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Augustin Barrios Mangoré
A guitarist of genuine international stature, Agustín Barrios Mangoré was also a composer of works for his instrument, many of which remain in the repertory. He lacked a formal musical education, yet his compositions for guitar reveal a distinguished musical talent. Among his best-known works are La catedral, Danza paraguiaya, Mazurka apasionata and Variations on a Theme of Tárrega.
Born in Paraguay on 5 May 1885, Agustín Barrios (as he was known) studied the guitar with Gustavo Sosa Escalada and composition with Nicolo Pellegrini, honing his skills through a study of the music of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin. In 1910 he embarked on a week of concerts in Argentina, but ended up staying away for 14 years, giving concerts throughout Central and South America. In 1919, as a result of his growing reputation, he performed for the President of Brazil.
In 1930 Agustín Barrios adopted the pseudonym Mangoré (after a famous Guaraní chieftain) and in 1934 went to Europe, returning to South America in 1936. From 1939 to 1944 he taught at the Conservatory in San Salvador, where he died on 7 August 1944.
Barrios Mangoré was considered the Paganini of the guitar world and an equal of his near contemporary, Segovia. As a composer, he combined many of the characteristics of guitar composers Sor and Tárrega, and is said to have written over 300 works, though only a third of these are extant.