Iliana Matos

"Her name deserves to go down in guitar history as one of the great players of our time".

Classical Guitar Magazine

New Video

I am pleased to have a new recording For Your Consideration among the entries for the GRAMMY Awards® in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo Category:

        • Composer: Lentini
        • Composition: Concerto for Guitar and Strings
        • Performers: Iliana Matos, guitar, and Miran Vautopic, Conductor - Zagreb Festival Orchestra
        • Album: Prisma 2 (Navona Records)

Listen at Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube

Program notes and bios here: Lentini Concerto at Navona Records


"…Words cannot do justice to Iliana Matos’ interpretation and performance…" Steven Kennedy - Cinemusical.

Spring-Summer Tour 2024

University of Lethbridge. Canada

March 19 Music at Noon with Deanna Oye. Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo


Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival

March 20 U of L Guitar Ensemble. Conductor

University of Lethbridge. Canada

March 26 U of L Guitar Ensemble. Conductor

April 14 Concierto de Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo with Calgary Civic Symphony

Rolf Bertsch Conductor


Classical Guitar Society of Calgary

May 25/26 Concert & Masterclass, including the World Premiere of works by Sergio Assad,Konstantin Vassiliev, Dale Kavanagh, Lavinia Well Parker & Juan Erena


Okanagan Guitar Festival

July 4-7 Concert & Masterclass, including the World Premiere of a new work by Patrick Roux


Vancouver Classical Guitar Festival

July 11-14 Concert & Masterclass, including the World Premiere of a new work by Jeffrey McFadden


Granada International Guitar Festival

July 29 Concert including the World Premiere of a new work by Leo Brouwer


32 International Guitar Festival Iserlohn

August 1-4 Concert & Masterclass


GuitarFest West

August 5-9 Concert & Masterclass



First Prize. I “Luys Milan” International Guitar Competition. Valencia, Spain, 2002.

First Prize. X International Guitar Competition “Ciudad de Vélez-Málaga”. Spain 2002

First Prize. VIII International Guitar Competition in Linares “Andrés Segovia”. Spain, 2001.

First Prize and Special Prize for the Best Interpretation of Spanish Music at XII “S.A.R. La Infanta Doña Cristina” International Guitar Competition. Spain, 1996.

Special Audience Prize. XXX Francisco Tárrega Guitar Competition, Benicasim, Spain, 1996.

First Prize. XVII Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1995.

Special Prize for Best Interpretation of Spanish Music at XI “S.A.R. La Infanta Doña Cristina” International Guitar Competition. Spain, 1995.

Third Prize. IX “Alirio Díaz” International Guitar Competition, Caracas, Venezuela 1994.

Young Artist Prize. XI Carrefour Mondail de la Guitare, Martinique, France, 1994.

Special Prize for the best interpretation of “Descarga” by Ernesto Cordero of the International Guitar Competition of Jalapa, Mexico 1991.

First Prize. III Manuel M. Ponce International Guitar Competition D.F. México, 1990.

Third Prize and Special Prize for the Best Interpretation of Cuban Music at the UNEAC, Music Competition in La Habana, Cuba 1987.


Iliana Matos has an extraordinary career spanning more than three decades that has earned her a place among the world’s pre-eminent guitarists. She has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. “Her name deserves to go down in guitar history as one of the great players of our time" (Classical Guitar Magazine).

As part of her tour celebrating thirty years of performing, which she began in 2016, Matos performed in nineteen cities in China, including a concert at the Shenyang International Guitar Festival. The tour also featured concerts in twenty-three North American cities and a seven-city tour in Mexico. Among the highlights were recitals for the International Guitar Festival of San Sebastián in Puerto Rico, the Texas A&M International Guitar Symposium, and the New Orleans International Guitar Festival. The 2022-23 season will see Matos performing for guitar events including the University of Rhode Island Guitar Festival and the Madrid International Guitar Festival and touring Canada.

Cuban-born Iliana Matos has lived in Canada since 2013 and has become a favourite in the Canadian guitar scene. Her numerous Canadian appearances include the Montreal Guitar Society, the Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, the Toronto Guitar Society, GuitarFest West in Calgary, and the Vancouver Classic Guitar Society.

In 2006 Matos released her acclaimed CD Angels in the Street, "a match-made-in-heaven recording that is about as perfect as guitar records get... she simply, radiantly shines, a virtuoso in service to the music" (American Record Guide). This album found a place in the book Guitar’s Top 100 by musicologist Enrique Robichaud. "It's impossible while listening to 'Angels' to believe that her name will not someday ring the same peal of recognition as does Bream and Williams" (Minor7th.com).

