Described by Guitarist Magazine as “one of the most exciting players on the acoustic guitar scene” and by BBC Radio 3 as “virtuosic and committed, with stunning sonic awareness”, Declan Zapala was born into a musical family in Watford, UK, in 1985 and first started learning the guitar at the age of 10. In his subsequent 20+ years as a guitarist, he has performed solo on BBC Four television, BBC Radio 3, and has performed alongside guitar legends John Williams, Martin Taylor, Jon Gomm, Craig Ogden, Gary Ryan, and Clive Carroll. He regularly performs to sold-out audiences around the world, including recent concerts at London’s Royal Albert, the annual Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide Fringe, as well as countless international guitar festivals. Declan has achieved great success as a solo artist for his unique and innovative classical & percussive guitar concerts, receiving numerous ★★★★★ reviews worldwide for his sell-out critically acclaimed solo shows “Fusion Guitar” and “Guitar Multiverse”. In 2015 his solo show “Fusion Guitar” won the first “Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award for Best Music Show” in its opening week.
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 Gary Ryan (UK), Craig Ogden (Australia), and Carlos Bonell (UK).
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 studied guitar with renowned composer/guitarist Stephen Goss and 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.
With a knack for excelling at whatever he turns his hand to, 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 on YouTube 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 and 2015 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, Acoustic Magazine and Guitar Techniques Magazine.