Liona Boyd, known as "The First Lady of the Guitar" has introduced millions around the world to the art of classical guitar through her concerts, television specials, and twenty two recordings, many of which have gone "Gold" and "Platinum".
Liona gave concerts around the globe and had the opportunity to play for dozens of world leaders such as the British Royal Family, the King and Queen of Spain, Presidents of the United States and Mexico, the prime ministers of Canada, France, and Britain, and the Chancellor of Germany, as well as at NATO and Summit Conferences. Her guitar music filled concert halls all the way from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, New Delhi, Edinburgh, Paris, Auckland, Frankfurt, Santiago, Rio, Bogotá, Havana, London, to Copenhagen, Lisbon and Mexico City.
Liona made her musical presence felt in North America by performing solo concerts in every major city and often working with symphony orchestras such as The Boston Pops. She has recorded with Sir Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, Yo Yo Ma, Georges Zamfir and Michael Kamen. Breaking with classical tradition she toured with Gordon Lightfoot and Tracy Chapman, and recorded with Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, David Gilmore, and Roger Whittaker. She has been a special guest on dozens of American TV shows including The Tonight Show, Today Show, Nightline, and Entertainment Tonight. A highly successful recording career for CBS/Sony Records brought her music to a vast international audience. The Canberra Times in Australia wrote "breathtakingly beautiful playing, the most musically accomplished and technically flawless playing that I have heard from any guitarist."
Liona often performs from her repertoire of original compositions and music composed especially for her. Her playing was featured in the 20th Century Fox film, "A Walk in the Clouds," which won a Golden Globe Award for best musical score. Liona's virtuoso talents resulted in five Juno awards, The Vanier Award, five honorary doctorates, The Order of Canada and The Order of Ontario. She is also a five time winner of the Guitar Player Magazine poll for best classical guitarist and has been inducted into their "Gallery of Greats." CBC produced several one-hour specials including "Romancing the Guitar - The Life and Times of Liona Boyd" and "Opening Night." Liona's autobiography "In My Own Key - My Life in Love and Music", which included a chapter on her eight year love affair with Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, became a best seller and her music videos are amongst the most requested on the Classic Arts Showcase and PBS.
After spending most of her life in Toronto, Canada Liona married John B. Simon and resided in Beverly Hills, California for fourteen years. She continued to concertize and also devoted herself to many charitable causes helping to raise millions of dollars in Canada and the USA through fundraising concerts. After divorcing she moved around the continent several times relocating first to Miami in 2004, then to Connecticut in 2007, to Santa Monica in 2010 and returned to live in Toronto in 2011.
Liona was diagnosed with Musician’s Focal Dystonia in 2003. She left the stage for 6 years but during that time eventually reinvented her guitar technique, pursued a life long dream learning to sing, and returned triumphantly to the recording studio in 2009. Universal Music Canada released two milestone CDs "Liona Boyd Sings Songs of Love" with Croatian guitarist/singer Srdjan Gjivoje and "Seven Journeys, music for the Soul and the Imagination" produced by Peter Bond, described as "Vangelis meets Enya meets Morricone."
Miraculously she is now back on stage having overcome this supposedly “incurable” condition and has added singing and songwriting to her already illustrious career. She now performs on her guitar with Michael Savona, a fellow classical guitarist and singer and is presently at work recording a new CD called "The Return…to Canada with love". This new project features both sweeping instrumentals and songs inspired by Canada, with special guest appearances by fellow Canadian Artists.
Liona wrote "Music contributes profoundly to the richness and beauty of our life experience. I feel so fortunate to be able to share this wonderful international language with people around the world."