Biography

Jacob (Jake) Salomons was born in the Village of Niehove The Netherlands into a musical family of 8 children. At the age of 8 he emigrated with his family to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada. The family later moved to Red Deer, Alberta.

His early exposure to music was primarily due to his parents’ involvement in the First Christian Reformed Church of Red Deer and the weekly family gathering around the manual pump organ. Sundays were spent singing Hymns and Bach Chorales with all family members, cousins, Aunts and Uncles as well as many friends from the church community

It was there that his extraordinary musical ability was noticed by his family and members of the community. A business in Red Deer, The Nance company, heard of his love for music. Of their own volition they purchased a violin for Jacob and supplied him with lessons for the next few years.

Jacob’s first exposure to the guitar occurred a few years later when a friend of his sister Hilly brought a guitar to the house and showed him how to play a D chord. This event stayed with him and after months of pleading with his parents received a guitar amor his 13th birthday. he managed to tune the guitar using the same D chord he was shown the previous year.

His interest in the guitar led him through a number of different styles of music including rock and folk music until at the age of 17 he was introduced to classical guitar my an Edmonton guitar maker Frank Gay who was hosting a young greek guitarist George Sakellariou who lived and taught in Edmonton, Alberta at that time. This introduction led to a life long love for the Classical Guitar in all it’s forms.

He began to teach himself Classical Guitar first by studying pictures of Andres Segovia for technical reference and copying music from Classical Guitar recordings, recordings of Flamenco Guitar as well as of Zither music. He had his first Classical Guitar lesson at the age of 24 and the following year auditioned for the University of Calgary Music Program.

Since guitar was not recognized as a valid instrument for the U of C for the music program he was accepted, but not as a guitarist but instead as a voice major. He became a student of the late renowned baritone Alexander Gray. Mr. Gray instantly recognized that he had a very gifted student in his studio; not gifted as a voice student but as a guitarist and musician. Jake was invited to accompany Mr. Gray in a number of recitals in that first year. This led the Music Department at the University of Calgary to allow the guitar as an applied instrument and Jacob Salomons as it’s first official Classical Guitar student.

At the time there was not a guitar instructor on the faculty of the University of Calgary and Antonia Rivas, a Venezuelan guitarist, was hired to teach Jacob. Unfortunately this lasted Jacob’s ability grew exponentially and once again he was forced to teach himself within the music program at the University of Calgary. The musical environment in which he found himself stimulated his creative ability.

In 1973 Mr Salomons attended his first master class with the legendary Venezuelan guitar master Alirio Diaz at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Banff, Canada. Subsequently
he attended 3 additional with the master in both Arles, France. For the next few years he had all the inspiration he needed to advance his technical and musical skills under his own direction.

In 1974 he co-founded the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary with his former teacher Antonio Rivas. He served the the Guitar society in various capacities including President, Artistic director, Newsletter editor and Director at large for at least 15 years

In 1979 He began studies With Oscar Ghiglia during 3 week masterclasses for the next 8 years. And at the invitation of Mr Ghiglia he spent a year at the Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel, in Basel, Switzerland in special studies. He was the first senior guitarist to be offered this study opportunity in the history of the Akademie.

In 1980 as a result of a student Petition Mr. Salomons was offered the position of Guitar Instructor at the University of Calgary and held that position until 2005. His students represent the majority of the best known Classical Guitar instructors in the city of Calgary.

His performances include many solo and duet recitals throughout Canada and the U.S. as was a soloist with a number of regional orchestra throughout Wester Canada. In addition he has performed in a number of Musical Theatre Productions in Calgary and at the Banff School of Fine Arts and has performed with The Fine Arts Quartet of Milwaukee and has served as an accompanist for fame tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Mr. Salomons had adjudicated many Music Festivals in Alberta and British Columbia and has conducted mate classes throughout Canada.