Described by BBC Radio 3’s Max Reinhardt as “virtuosic and committed, with stunning sonic awareness”, Declan Zapala was born into a musical family in Watford in 1985 and first started learning the guitar at the age of 10. In his subsequent 20 years as a guitarist, he has performed on BBC Four television, as well as BBC Radio 3, and has performed internationally, achieving great success as a solo artist for his unique and innovative classical & percussive guitar concerts. Declan regularly performs at international Fringe festivals, and has received numerous ★★★★★ reviews worldwide for his sell-out solo shows.
In his formative years Declan studied at the Royal College of Music in London and graduated with Distinction in 2012 from their Master of Performance programme. During his time there he was trained by guitarists Craig Ogden, Gary Ryan, and Carlos Bonell.
Before studying at Masters level Declan studied a Bachelors degree in Music & Sound Recording on the internationally acclaimed Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey. During his time there he gained recognition for his compositional skills in the finals of the 2006 Joyce Dixey Composition Competition, receiving special commendation for a concerto he wrote for guitar trio and string orchestra. Conversely, Declan was recognised for his skills as a classical sound engineer when he graduated in 2008, winning the AMS Neve Prize for Most Natural Classical Sound Recording.
Declan has not only had recognition in radio, TV, and academia but has had notable online success. His self-produced performance video of his percussive solo composition ‘Crystal’ received a quarter of a million views when it went viral at the end of 2013, and his video of his composition ‘Philomena’, a piece he wrote for his mother, has raised over $2000 for the charity ‘the Philomena Project’. Declan’s videos now feature regularly on the infamous CandyRat Records YouTube channel. This year saw the release of Declan’s debut album “Awakenings” which was launched at a packed out Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall and has received rave reviews from the Guardian, BBC Radio 3, and Guitar Techniques Magazine.