Liona Boyd: Born 1949

Most artists don’t publish one autobiography, let alone two, but classical guitarist Liona Boyd’s life is so rich with career milestones, professional achievements, and personal fulfillment that she has filled two volumes, and no doubt will eventually have enough for a third.
She is known as the First Lady of the Guitar, a title she earned through decades of practice and devotion to her instrument. Born in London, she grew up in Toronto and received her first guitar as a Christmas present when she was 13. Boyd studied with master instructors and earned a degree in music from the University of Toronto. She released her debut album, The Guitar, in 1974, and within a year was performing at Carnegie Hall. The world took notice of the young virtuoso; she has toured internationally, performed on stages, television, and in front of royalty, sold millions of albums, and won five Juno awards.

Her success has not been without hardship. She was stricken with musician’s focal dystonia, which affected her right middle finger. For six years, she sought treatments, cures, and rehabilitation. The experience would have felled many, but Boyd is nothing if not passionate and tenacious, and she never gave up. She reinvented her technique and her career, successfully transitioning into a singer/songwriter while still incorporating classical pieces into her ever-growing repertoire.

It is fitting that a prolific author and poet would eventually come to write her own material. Likewise, the genre allows her to share her many interests and causes, among them her concerns about the welfare of our planet and its inhabitants, both human and animal.

Excerpt of interview “Songs in the Key of Love: An Interview with Liona Boyd, Canada’s First Lady of the Guitar” by Alison Richter on Guitar Girl Magazine.

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