Chris Dumigan Born in 1951, in Urmston, Manchester, music has always been a part of his life from a very early age. Chris, who began playing the guitar at 11 in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of Hank Marvin of the Shadows, like so many of his generation, also learned classical guitar at the same time. Because the Shadows’ music was not at that time available, he began taking the music off the records, armed with a good ear and his recently learned knowledge of the structure of musical harmony, a talent that proved very useful in his adult years
He was always composing music, albeit firstly pseudo-Shadows instrumentals, and then singer-songwriter material when he became part of that tradition in his early 20s. He still has over 140 songs and two fully blown musicals of that ilk to his credit, Stag and Marilyn, both of which achieved considerable success in their day, albeit in an amateur capacity, via Genesis Theatre, a local group who revelled in performing rock musicals which had never previously been attempted, and whose performances included Tommy, Hair, Demolition Man, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
Playing and writing for classical guitar has always gone on in between the other music, but really took off in the early 80s when the theatre group split up and the singer-songwriter idea lost its appeal for him. He then reverted to writing and arranging for classical guitar. It was at this time that he had the idea of transcribing the recorded works of Barrios, the famous Paraguayan guitar performer – composer, who made nearly sixty 78rpm recordings but never managed to write them down himself. It took Chris three years of his spare time to write them all down, and they eventually saw the light of day as "The Barrios Anniversary Edition" This was the first edition to publish the complete transcriptions of Barrios
Since then, he has carried on composing a large number of works for classical guitar, which all remained unplayed in a professional capacity until 1996 when Paul Gregory came to play at the Manchester Guitar Circle and asked Chris for a set of pieces that quoted folk songs as their basis. The end result was ‘A Garland of Grainger’ which Paul Gregory gave the premiere of the following spring at the Brighton Festival, and which continues to be in his repertoire today Paul subsequently produced a solo CD recording called ‘Homages’ which included the ‘Garland’ on it.
After that, several collaborations occurred, between Chris and Paul, who is a lover of chamber works involving the guitar asked Chris each time for works of different combinations of instruments with the guitar. Since then other players, including Craig Ogden, the famous Australian performer, whose playing was included in the ‘Notting Hill film soundtrack, Valerie Hartzell, TrioConBrio, Shuko Shibata, Galina Vale and Scott Bradley have played his original works, and Karin Schaupp Phillipe Lemaigre and Neil Smith have played his Barrios transcriptions. His other guitar-based works are published in over 50 volumes by Berben, Les Productions D’Oz, Haus Trekel and Lathkill Music, and Chris’ website www.chrisdumigan.co.uk tells you everything about all his writings.
If this was not enough, after reviewing for more than two decades for the now-defunct Classical Guitar magazine, he has recently set up www.allclassicalguitar.co.uk, which is purely for his reviews of sheet music and recordings of the classical guitar and lute as he found to his astonishment that there was almost nowhere to see these reviews anymore, and he felt that such a service should be available not only to the publishers but also to the players who want to keep abreast of the constant flow of new music being made available. So he set the site up and it is now there for all to see and read. He played for years in an acoustic instrumental cross over a group called ‘Acoustic Moods’ for which he was the prime composer and arranger, and is still in considerable demand as a transcriber. As such he is regularly asked to transfer to the manuscript, recorded guitar works that have never been printed by a growing number of players.
His other musical activities include a large batch of private guitar teaching and playing classical guitar at various functions including private parties, wedding receptions and many other get-togethers where people want some light unobtrusive music as a background to their meal. He has been doing this for more than four decades now and has over five hours of unrepeated material to use on such occasions. Having an ability to make up arrangements on the spot of pieces that people request at such functions, he has amassed 130 of his own solo arrangements of popular material, and has brought out 3 professionally recorded CDs of them, called ‘Making Arrangements’ Further Arrangements ‘ and ‘Alternative Arrangements ‘. Moreover, twenty of them are published in manuscript by Lathkill Music as ‘Ten Popular Songs’ Volumes 1 and 2. He has also arranged for 2 guitars many works including ones by Faure. Debussy, Bartok, Ravel, and Grieg including the complete 66 Lyric Pieces, originally published for Piano in 10 books
On a personal note, Chris has been married to Heather for 37 years and they have four children, Alexander, 35 Kyle, 33, Jessica 29 and Felicity 18.
LIST OF GUITAR / LUTE COMPOSITIONS
Summer Days - A Set of three pieces for solo guitar Haus Trekel 1973