Ivor Mairants was born in Rypin, Poland on July 18, 1908 and was well-known throughout the world to guitar players of all musical styles. After some 60 years as a virtuoso guitarist, teacher, composer, and being the leading United Kingdom music instrument retailer, he devoted the last few years of his life to composing and performing music for the guitar.
Ivor Mairants came with his family to the United Kingdom in 1913. He took up the banjo at the age of 15 and became a performing artist at the age of 20. From the 1930s on he was a featured banjoist and after that a featured guitarist for numerous of Britain’s leading dance bands including those of Ambrose, Roy Fox, Lew Stone, Geraldo, and Ted Heath.
In the 1960s and 1970s his outstanding guitar playing was commonly heard on TV, radio, film soundtracks, and on numerous recordings with the popular Mantovani Orchestra and with Manuel And His Music Of The Mountains. His recording of the “Adagio” from Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto De Aranjuez” with Manuel sold over one million copies! His guitar quintet broadcast routinely in the late 1950s on the British Broadcasting Company’s “Guitar Club” series.
Of particular importance to guitarists is that Ivor Mairants dedicated so much of his time to composing music as well as writing educational books for the guitar. His solo guitar books and technique books for all styles of guitar playing, from publishers both in the U.K. and the U.S.A., have experienced excellent sales success over the years!
In the 1950s Ivor started his Central School Of Dance Music in London. All instruments were taught at this ingenious facility, but special focus was provided for the guitar. Several of his previous students are today some of Britain’s top guitarists. In 1958, together with his spouse Lily, he opened The Ivor Mairants Music Center. This was Britain’s very first professional guitar shop and it was located in the heart of London’s West End.
For several years many of the world’s best guitars and guitar accessories were introduced in Britain by Ivor at his store. The Ivor Mairants Music Center ended up being a Mecca for expert guitar players and for amateur guitar players at all levels of ability. Ivor was over the years often utilized as a specialist consultant for leading instrument makers and importers due to the fact of his unique understanding and musical abilities.
From the 1930s on Ivor Mairants was also a respected columnist in numerous leading music journals including Melody Maker, B.M.G. and Classical Guitar. In 1980 his acclaimed biography “My Fifty Fretting Years” was released by Ashley Mark Publishing in the U.K. and in 1995 his splendid 2 volume work “The Great Jazz Guitarists” – probably the most comprehensive collection of note-for-note transcriptions of historical jazz guitar solos – was published by Music Maker Publications in Cambridge, U.K.
Ivor Mairants made an outstanding and distinct contribution to the world of guitar in Britain. Over the previous 50 years there can be few British guitar players who have actually not gained from this contribution. He belonged to The Worshipful Company Of Musicians, a respected and ancient British guild, and was also a Freeman of The City Of London.
In 1997 The Worshipful Company Of Musicians inaugurated a new annual guitar scholarship competition called “The Ivor Mairants Guitar Award”, which will stay a crucial part of the enormous historical legacy this irreplaceable figure has left for future generations of guitar players! Ivor passed away on February 20, 1998.
Source by Steve M Herron