EVERYTHING BUT A SURNAME

Short Read: Michael Church picks his highlight from this summer's classical music—a guitarist with absolute integrity

From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, July/August 2013

If you wanted to design a young crossover star and fed your requisites into a computer, the result might resemble Milos Karadaglic. But this articulate 30-year-old Montenegrin guitarist resists the term crossover because, although he schmoozes nightclub audiences with Latino favourites for Deutsche Grammophon (who have deprived him of his surname), he refuses to compromise his classical integrity an inch. At a packed solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall last autumn, he played austere Bach fugues as well as his beloved Segovia. The label some critics have stuck on him, the new Segovia, is starting to look plausible, and not just because of the impeccable technique he now passes on to students at the Royal Academy.

His suitably romantic story began with small-town stardom at nine, followed by national stardom at 11. After master-classes in Belgrade, he set his sights on London: in a long-distance audition for the RA, he filmed himself playing in his living room as NATO bombs rained down. He got in, became Julian Bream’s anointed successor, then embarked on a crusade to expand the classical guitar’s painfully small repertoire by arranging old works and commissioning new ones. Now he tours the Far East before making his Verbier debut with a classical and Latin-American programme. 

Milos Verbier Festival, July 24th

CLASSICAL AT A GLANCE

Metropolitan Opera free summer events (New York, to August 1st). This year the Met stages free recitals in parks in all five boroughs, as well as encore screenings from the company’s HD transmissions.

BBC Proms (London, to Sept 7th). The world’s grandest classical festival has its first "Ring" cycle, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. If you’re not a Wagnerian, look out for the fiddlers Midori and Janine Jansen, the pianists Stephen Hough and Mitsuko Uchida, and the glamorous trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth.

Michael Church is the classical-music critic for the Independent 

Photograph Getty