Frank Bungarten holds a special position
amongst concert guitarists of today. On the one hand,
through his artistic stance, he belongs to the 'Old School',
loyal to original works and uncompromising in his search for
truth in music. On the other hand, wide and sustained
success has brought him recognition far beyond the confines
of the 'guitar world'.
Born in 1958, he decided to take up the
guitar in the 1960s, influenced by the rock music of the
time. Some of his first teachers, among them the Paraguayan
virtuoso Carlos Baez, encouraged him at the age of
seventeen, before he had finished high school, to enrol in a
course of concert class studies at the Academy of Music in
After several years of study under Prof. Karl
Heinz-Böttner and Hubert Käppel and a master course in
Italy with Oscar Ghiglia, he withdrew to mold the
fundamentals of his current style - in his own way.
During the 1970s, he taught himself to play
saxophone and founded the 'free improvisation' band
"Extempore". The group caused quite a stir with
numerous festival performances, radio productions and with
their first LP recorded on the influential avant-garde
Following a second place in the
Bundeshochschulwettbewerb (Federal University Competition)
in 1981, he entered the international scene with a bang in
the same year: doyen Andrés Segovia honoured him with the
first prize at the Guitar Competition of Granada, combined
with an extensive concert tour of Spain.
Immediately following his studies (graduating
with distinction), he commenced his career as a University
lecturer and has been performing as a soloist in almost all
countries throughout Europe and the Americas.
He has played on the most important stages in
the German-speaking world, such as the Berlin Philhamonic,
the Kunst and Kongresshaus Lucerne, the Gasteig Munich, the
Salzburger Festival, the Schwetzinger Musikfestspiele, the
Schleswig Holstein Festival, MDR Musiksommer, the
Niedersächsische Musiktage and numerous guitar festivals
from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia and from Dublin to
His ever-changing concert programmes are
documented by continuous radio productions and live
recordings. He has performed chamber music with a wide range
of partners from the "ensemble modern" to
specialists of 'old music' such as lute player Stephen
Stubbs. Additionally, he regularly plays all major concertos
for guitar and orchestra as a soloist.
For almost two decades, he has made reference
recordings with weighty concept repertoirs on the audiophile
label Musikproduktion Dabringhaus & Grimm, including a
comprehensive interpretation of Bach's solo violin works -
using his own transcriptions. The French audio magazine
Diapason simply wrote, "What we hear is not guitar, not
Bungarten, it is Bach".
In addition to steady recognition by the
music press, his CDs were awarded the "Preis der
Deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (German music critics
award) and the "Audio Reference" (Audio Reference
In 2005 Frank Bungarten was honoured with the
"Echo Klassik" as "Instrumentalist of the
Year" for his CD "Cancion y Danza".
At present he holds chairs at the renowned
University of Music and Theatre in Hanover and at the
Lucerne Academy of Music (Switzerland). Frank Bungarten
conducts regular masterclasses and seminars for an
ever-increasing number of students from all over the world.