World-renowned musician settles in Costa Blanca

Tommy Lynch
John at home in Benidoleig

THERE is a new, musical resident in Benidoleig, Classical Guitarist John Zaradin who has gained international recognition over his years of performance.

John started playing guitarist at the age of 13 and studied guitar in the UK and Paris before his first professional performance in the Purcell Room at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1968 and has been involved in composition, performance and TV.

He received a gold disc for his recording of the Aranjuez Concerto, has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and is the composer of three orchestral works, the third of which will see its premier in Benidoleig in 2018, followed by another in Torrevieja.


John was kind enough to share some of his insights on a long career with Euro Weekly News in an exclusive interview.

Have you been a regular visitor to Spain?

I first came in 1971 to Almería where I had friends working on the Michael Winner film “Chato’s Land”. Later in the 1990s, with my wife Noëlle, we found a house in Calpe when Calpe was a small town, without the high rise buildings and before the sea front bay was created.

Are you settled here now and if so what made you decide to come?

We were in France before, near Albi, Tarn. We had started to think of moving to Spain but Noëlle suddenly became ill with cancer and after her death I decided to make a fresh start here.

What do you like about the place?

I like the welcoming Spanish approach to social life and its acceptance of others’ differences.

What is your greatest fear?

To be too fearful to consider the idea of being too afraid to dissipate, disperse and be free from, fear.

What is your favourite food?

Nourishment that is also ‘food for thought and feeling’.

Who would you invite for a meal dead, alive or fictional?

  1. S. Bach.

What is your secret pleasure?

It would cease to be so if I said.

What is your favourite piece of music?

Not one piece, but all music when it is played sincerely from the heart.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

It will not be important for me, but I could suggest John Cage’s 4’33 of silence, which gives the listener time to reflect on what he or she is doing.

If an encore was needed and the attendants had no ideas of their own, then possibly an original piece of mine from a Temba Theatre Company production of Romeo & Juliet – ‘Uma Hora Triste’ would be suitable.

If you could go back in time when would it be to?

I feel that we do go back in time each time we refer to our memories and that we do so in order to understand what is actually happening to us in the present.  The simple answer is: any time that helps clarify our present, dynamic situation is a good time to go back to.

What’s top of your bucket list?

To be able to act essentially and spontaneously without being distracted by superficial particulars.

John then explained his current musical project which will be completed by 2018, with a very special performance featuring international musicians who will be travelling to his new home of Benidoleig to launch the composition.

“I have written three guitar concertos:  the first, for full orchestra, was premièred in Virginia (I played the guitar part) and then recorded with the orchestra of the Birmingham Royal Ballet at Sony Studios in London.

“The second and third are put together for the Finnish guitarist Janne Lehtinen and arranged for guitar and string orchestra.

“The second has been performed many times by Janne and the Collegium Musicum Lohja (director Hari Kerko) and they will come to Benidoleig to make the première performance of the third concerto on March 16 2018 with a repeat concert in Torrevieja three days later,”


 Vital Statistics

Nationality: British

Born: 1943 (74)

Family: Widower with one living cousin

Educated: Joseph Schillinger School of Music for basic music and theory and for the guitar, with Alexander Lagoya at the Paris Conservatoire.

Outlook: “My most valuable learning has always been by meeting people who were committed to their own values and causes, and from whom one could, thereby, learn by example rather than by intellectual explanation.”


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