Watch this interview with Sadie Bishop
Sadie evinced a robust technique and a beautiful tone. She had a belated introduction to the guitar, but fell under its spell and became rapidly adept on the instrument.
Key figure in the renaissance of the guitar in Australia, having advanced the standard of playing and teaching in both hemispheres. Bishop evinced a robust technique and a beautiful tone. She had a belated introduction to the guitar, but fell under its spell and became rapidly adept on the instrument. Bishop married Joe Washington, who was a professional guitarist at Melbourne’s jazz clubs. Washington introduced Bishop to Len Williams. She started classical guitar lessons with Len Williams, who taught her in the Segovia style. Bishop joined Washington and Williams to become a professional classical guitar trio. They were unique on the guitar scene and successful together. In 1951 Bishop moved to Sydney where there were few if any players as experienced as she was. She spent her time practicing and performing. In 1955 Len Williams asked Bishop and Washington to move to England and teach at the London Spanish Guitar Centre. She taught at the Centre for several years. In Europe Bishop met new and influential musicians, particularly when she attended the summer schools at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena in Italy under Segovia. Master guitarists attending the summer schools developed her further as a concert performer and teacher. Returning to Melbourne in 1959, Bishop continued performing and teaching. In both spheres she excelled. Her permanent legacy is found in a classical guitar album she recorded and her work towards a teaching and examinations syllabus for classical guitar. In 1962 she was appointed a teacher and lecturer at the Melbourne University Conservatorium, even though an official guitar course had yet to be established. ln 1969, Bishop moved from Melbourne to Canberra and started her term at the Canberra School of Music. She continued there until her retirement in 1982. She returned to Melbourne, and continued her interest in the guitar, sitting on boards and attending eisteddfods. In 2006 the Classical Guitar Society of Melbourne established the Sadie Awards, rewarding excellence in performing the classical guitar.