The Guitar in DC – Sophocles Papas

According to George Mason University Libraries, “Sophocles Papas was an internationally known teacher of classical guitar. A Fairfax County resident later in his life, Papas taught the classical guitar in Washington, D.C. for nearly sixty years.”

Historical note – Classical Guitar in DC:  According to Tim Healy, one cannot speak of the history of the guitar in the Washington, DC area without mentioning Sophocles Papas.

According to George Mason University Libraries, “Sophocles Papas was an internationally known teacher of classical guitar. A Fairfax County resident later in his life, Papas taught the classical guitar in Washington, D.C. for nearly sixty years. He also taught at American University in Washington, D.C. Among his former students who have risen to fame are Charlie Byrd and Carlos Barbosa-Lima.

Papas was a prominent figure in the Washington music scene for much of his life. He performed live on radio regularly on WCAP and was a close friend to music legends, Andres Segovia and Carlos Montoya. Papas organized and conducted Washington’s first guitar/mandolin/banjo orchestra, and founded the Washington Guitar Society. A prolific writer and publisher, Papas produced articles for scholarly music journals; wrote a column for the music magazine Crescendo; and founded Columbia Music Company, a publisher of sheet music and instructional methods for the guitar. Most notable among his publications is Method for the Classic Guitar. In 1998 Columbia Music Company also published a biography of Papas, Sophocles Papas: the Guitar, His Life, written by his daughter, Elisabeth Papas Smith.”

George Mason University Libraries has a collection of his papers and musical works, which you can find here. (http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/papas.html)

We invite our readers to post any stories or recollections of Sophocles Papas here or on our Facebook page.  Share the memories!

Author: marlowguitar

Marlow Guitar International (formerly International Conservatory of Music) presents the John E. Marlow Guitar Series: Presenting Guitarists from all over the world! Posts written by Meagan Healy and edited by MGI, unless otherwise indicated.