Her ensemble recordings include the 2020 Sandunga with the Cuban Guitar Quartet and the James Lentini Concerto for Guitar and Strings recorded with the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. In 2019 she was featured playing Sonata Clásica on the album Manuel Ponce: The Legend by the Legends.

With her love of contemporary music and desire to develop the guitar repertoire, Iliana Matos has premiered works by numerous composers, including Eduardo Morales, Tomás Marco, Zulema de la Cruz, Gabriel Estarellas, Flores Chaviano, Ileana Pérez, Madays Andino, Ñico Rojas, Yalil Guerra, Luis Mario Ochoa and Eduardo Martín.

Matos made history as the first woman to win the prestigious S.A.R. La Infanta Doña Cristina International Guitar Competition, and as the only person to win the special prize for Best Interpretation of Spanish Music in two consecutive years, 1995 and 1996. She was a prize-winner at eleven major international competitions, including first prizes at the Andrés Segovia, Luys Milán, and Manuel Ponce international guitar competitions. Of her talent, the legendary guitarist Maria Luisa Anido said: I am impressed by your wonderful guitarristic art, and I am proud to know that a woman (and a Cuban woman!) came to such a degree of artistic perfection.”

As a dedicated educator Iliana Matos is in-demand as a guest lecturer. Recent engagements include masterclasses at the National Music Conservatories in Ecuador and Mexico, Soochow University in Taiwan, and the University of Minnesota. Since 2017 Matos has been the studio guitar instructor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta where she founded and developed the graduate program for guitar performance. She is the President and Artistic Director of the newly formed Lethbridge Classical Guitar Society. From 1995-2013 Matos was based in Spain where she was active in developing the next generation of guitarists through her work teaching at the Conservatory of the Balearics, the Conservatory of Salamanca, and the Royal Music Conservatory of Madrid.

Iliana Matos graduated from the National School of Art in Havana where she studied with José Angel Pérez Puente. She earned a Bachelor of Music (Classical Guitar Performance) from the Superior Institute of Havana (where her teachers included Rey Guerra, Miguel Bonachea and Jesús Ortega), and received a Special Diploma given to the most outstanding graduate for her artistic creative work. She continued her studies with Gabriel Estarellas at the Royal Music Conservatory of Madrid and graduated with a Master of Music Degree from de Extremadura University under Ricardo Gallén.

Concert Reviews

E-Veritas. University of Miami. USA.
“The guitar guru: Iliana Matos”
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La Republica. Italy.
“one of the most famous guitarists in the world…A musician uncommon”
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ABC. Spain.
“In both concerts Cuban guitarist Iliana Matos’ solos scored a sound success after hitting them with beautiful, round sound, effortless technique and blatant musicality”
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Diário de Noticias-Madeira. Portugal.
“An award-winning performer guitar”
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Guitar Art. Germany
“Iliana, my best compliments on a great concert! We could go on listening to your beautifully realized interpretations of these classics for the whole evening and the lesser known Cuban pieces were a delight”
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El Mercantil Valenciano. Spain
“Cuban guitarist Iliana Matos, demonstrated guitar playing of the highest order specially in her interpretation of the very difficult Bach Chaconne where her beautiful diction of the cantabile in the Andante section made history”.
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Diario 16. Spain
“The great interpretative talent of Iliana Matos”.
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Les Cahiers de LA GUITARE et de la Musique. French
“Iliana Matos, refined musician, nuanced, virtuoso… nobody was surprise to know that Iliana Matos was recently elected "Young Talent" 95 of the Carrefour Mondial. Due to this honorific merit, she will now tour the Caribbean”.
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La Nación. Venezuela
“The concert by the cuban guitarist was impressive.”
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El Día, México.
“She proved her high level as a Latin american music performer. Her playing was great.”
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Trabajadores. Cuba.
Iliana Matos was the next soloist in the Concerto for guitar and Orchestra, El Elegíaco of Leo Brouwer. And she walked comfortably through more familiar landscapes at the beginning, but that gradually became complex mazes by which she, as an accomplice of the composer, tends to the listener a solid thread, so we perfectly assimilate the most impulsive musical thoughts
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Classical Guitar Magazine. Colin Cooper. UK.
“…I was pleased to see that the Cuban guitarrist Iliana Matos had won the first prize in the 3rd Manuel Ponce Guitar Competition in Mexico. I thought her performance in the 4th Havana Guitar Festival in 1988 was outstanding…”
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Classical Guitar Magazine. Colin Cooper. UK.
“…In Cuba,I was much taken whith the powerful and intense style of the 21- year old Iliana Matos,one of the few players to make a success of Pujol`s marking "doloroso" in the Guajira…”.
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Recording Reviews

