Ahmed Dickinson

Guitar Teacher and Performer

Ahmed’s Music Story

Ahmed grew up in Havana and started singing and playing instruments in a children choir at the age of 4, before learning the guitar from about the age of 8. He travelled extensively around the island playing percussion and drums. At the age of 8 Ahmed went into series musical studies at Guillermo Tomas Conservatoire learning both guitar and piano, and some little percussion and trumpet.

He eventually went onto study at the Superior Institute of Art in Havana before making the trip to London to study at the Royal College of Music.

He then completed a postgraduate masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Ahmed has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Cubadisco Awards, the Ashley Stewart Arts Sponsorship 2011, Concordia Foundation 2008-2009, and Ivor Mairants International guitar Competition 2006.

Ahmed has had a successful performing career, performing at prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, Sage Gateshead, Union Chapel, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, LSO St Luke’s, and St James’s Piccadilly.

He has given live performances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC London and featured at prominent festivals including London Classical Guitar Festival, Bath International Guitar Festival, Sage Guitar Festival, Kings Place Music Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Ards Guitar Festival (Northern Ireland), Dublin Guitar Week, Hispano-American Guitar Festival (Mexico), Identidades International Guitar Festival (Cuba) and Havana International Guitar Festival.

Ahmed has also had a phenomenally successful recording career. In 2008, Ahmed founded Cubafilin Records – a record label dedicated to the exclusive promotion of Cuban musicians and their original works. For nearly ten years, Dickinson Cardenas enjoyed the great privilege of collaborating with the prolific late guitarist and composer – Jose Antonio (Ñico) Rojas. Ahmed transcribed Rojas’ extensive unpublished works during this period, and subsequent performances and recordings earned two prizes at the Cubadisco Awards 2009, Best Instrumental Soloist & Best Instrumental Album. The same album was nominated for Best Artist & Best Newcomer in Songlines World. Music Magazine.and Best Album & Best Single at the Latin American Music Awards UKe last 10 years, Ahmed has established a successful ca.

He also teaches classical guitar at the London College of Music and privately and has now taught both in Cuba, Europe, the Middle East and in the UK for over 20 years.

"I would recommend the music of Bach, Francisco Tarrega, Jose Antonio (Ñico) Rojas, Eduardo Martín and Leo Brouwer."

What was the Royal College of Music like?

It was a positive but overwhelming experience, the language, the colliding cultures, the social exchanges, everything represented a source of new information and I wanted to get the most out it all.

Where would you suggest people buy a guitar from?

I would recommend londonguitarstudio.com which has a shop in Duke Street. I personally have 6 different guitars, including two Hopf/Adalid which I bought there.

What age do you recommend starting to play the guitar?

Between 7 and 8, but sometime I take up some younger kids.

So, what are you like as a teacher?

Fun but strict

What has been your career highlight to date?

I could mention a couple, let’s say, winning two Cubadisco Awards back in Cuba, and performing at the Royal Albert Hall in front of 5,000 people.

What guitar pieces would you recommend people listen to, to inspire them to play?

I would recommend the music of Bach, Francisco Tarrega, Jose Antonio (Ñico) Rojas, Eduardo Martín and Leo Brouwer.

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