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Harry Volpe

Harry Volpe (1906 - 1995) was a pioneer of the guitar before that phrase was coined. He was an established teacher, studio and recording musician in New York already in the 1920's and 1930's. He was the first guitarist selected to the Radio City Music Hall staff where he was a featured soloist.

A prolific composer, Harry Volpe wrote several pieces for the guitar including his interpretation of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# Minor. Among his other compositions are Volpette, June Memories, Two Guitars and Marreqita. The early guitar duets he penned and recorded with Frank Victor in 1936 remain classics of the guitar duet form.

Some of his teaching materials are still available through Mel Bay Publications.

For many years Harry Volpe ran a music store in New York where he offered lessons to the young guitarists seeking their fortunes as jazz guitarists. Among his students were Johnny Smith, Sal Salvador and Joe Pass.

Although his playing was not purely in the jazz idiom, Harry Volpe remains a significant figure in the history of jazz guitar if for no other reason than that he played with and taught some of the best guitarists of the last century.

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