Gaëlle Solal, a French classical guitarist now based in Belgium, began playing the guitar at the age of five and studied at the Marseille Conservatoire from age six. She later attended the Paris Conservatoire and won several international competitions while studying for her master's degree in Cologne. In 1998, she became the first French female musician to win the City of Alessandria Competition. She later taught at the Conservatories of Córdoba and Seville while continuing her own studies.
In 2006, she resumed her solo performing career, winning second prize in the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Competition and has since performed in over forty countries. Solal is also the founder of the Guitar'Elles association and recently became a visiting lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent.
“Her playing is by turns passionate, driven, soulful, moody, or dark, depending on the needs of whatever she’s playing at the moment. ” Tom Poore, Classical guitarist
"Winner of the Alessandria Competition, French guitar virtuosa Gaëlle Solal delivers a buoyant, heart-filled, Villa-Lobos-based programme " Eudora Records
"Guitarist of extraordinary passion and virtuosity," San Francisco Conservatory of Music
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Concerto. Heitor Villa-Lobos
Concierto del Sur. Manuel Maria Ponce
Concerto Saci Pererê . Clarice Assad
Fantasia para un gentilhombre. Joaquin Rodrigo
Concierto de Aranjuez. Joaquin Rodrigo
Concierto Tres Gráficos. Maurice Ohana
Concerto en Ré. Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco
Born into a music-loving family, Gaëlle Solal discovered the classical guitar at the age of five and began studying at the Marseille Conservatoire the following year. At just sixteen she took up a place at the Paris Conservatoire. As a little girl she’d written in a notebook, “When I grow up, I want to be a dancer and musician” – so some dreams do indeed come true...
Three years later she graduated from the Conservatoire, earning a Honors Degree and a renewed desire to keep learning. Fun-loving, ambitious, and keen not to let any new challenge pass her by, she took part in international competitions while studying for her master’s degree at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. In 1998, she became the first female French musician to win one of the world’s leading classical guitar competitions – the City of Alessandria Competition. As well as being awarded grants and bursaries by numerous foundations, she also won twelve prizes in other national and international competitions.
In the early 2000s, Solal moved to Andalusia and began a seven-year teaching career, obtaining professorships at the Conservatories of Córdoba and Seville. During this period, she continued her own studies, attending masterclasses around the world. In 2006, after ten years as half of the Astor Duo, she resumed her solo performing career – soon after this she won second prize in the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Competition and went on to perform at prestigious venues in more than forty different countries, as recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral soloist.
In 2009, an impromptu trip to Brazil led to her career taking a new turn. Back in Europe, she gave up teaching to dedicate herself full-time to her boundless love for performing. A devotee of freedom rather than dogma, Gaëlle Solal is able to move seamlessly from serious, formal solo performances to comic duets with her Crazy Nails duo partner Boris Gaquere, from Bach to The Beatles, from contemporary music to the Baroque.
A committed and supportive professional, she campaigns for the presence and visibility of women in the guitar world via the Guitar’Elles association, of which she is the founder. She has lived in Brussels since 2011 and was recently appointed visiting lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent.