The Scottish-born classical guitarist, (Michael) Paul Galbraith, studied at St Mary's Specialist Music School in Edinburgh from 1975 to 1978; Chetham's School of Music in Manchester from 1978 to 1981; and Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, from 1981 to 1985 graduating with a Diploma in Professional Performance (PPRNCM) which is a College award. Later he studied Studies musical interpretation with Greek pianist and conductor, George Hadjinikos from 1983 to 1988. His honours include 3rd prize in 1980, and 1st prize in 1982 in Strings Section of BBC Young Musician of the Year. At the age of 17, he won the Silver Medal at the 1st Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition. Andrés Segovia, who was present, called his playing "magnificent." He also won Leeds Castle in 1981, and Wiseman Prize in 1984.
These awards helped launch Paul Galbraith's international career including engagements with some of the finest orchestras in Britain and Europe (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Baroque Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra among them). He toured the USA as soloist with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and performed in Prague's Dvorák Hall with the National Chamber Orchestra of Chile. His international tours from 1980 onward, appearing in concertos with orchestras and in recitals, have also brought him to Brazil, Canada, China, West Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Norway, Spain, as well as throughout the UK.
Paul Galbraith's unique playing position was first revealed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1989. His guitar (designed in collaboration with the late luthier David Rubio) is supported by a metal endpin, similar to that of a cello, that rests on a wooden resonance box. The instrument has two extra strings, in addition to those of a normal six-string guitar, one high and one low. Both the guitar's extraordinary design and Galbraith's playing style are considered groundbreaking developments in the history of the instrument, increasing its range to an unprecedented extent.
In 1990 Paul Galbraith recorded works by M. Ponce. His later CD's on the Delos label are the Bach Lute Suites (2000), Paul Galbraith Plays Haydn (1999, featuring Galbraith's arrangements of four keyboard sonatas for 8-String guitar), and "In Every Lake the Moon Shines Full"-folk tunes from many countries (2001). Most recently, the CD "French Impressions" of arrangements of piano music by Debussy and Ravel (2006). His double CD of the Complete Solo Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award in the category of Best Solo Instrumental Album. This recording was also chosen as one of the two best CD's of 1998 by Gramophone Magazine, which called it "a landmark in the history of guitar recordings." This recording received a four star rating in Stereo Review, and reached the top 10 on the classical charts in Billboard Magazine.
Paul Galbraith has been featured twice on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and numerous times on "Performance Today." He made his New York début at the Frick Collection, receiving a rave review in the New York Times; a subsequent NYC engagement on Lincoln Center's "Great Performances" series was sold out. Recent and forthcoming North American recitals include NYC, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portland, Eugene, Seattle, Miami, Baltimore, Buffalo, Amherst, Milwaukee, San Antonio, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Cuernavaca, Mexico. In addition, tours of the UK, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and the Netherlands are among Galbraith's international activities. During the Bach Year (2000) he was featured artist at the Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver and Carmel Bach Festivals.
Recent orchestral engagements in the USA include concertos with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, among others. Galbraith and the St. Petersburg String Quartet gave the World Premiere in March 2003 at Stanford University of a new work, Rhapsody for Guitar and String Quartet, that they co-commissioned from the acclaimed Georgian composer Zurab Nadarejshvili.
Paul Galbraith has lived in Malawi, Greece, London, and, for the last ten years, Brazil. He was a founding member of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, playing with them until summer of 2003. His principal teacher, since 1983, has been the Greek conductor, pianist and philosopher George Hadjinikos. Galbraith has lived in Brazil with his lutenist wife Celia, and their daughter Luiza since 1996.