Guitarist and luthier Sérgio Abreu, one of the most respected guitarists in Brazil and the world, died this Thursday (19) at the age of 74. He had been hospitalized with lung problems at Silvestre Hospital in Cosme Velho, south of Rio de Janeiro, since late last year.
Carioca, Abreu was born in 1948 into a family of musicians, his father was a guitarist and his mother an amateur musician. Abreu played his first chords under the tutelage of teacher Monina Tavaro, who soon discovered an extraordinary talent in her student.
Music critic and contributor to Sheet, says Sidney Molina, Abreu was instrumental in his desire to make music as a guitarist. “I was struck by the musical quality and synchronicity of these two brothers. The recordings, especially those of Sérgio as a soloist, have been adored by guitarists around the world and also by orchestras since he played with the English Chamber Orchestra,” he said.
In 1967 Abreu won the most important guitar competition in the world, the ORTF in Paris, France, becoming the youngest person to receive this award. The following year he signed a deal with CBS and released the album The Guitars of Sergio and Eduardo Abreu with his brother Eduardo Abreu, performing pieces by Bach, VillaLobos and Ravel.
During the 1960s, the Abreu duo performed in Europe, Australia and the United States, gaining greater international renown among guitarist duos. The duo released two more albums in 1969 and 1970, but Eduardo decided to quit playing five years later. Sérgio pursued a solo career, recording an LP with pieces by Paganini and Sor and another with soprano Maria Lucia Godoy. In 1982 he began to devote himself exclusively to the art of violin making instrument making.
“He was a very reclusive person, he didn’t like giving lectures or producing other artists. He worked eccentrically in the early hours, locked in his apartment, listening to music, enjoying a good wine and above all serving all people.” said Molina.
Even away from the limelight, Sérgio became an accomplished luthier. His guitars were modeled on a Hermann Hauser instrument from the 1930s. In his workshop in Copacabana, Sérgio prepares about 15 instruments a year, making him one of the most soughtafter professionals by musicians on the international market.