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Profile – Harold Gretton

Harold Gretton began playing guitar at the age of 7. He completed his Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music under the guidance of Timothy Kain with first-class honours in 2006. He completed a Ph.D at the ANU School of Music in 2010, and in that year began a “Cour de spécialisation” in duo with his guitarist wife Véronique van Durling at the Strasbourg conservatory, studying with the Duo Melis.

Harold has won numerous national and international competitions: in Bratislava (2010), Vienna (2007), Cordoba (2007), Coria (2008), Transylvania (2008), Sernancelhe (2008) and Lagonegro (2006). He was awarded second prize in competitions in Tokyo (2008) and Gisborne (2005). He has also won numerous first prizes in the open guitar sections of Australian national eisteddfods and competitions.

He has been invited to perform concerts in guitar festivals all over Europe, from Portugal and Spain to Greece and Romania. He has also performed concerts in Miami and Ho Chi Minh City and all over Australia. He enjoys playing a mixed program of both new music, including Australian works, and older classics. He has a special interest in music from the 19th Century and performs regularly on a guitar built in 1835 by Louis Panormo.

His début CD – The 20th Century Guitar, comprising works by Berio, José, Duarte and Edwards, is available for sale on his website –

Harold has been invited to perform as soloist with different orchestras, including the Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and the ANU school of music orchestra. He has performed concertos by Rodrigo, Ponce, Brouwer, Giuliani, Vivaldi, and Dodgson, and was honoured to play the first performance of a concerto by eminent Australian composer Nigel Westlake, under the composer’s baton.

Harold composes, with an always increasing folio of works mainly for guitar in mixed chamber music ensembles. His works have been performed live on Australian national radio and have been recorded.

A dedicated pedagogue, Harold teaches privately in Strasbourg and at the Insitut Musical de Saint-Louis, where he also directs two guitar orchestras. He has given masterclasses in numerous festivals.


“He extracted fire from his guitar without apparent effort.” Peter Casey, of Harold’s performance of Nigel Westlake’s Shadow Dances

“He combines excellent technique with emotional insight.” Fred Blanks, of Harold’s performance at the Sydney Guitar Society summer school.

“Absolutely amazing … [he] mesmerised the audience with his playing. Everyone listened in awe during his Concerto de Aranjuez and the olés and standing ovation were well deserved.” Lynn Mills, of Harold’s performance at the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Proms concert.

“Impeccable facility, wonderful control and a marvelous palette of colour underpinned this most enjoyable performance … I was enraptured.” Bernard Hickey, of Harold’s performance in the Sydney Classical Guitar Society concert series 2008.

“[His guitar] sang the music of angels.” Domenic Mico, Canberra Times (November 2004).

“[g]lowing, expressive guitar-playing.” Bill Stephens, Artlook (October 2004)

“Den Charakter der unterschiedlichen Sätze [von 5 Legnani Capricen] arbeitete er dabei genauso stilsicher heraus wie die unglaublicher Klangfarbenpalette die er auf seinem Instrument zaubert … technischen Meisterschaft und klanglichen Raffinesse.” Guido Krawinkel, General-Anzeiger (16. November 2011).

“The character of the different parts (of the 5 Legnani Caprices) were stylistically self-assured and featured the unbelievable palette of colours that he conjured up on his instrument … technically masterful and with a refined tone.”