Harold Gretton began playing guitar at the age of 7. In 2001 he started his Bachelor of Music studies at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music which he completed with first-class honours in 2006. He is a PhD candidate at the ANU School of Music, researching historically informed performance practice of early-19th century guitar repertoire. He recently began a “Cours de Specialisation” as a duo with Véronique van Duurling, studying with the Duo Melis
Harold has won numerous national and international competitions, including first prize in the Vienna Guitar Forum – International Guitar Competition (Austria), first prize in the Cordoba Guitar Festival – International Guitar Competition (Spain), first prize in the Coria International Guitar Competition (Spain), first prize in the Transylvania International Guitar Competition (Romania), first prize in the 10th Sernancelhe International Guitar Competition (Portugal), and first prize in the International Competition of 20th Century Guitar Music Interpretation in Lagonegro (Italy). He has also placed first in the open guitar sections of many Australian national eisteddfods.
Harold also enjoys chamber music. He was a member of the guitar quartet Guitar Trek between 2006 and 2008, and was one of the founding members of the septet DominantSEVEN. In January 2009 he formed the Duo Amythis with Véronique van Duurling; together they were one of the major prize-winners at the 2009 Transylvania International Guitar Competition chamber music section.
In 2009 Harold performed Ponce’s Concerto del Sur at the Sernacelhe International Guitar Festival with Pedro Neves conducting the Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras. In 2008 he was invited to perform with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, at the Annual Proms Concert, conducted by Nicholas Milton. He has also appeared twice as a soloist with the ANU School of Music Symphony Orchestra, first in 2004 premiering Nigel Westlake’s guitar concerto Shadow Dances under the composer’s baton; and for the second time in 2005, with Max McBride conducting Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez.
What people have said about him:
“He extracted fire from his guitar without apparent effort.” Peter Casey, of Harold’s performance of Nigel Westlake’s Shadow Dances.
“He combines excellent technique with emotional insight.” Fred Blanks, of Harold’s performance at the Sydney Guitar Society summer school.
“Absolutely amazing … [he] mesmerised the audience with his playing. Everyone listened in awe during his Concerto de Aranjuez and the olés and standing ovation were well deserved.” Lynn Mills, of Harold’s performance at the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Proms concert.
“Impeccable facility, wonderful control and a marvelous palette of colour underpinned this most enjoyable performance … I was enraptured.” Bernard Hickey, of Harold’s performance in the Sydney Classical Guitar Society concert series 2008.