Serrano made his professional debut at age 13, and soon earned a reputation throughout Spain and Europe as a gifted musician. He performed and recorded with flamenco musical, dance, and theatrical companies. At this time Serrano also started his solo career. His home town of Cordoba was so proud of his accomplishments that they replaced the bell in the town clock with recordings of his guitar playing. In 1961 Serrano accepted an invitation to come to America and perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The success of this performance led to numerous solo flamenco guitar concerts and more TV appearances, then a recording contract with Elektra Records, who released his US debut album "Ole, la mano!" in 1962. The New York Times said Serrano had "ten dexterous fingers that often sound like twenty... a breathtaking technician who can wring rhythmic dance fury out of fandangos and zapateados. He is a lyric sentamentalist, who can make the strings cry." Serrano made the US his home, where he achieved renown as an instructor.
In Feb. 1968 he was the featured cover-photo artist for Guitar Player magazine. Along with others such as Sabicas and Mario Escudero, Serrano's virtuosity helped establish solo flamenco guitar as a viable concert instrument beyond the borders of Spain. He developed the guitar program at California State University and now heads the guitar department. In addition to his teaching duties, Serrano is much sought after as a performer, for master classes and as a guest lecturer on the history of flamenco. Serrano is the only flamenco guitarist in the world with a doctorate in humane letters and a tenured faculty position at a major university. Cordoba also awarded Serrano the "Porto de Oro".
This prestigious honor is awarded once every ten years and Serrano is the only guitarist ever to be so honored. Serrano received the Page One Ball from the Newspaper Guild of New York for his outstanding performances. He was also awarded the Medalla de Oro from the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts, the Catedra de Flamencologia from Jerez, Spain, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The city of Fresno bestowed Serrano with the "Fabulous Fresnan" and "Horizon" awards.
Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more