José Luis Merlín

José Luis Merlín

Guitar professor

22 - 29 of July


Born in 1952, José Luis Merlin is now an acclaimed versatile composer, actively concerting virtuoso guitarist, a dedicated teacher with more than half-century experience and an editor!

In September 2014 the City Legislature declared José Luis Merlin Distinguished Personality of the Culture of the City Buenos Aires.

The same year José Luis played an important fund-rising recital  with the flutist Alexandra Syniakova (soloist of National Philharmonics of Ukraine) and a vocal group Musica Quantica in Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014) which was organized by Club de Roma for more than a thousand listeners. The music for the final choir-song "Canción de Agua" was composed by José Luis, the lyrics written by Jorge Drexler - especially for this project.

José Luis Merlin is celebrated for "being a true artist, painting exquisite pictures with the sound, giving a unique coloring and meaning to a single note he plays", "José Luis does not simply dominate his guitar, he lives in a kind of a symbiosis with his instrument". Putting his rich and impeccable technique at the service of soulful expression, at every moment of his performances José Luis keeps the entire attention of his charmed audience, always receiving roaring standing ovations and beautifully sparkling eyes in the end of his concerts.

 From the tender age, the talent of José Luis has been nourished by classical music and with the years has really thrived on Latin American rhythms, which makes compositions of José Luis an inimitable blend of both classic and folklore traditions. 

After his emigration to Spain  from Argentina (which was already the second big resettlement of his family after his grandparents had rescued their lives escaping to Argentina from pogromos of Odessa in 1912), José Luis sublimes the nostalgia into his beautiful and meaningful melodies. He describes the state of an immigrant as an uprooted the tree with the roots hanging loose in the air, - as an allegory for the emotional and inspirational vacuum which he lived soon after moving to Spain.

But "the Magician of the Strings" - how the critics call Merlin, - does not get stuck in negative emotions. According to him, the tree, with the time passing, although still remaining in the air, learns to aliment itself again,  because there are eternal beauties like the Sun and the stars, and eternal values like love and hope which are the same, - no matter where you are...

From this positive perspective, José Luis sees his personal mission as a composer and interpreter in helping people reconnect with their own inner world in a more gentle and friendly manner.

 This person-oriented approach together with the talent and hard work with his teachers (one of whom was a famous Maestro Abel Carlevaro), have enabled the worldwide spreading of Maestro Merlin's music.

His compositions form an integral part of world's famous conservatories' and universities' programs (Royal Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Music Conservatory etc) being played and recorded by a lot of eminent guitarists around the world such as Jasón Vieux (USA), Yang Xuefei (China), Etienne Plasman (Luxemburg), Antigoni Goni (Greece), David Tanenbaum (USA), César Amaro (Uruguay), Michael Nigro (USA), Lisa Schroeder (USA), Thierry Bègin Lamontagne (Canada), Willam Simcoe (USA), Adam Holzman (USA), Wang Zhen (China), Bruce Paine (New Zeland), Gregory Newton (USA), Jan Wouters (Belguim), Máximo Diego Pujol (Argentina), Eduardo Martín (Cuba), Lee Khee Gan (Japan), Eric Cabalo (USA), Danny Shoemaker (USA), Stanley Yates (GB), Elliot Frank, Allar Õunapuu (Estonia), Matthew Hornbeck (USA), Dietmar Oliver Kunzler (Germany), Robert Guthrie (USA), Luis Andrés Campos Yépez (Ecuador), Marcelo Coronel (Argentina), Théan Slabbert, Victor Celis, Nick Montalvo (USA), etc.

 José Luis worked as an orchestrator and arranger with the composer Jorge Drexler, - his former student of Composition, - in performing the soundtrack of the movie "City of Your Final Destination" by James Ivory with Anthony Hopkins as one of the protagonists.

He has made an adaptation for string quintet with guitar, choir and soloists from the opera Orpheus and Euridice by Glück at the request of the company, "The Sea of Puppets" and recorded and distributed on DVD by the label "Sello Autor”.

J.L. Merlin has composed the music for "Water" for the "Expo Zaragoza" (2008) recorded and distributed on DVD by the label "Sello Autor”.

José Luis has also composed the music for children's songs CD "Estaciones que Cantan. Canciones Infantiles" with the poet Cristina Alvarez Puerto.

There are more than 485,000 spontaneously emerged WEB pages in the Internet dedicated to his activities.

Merlin’s biography was published in the Who's Who in Music (London), 14th and later editions, together with the world's most distinguished musicians.

His teaching career is as intense and successful as his composer-interpreter's one: José Luis has been giving  Guitar and Composition classes to multiple students from different countries, including masterclasses by videoconference.

José Luis Merlin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He has been a concert artist, composer and guitar teacher since 1967, as well as a researcher and teacher of instrumental technique. He studied guitar, theory and sol-fa for five years with Vicente Degese, continued for eight years with Abel Carlevaro, and studied harmony, counterpoint, musical form and instrumentation with Leónidas Arnedo (Tchaikovsky Conservatory).

Maestro Merlin has made more than thirty international tours: Mexico, Ireland, Spain, Austria, USA (over 200 concerts), Canada, Cuba, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay. He has given concerts in such renowned halls as the Centro Cultural de la Villa (Madrid, Spain), the United Nations (New York, USA), the Meridian House Who's (Washington, D. C., USA), the Museums of Art in Dallas and Detroit (USA), the Teatro Juan Bravo (Segovia, Spain), the Teatro Nacional Cervantes (Buenos Aires), as well as on public radio and television in Ohio, Michigan, Oregon, California, Texas (USA), and on the international channel of Deutsche Welle (Germany).

He has been invited on five occasions to give classes and lectures at universities in the US and Germany.

José Luis has played as a soloist with the Symphonies of Rosario and San Juan (Argentina), and has performed chamber MUSIC with the following chamber ensembles: Frolov Chamber Orchestra, Cuarteto Sudamericano, Buenos Aires, Sudamérica, Sudamericano, Musicámera, del Plata, and the Grupo Merlin.

He was co-founder and first president of the Association Integración Guitarrística Argentina. He was the founder and Director of the Centro de Estudios Musicales in Buenos Aires (a school of MUSIC for all levels). Formerly, a co-founder and first president of the "Club de la Guitarra" Cultural Association in El Escorial, Spain. José Luis is  also a former Artistic Director and Professor of Escuela TAI in the University Rey Juan Carlos. Since 2012 José Luis has quit all the official positions to be able to dedicate himself to new composition projects, to his students and his concert activities.

José Luis has published more than 12 recordings in USA, Japan, Austria and Argentina.

J.L. Merlin composed the music for a "Travesia, the guitar witness to five centuries", an oratorio for recitative, singing voice, mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (texts by José Tcherkasky) which was highly praised by Abel Carlevaro, Paco de Lucia and many other eminent critics.

José Luis composed works for solo guitar, guitar and violoncello, guitar and string quartet, piano and voice, etc. His works have been published by GSP Publisher (USA), Chanterelle (Germany), Tuscany Publications and Shamrock (Austria) (distributed by Theodore Presser, New York). His publications have received critical acclaim in the music press.

José Luis Merlin has arranged and adapted works by Beethoven, Scarlatti, Bach and Piazzola, and has set to music the poetry of Nicandro Pereyra and Antonio Esteban Agüero.