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Carlos Montoya, Flamenco Guitarist, Dead at 89

March 5, 1993

NEW YORK (AP) _ Carlos Montoya, a guitarist and composer who helped transform flamenco from a Spanish folk form into an internationally popular style, has died at 89.

Montoya died Wednesday in Wainscott, N.Y., of heart failure, said his son, Allan Montoya.

Following in his uncle’s footsteps, Montoya gave solo recitals in flamenco, making him among the first guitarists to break away from the traditional role as accompanist in dance and vocal performances.

His uncle, Ramon Montoya, is generally credited as the first person to give full recitals of solo flamenco music.

Until then, flamenco guitarists showed off their artistry in brief solo spots within ensemble programs.

The younger Montoya, who began performing solo recitals in the 1940s, also toured and recorded widely. His music had crossover appeal; his arrangements delved into jazz and popular forms as well as improvisational forms at the heart of traditional flamenco.

Though he never learned to read music, Montoya was a prolific composer and arranger.

Montoya was born in Madrid on Dec. 13, 1903. His mother was his first guitar teacher. Montoya began accompanying flamenco performers at age 14, then joined various touring troupes before embarking on his solo career, which flourished in the 1950s and 1960s.

Montoya is survived by his wife, Sally MacLean, an American dancer he married in 1940, before settling in New York and becoming a U.S. citizen; and his sons, Allan, of Wainscott, and Carlos Jr., of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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