she revealed her eight-year romance with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1992, Boyd moved to Beverly Hills, California, after marrying John Simon, a real estate developer.

Following a diagnosis of focal dystonia after the release of Camino Latino, Boyd was compelled to change how she plays guitar. She reinvented herself by developing her songwriting and singing skills and playing less demanding guitar arrangements.In August 2017, Dundurn Press reissued Boyd’s first memoir In My Own Key and published her second memoir, No Remedy for Love.

Liona Boyd Video


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