Vino e Musica, in Memoriam Presti-Lagoya

18 years ago, on the 24th of August 1999 Alexandre Lagoya left us.

A great musician playing the classical guitar, a chef and a wine lover, Lagoya had an incomparably elegant, warm and powerful tone.

To choose a bottle of wine to match him, it would be Château Latour!

I had the pleasure of being one of his students in the 1970’s and in the early 80’s


At the Orford Art Centre in Canada








At the Académie de Nice in 1980, Alexandre Lagoya playing my Ramirez and taking the pose on my request.








With Ida Presti they formed  what the guitar cognoscenti consider to be the best Guitar duet of the XXth Century and  some pronounced Ida Presti perhaps the finest  classical guitarist …




Cruel fate, Ida Presti died tragically in 1967, exactly 50 years ago this year, at the age of… 43

Please watch and listen to this sublime version of a dance by Manuel de Falla

or their version of the Debussy Clair de lune in a transcription by Lagoya

Alexandre Lagoya was a chef and a wine lover.

In Lagoya’s obituary, English composer John Duarte wrote:

« Lagoya was a humorous, generous and outgoing man. He once described himself as a professional guitarist who made money in order to be able to indulge his passion for cooking « 

He came to cook at my home in Montreal in 1983.







He invited us to spend a weekend in New York city with his wife Monelle where he was going to play in concert. He rented an apartment instead of going to the hotel to have some control over the cooking…

Arriving in NYC in 1983




Then I had the pleasure of visiting him a few times in 84-85 at his home near Paris (Soisy-sur-Montmorency)  where we had fabulous meals cooked by the Maestro; his way to unwind. He loved nothing more than cooking and, while everything was simmering, he would return to his guitar, play a little or prepare his next concert. Then we would go to his cellar and pick one or two bottles of wine…

This is relaxation time @ home after a (copious) meal.





Alexandre Lagoya’s father was Greek, in this video he talks about how to make a proper moussaka…

I don’t have any pictures showing AL with a bottle of wine but found this today on the web, an archive showing Alexandre Lagoya becoming a member of the Chinon society wine lovers…  Cabernet Franc!

To finish on a Vino e Musica note,

look at this picture of La Goya Manzanilla Sherry, better, pour yourself a glass, then click on the video underneath, you will hear Alexandre Lagoya play « Près des remparts de Séville » from Bizet’s Carmen opera in one of his guitar arrangements. In the original aria Carmen sings the following:

« Près des remparts de Séville,
Chez mon ami, Lillas Pastia
J’irai danser la Séguedille
Et boire du Manzanilla. »


With his wit and humour Alexandre Lagoya no doubt would have smiled at this post…and would have drunk to our health.

Cheers Maestro, In Vino Veritas!



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