top of page

Born in Alexandria in 1929 from a Greek father and an Italian mother, he began his musical and guitar studies at the age of 8. At 13 he gave his first recital and at 15 he was already teaching guitar and music theory. After having given more than 500 concerts, he moved to Paris, where France became his adopted country. Pursuing his educational and artistic career, he carried out an immense concert tour in all the countries of Europe. In 1952, he marries the famous French guitarist Ida Presti with whom he forms the Presti-Lagoya duo. They then founded together a guitar class at the Schola Cantorum. Through their 15 international tours, which include more than 2000 concerts, composers D. Lesur, A. Jolivet, L. Alibert, P. Petit, H. Tomasi, S. Lancen, J. Wiener, J. Rodrigo, MC Tedesco , dedicate their works to them. After fifteen years of instrumental research with Ida Presti, they open up new horizons in guitar technique: a new hand position,  discovering how to trill on two strings hitherto done on one,  employing a new position to achieve greater speed in pizzicato and perfecting staccato technique.

Alexandre Lagoya was asked several times to teach guitar in universities in the USA and in particular at the JMC (Canada) and from 1960 led the guitar class at the International Summer Academy in Nice, thus training many students who hold positions in some of the most important Conservatories around the world. Each year, Alexandre Lagoya is  invited to participate as a member of the jury of the most important national and international competitions. He became a professor at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris in October 1969, when a guitar class was created. Alexandre Lagoya gives  concerts all over the world: he plays under the direction of eminent conductors with the greatest symphony orchestras. He is regularly requested by the most important national and international festivals. Alexandre Lagoya is considered one of the  most extraordinary guitarists of our time. He recorded many records. In 1965, the French government made him Commander of Cultural and Artistic Merit; in 1972,  Knight of National Merit; in 1974, Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for his action in favor of music throughout the world. Two decorations were awarded to him by the government of the USSR in 1964. Despite all his activities, this smiling, generous, straightforward man loved the youth he helped and advised. Everything interested him, painting, architecture, literature, nature, animals... He loved to travel, but it was with infinite pleasure that he returned to his home located in a still privileged setting in the Paris region. Where  he rests. 

Ida Presti was born in Suresnes on May 31, 1924, to an Italian mother and a French father. The latter, an amateur accordionist and medium, immediately saw in her the genius and artistic sensibility that would animate him throughout his life. One evening, while attending an Andrés Segovia concert, a premonitory flash appears as evidence: his daughter will be a guitarist. 
It is within this modest family that Ida will be trained by her father who does not grant her any leisure. Gifted and cunning, she works on her guitar while reading comic books, away from the eyes of this overly authoritarian father. He died prematurely in 1938, and then became the sole professorial figure of his musical apprenticeship. 
In 1932, at the age of 8, Ida performed for the first time in small groups. Two years later, on April 28, 1935, she gave her first major recital in Paris, at the Salle Chopin, where she met with immense success. 
The rumor of a child prodigy of the guitar goes around Europe, and all the big concert halls hire her in turn. 
At the age of 12, she recorded her first records with "Pathé" and played the role of a guitarist in Maurice Cloche's film "Le petit chose". 
When her father dies, Ida becomes the head of the family at the age of 14 and will then have to take care of her mother and her little sister. When World War II broke out a few months later, his artistic career was put on hold and his future concert plans were cancelled, including a tour of the United States. 
At 17, she left alone for Indonesia to tour for three months. 
After a few difficult years between Nice and Marseille, she took refuge in Allauch and met her first husband. From this union will be born his daughter Elisabeth. At the end of the war, she divorced and gradually resumed her career. Success is again at the rendezvous. And it was in 1951 that she met her alter ego, a young guitarist from Egypt: Alexandre Lagoya. 
A fusional relationship unites them both in life and on stage. They will give their first official concert in 1952, a year that will forever mark the world of classical guitar. The emergence of a duo composed of two great soloists is indeed surprisingly rare. At that time, the repertoire for two guitars turned out to be relatively poor, but many contemporary composers such as Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Jolivet, Petit, Lesur, or even Rodrigo, set to work and wrote scores for this distinguished duo. 
Alexandre, for his part, undertakes a colossal work of transcriptions of classical works, while Ida begins to compose original pieces for two guitars (dance of Avila, the Hungarian, whimsical study), but also for solo guitar (lullaby to my mother, morning study, Segovia..). All these works of musical writing were brought together by Elisabeth, Ida's daughter, and are now gathered in several collections available from Berben editions, so that the new generation of guitarists can benefit from this remarkable repertoire.
In 1953, Ida gave birth to her second child, Sylvain Lagoya. 
The couple travels all over the world to give performances or even carry out masterclasses. Teaching holds an important place in the duo's career. The press and the media are quick to tell about their nomadic journeys. Television interviews, written press, radio, the duo is on all fronts, and their career continues to evolve. At the height of their glory, they embarked on a major tour of the United States in 1967. This tour would be the last. While playing in Saint Louis with the symphony orchestra, Ida is seized with a sudden illness after a concert. She is authorized after a brief medical examination to continue her tour. Unfortunately they take the plane the next day for Rochester (state of New York) where a concert is planned in Brockport, the same evening. 
Upon her arrival she was immediately transported to the hospital, and died a few hours later. 
Her thought: 
“I want my life to be simple and straight like an empty reed so that God can fill it with Music”. 
bottom of page