Classical Guitar Magazine. Steve Marsh. England
“Her name deserves to go down in guitar history as one of the great players of our time”
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MusicWeb International. Zane Turner. United Kingdom
“she has sufficient of all credentials necessary to take her place in the annals of guitar as one of its truly gifted and outstanding exponents”
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American Record Guide. Ellis. USA
“a match-made-in-heaven recording that is about as perfect as guitar records get... she simply, radiantly shines, a virtuoso in service to the music”
Read full review

Minor7th.com. Alan Fark. USA
“it's impossible while listening to 'Angels' to believe that her name will not someday ring the same peal of recognition as does Bream and William”
Read full review

All Music Guide. USA
“Guitarist Iliana Matos is a major unheralded talent, with clean articulation of rapid, hard passages and a winning way of drawing the listener in by slightly hanging back at a piece's beginning”
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Bridge Guitar Reviews. Henk te Veldhuis. Holland
“Iliana Matos has succeeded with 'Angels in the Street' to deliver a CD which is brilliant with the exceptional well-chosen repertoire and her unique and modern approach to classical guitar music…Truly a masterwork”
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Guitare Diffusion. Belgium
“A captivating production where the elegant mastery of Iliana Matos gives life to the fascinating music of Eduardo Martín, who will be soon part of the repertoire of guitar players looking for something new”
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Guitare Classique. F.N. French
“The round and vivid sound of Iliana Matos serves this repertoire admirably and her musicality expresses equally well both the complex rhythmic intricacies and meditative melodies”
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Acordes. José Luis Ruiz del Puerto. Spain
“The overwhelming technique of Iliana, her delicate, yet powerful and flawless quality of sound, the exquisite musicality that is present in her interpretations, are some of the adjectives that we can emphasize about her. But they are not the only ones: the virtuosity, the polyphonic clarity or the strict maintenance of the rhythmical complexity that appears in many of the works are evident and they are put to the musical service of these inspired musical notes”
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OpusMúsica. Joaquim Zueras Navarro. Spain.
“We are facing a meritorious CD, particularly suitable for those who follow the evolution of the guitar repertoire...which the virtuosity of Iliana Matos exalts”
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Gendai Guitar. Nobuaki Nagaoka. Japan
“Matos plays with lively rhythms and emotional expressions highlighting the originality of the work”
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Aladin Communication. Korea
“Iliana Matos, who has a very sophisticated technique and the impetuous rhythm, holds us her high musicality”
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El Tono de la Voz. Cuba
“A real jewel. ‘Angels in the Street', the composition from which the CD is titled, is simply amazing”.
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Randy Morse, KZUM 89.3 FM. USA
"This is another beautiful album from GSP. Her playing is exquisite, and I love Eduardo's compositions. Congratulations!"


Angels in the street

De la rumba al son




Angeles en la calle


Eduardo Morales-Caso

Las Sombras Divinas Verso

Spain. 2012

Music of Ileana Pérez Velazquez

An Enchanted Being

Albany Records (USA) 2007

Certamen de Guitarra Clásica “Luys Milán”

Gadiraifa (Spain) 2004



Iliana Matos. Guitarra.

Manuel Ponce - Sonata Clásica. I. Allegro

Manuel Ponce - Sonata Clásica. II. Andante

Manuel Ponce. Sonata Clásica. III. Menuet

Manuel Ponce - Sonata Clásica. IV. Allegro

An Idea (Passacaglia for Eli) By Leo Brouwer. Live recording at the Guitar Salon International showroom in Santa Monica, CA.

Elegía a Benny Moré by José Antonio (Ñico) Rojas. Live recording at the Guitar Salon International showroom in Santa Monica, CA.

Mirándote by Eduardo Martín. Live recording at the Guitar Salon International showroom in Santa Monica, CA.

Gran Jota by Francisco Tárrega. Iliana Matos, guitar. Live Performance at Sauble Beach Guitar Festival. August 25, 2016

Mirándote by Eduardo Martín. Iliana Matos, guitar. Live Performance at Sauble Beach Guitar Festival. August 25, 2016

Vals Op.8 No.4 by Agustin Barrios Mangoré

Guarania, Gato y Malambo by Héctor Ayala

Choro by Héctor Ayala

Zapateado by Joaquín Rodrigo

EL Jardín de Lindaraja by Eduardo Morales-Caso

Fantasía para una Dama by Gabriel Estarellas

Canción Triste by Fariña

Dúo Iliana Matos/Eduardo Martín

Hasta Alicia Baila by Eduardo Martín

Sones y Flores by Eduardo Martín/Walfrido Domínguez

Amaneceres by Eduardo Martín

Dúo Iliana Matos y Pepe Sotorres

Historia del Tango , Nightclub 1960 by Astor Piazzolla

Historia del Tango, Café 1930 by Astor Piazzolla

Dúo Iliana Matos/María Eugenia de la Rúa