In the history of guitar performance, the duo Ida Presti (1924-1967) and Alexandre Lagoya (1929-1999), united in the city and on stage, occupy a very prominent place. The activity of these two instrumentalists covers the period from 1951 to 1967, the last one being the year of Ida Presti's untimely death during a tour of the United States. Certainly this was not the first time that two renowned guitarists had combined their talent to create a guitar duo. But the Duo Presti-Lagoya is undoubtedly the first duo in the history of the instrument to be formed by two soloists of equal notoriety and fully committed to this formation.
Within 15 years Presti and Lagoya will give more than 2000 concerts all over the world and record a dozen records that will become real bestsellers. They are the dedicatees of the main masterpieces composed for guitar duos in the 20th century. Their careers are amazing, the whole world is cheering them on. There is an incredible media craze. They are on all fronts, TSF, Television, the largest theatres in the world.
Ida Presti was born in Suresnes on May 31, 1924, to an Italian mother and a French father. The latter, an amateur accordionist and medium, immediately saw in her the genius and artistic sensitivity that would animate her throughout her life. One evening, while he was attending a concert by Andrés Segovia, a premonitory flash appeared as a matter of course: his daughter would be a guitarist.
In 1932, at the age of 8, Ida performed for the first time in a small group. Two years later, on April 28, 1935, she gave her first major recital in Paris, at the Salle Chopin, where she had a great success.
At the age of 12, she recorded her first records with "Pathé" and played the role of a guitarist in Maurice Cloche's film "Le petit chose".
At 17, she went alone to Indonesia to tour for three months.
After a few difficult years between Nice and Marseille, she took refuge in Allauch and met her first husband. From this union her daughter Elizabeth was born. At the end of the war, she divorced and gradually resumed her career. Success is back on track. And it was in 1951 that she met her alter ego, a young guitarist from Egypt:
At that time, the repertoire for two guitars was relatively poor, but many contemporary composers such as Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Jolivet, Petit, Lesur, or Rodrigo, put themselves to work and wrote scores for this outstanding duo.
The couple travels the world to give performances or masterclasses. Teaching is an important part of the duo's career. The press and the media are quick to tell their nomadic stories. Television interviews, print media, radio, the duo is on all fronts, and their careers are constantly evolving. At the peak of their fame, they embarked on a major tour of the United States in 1967. This tour will be the last one. While they are playing in Saint Louis with the symphony orchestra, Ida is suddenly sick after a concert.
As soon as she arrived, she was immediately transported to the hospital, and died a few hours later.
"I want my life to be simple and straight like an empty reed so that God can fill it up with Music". Ida Presti
Born in Alexandria in 1929 to a Greek father and an Italian mother, he began his musical and guitar studies at the age of 8.
At the age of 13 he gave his first recital and at the age of 15 he already taught guitar and music theory. After having given more than 500 concerts, he moved to Paris, where France became his adopted country, where he continued his educational and artistic career and toured extensively in all European countries.
In 1952, he married the famous French guitarist Ida Presti with whom he formed the duo Presti-Lagoya. They then founded a guitar class together at the Schola Cantorum. Through their 15 international tours, which include more than 2000 concerts, the composers D. Lesur, A. Jolivet, L. Alibert, P. Petit, H. Tomasi, S. Lancen, J. Wiener, J. Rodrigo, M. C. Tedesco, dedicate their works to them.
Alexandre Lagoya is asked several times to teach guitar in universities in the U.S.A. and especially at the J.M.C. (Canada) and since 1960 has been leading the guitar class at the International Summer Academy in Nice, thus training many students who hold positions in the most important conservatories in the world.
He became a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in October 1969, the date of the creation of a guitar class. Alexandre Lagoya performs all over the world. Alexandre Lagoya is considered one of the most extraordinary guitarists of our time.
In 1965, the French government made him Commandeur du Mérite Culturel et Artistique; in 1972, Chevalier du Mérite National; in 1974, Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for his action in favour of music throughout the world.
Despite all his activities, this smiling, generous, direct man loved the youth he helped and advised. Everything interested him, painting, architecture, literature, nature, animals... He loved to travel, but it was with infinite pleasure that he found his home located in a still privileged setting in the Paris region where he rests