Hailed by the critics as “The guitar guru” (E-Veritas. University of Miami) “the powerful andintense style of Iliana Matos" (Classical Guitar Magazine) has made possible an extraordinarycareer. Following the tradition of María Luisa Anido, the Great Lady of Guitar, who, whenhearing Iliana play, wrote: “I am impressed by your wonderful guitaristic art, and I am proud toknow that a woman (and a Cuban woman!) came to such a degree of artistic perfection”.Barcelona 1995.
After hearing Iliana Matos perform in Caracas, the legendary Alirio Díaz wrote: "Her refinedtechnique, always put at the service of a personal musicality, is what more can surprise in theguitar art of the Cuban and Latin American virtuosa Iliana Matos. All this, added to otherexquisite qualities, has made her an appealing personality within our world of music".Venezuela 1992.
Iliana Matos graduated from the National School of Art in Havana where she studied with JoséAngel Pérez Puente. She earned a Bachelor of Music (Classical Guitar Performance) from theSuperior Institute of Havana (where her teachers included Rey Guerra, Miguel Bonachea andJesús Ortega), and received a Special Diploma given to the most outstanding graduate for herartistic creative work. She continued her studies with Gabriel Estarellas at the Royal MusicConservatory of Madrid and graduated with a Master of Music Degree from de ExtremaduraUniversity under Ricardo Gallén. As a student she participated in master classes with LeoBrouwer, David Russell, Sharon Isbin, Costas Cotsiolis, Tania Chagnot, Paolo Paolini, TomásMüller, Wolfgang Lendle, Carlos Bonell, Juan Carlos Rivera and Joaquín Clerch.Prize winner of eleven major international competitions, including first prizes in the AndrésSegovia in Palma de Mallorca, Luys Milán, and Manuel Ponce International GuitarCompetitions. She made history by becoming the first woman to win the prestigious S.A.R. LaInfanta Doña Cristina International Guitar Competition in Madrid, and the only person to win thespecial prize for Best Interpretation of Spanish Music in two consecutive years, 1995 and 1996.
Her highly acclaimed GSP CD “Angels in The Street” has earned universal acclaim fromcritics, placing her among the elite of today's classical guitarists: “Her name deserves to go downin guitar history as one of the great players of our time." (Classical Guitar Magazine); "a match-made-in-heaven recording that is about as perfect as guitar records get... she simply, radiantlyshines, a virtuoso in service to the music" (American Record Guide); "she has sufficient of allcredentials necessary to take her place in the annals of guitar as one of its truly gifted andoutstanding exponents." (Musicweb-international.com), "it's impossible while listening to'Angels' to believe that her name will not someday ring the same peal of recognition as doesBream and Williams" (Minor7th.com).
As an ambassador of the Ibero-American guitar, she performed as soloist with the NationalOrchestra of Oporto at the VIII Ibero-American Summit and for the Spanish Royal Family in1998.
Her presentation at the National Auditorium of Spain together with the Classical Orchestra ofMadeira received the news headline “Special triumph in a model program ". In the samereview: "In both concerts Cuban guitarist Iliana Matos’ solos scored a sound success afterplaying them with beautiful, round sound, effortless technique and blatant musicality". ABC.García Del Busto. Madrid 2000.
With her love of contemporary music and desire to develop the guitar repertoire, Iliana Matoshas premiered works by numerous composers, including Leo Brouwer, Carlos Rafael Rivera,Eduardo Morales, Tomás Marco, Zulema de la Cruz, Gabriel Estarellas, Flores Chaviano, IleanaPérez, Madays Andino, Ñico Rojas, Yalil Guerra, Luis Mario Ochoa and Eduardo Martín. Aswell, she has performed extensively throughout Latin American, USA, Europe, Africa and theMiddle East.
In addition to this, she regularly gives master classes all over the world and has performed atnumerous festivals such as Cordoba Guitar Festival, Spanish Music Festival of León,International Festival of Contemporary Spanish Music, Miguel Llobet Guitar Festival, AntonioLauro Guitar Festival, Monterrey Guitar Festival, Belo Horizonte Guitar Festival, ChicagoLatino Music Festival, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, Lone Star Guitar Festival,Hamilton Guitar Festival, Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, Shenyang International Guitar Festival,Women of the Guitar, among others.
She has recorded for labels in Spain and the United States of America, including GSPRecordings, Albany Records, Gadiraifa and Verso.
She was included in the Dictionary of the Spanish and Latin American Music, SGAE 2000and 2011 Supplement of the Encyclopedia of the Guitar, and her CD “Angels in the Street” waslisted in the “Guitar’s TOP 100" written by the Canadian musicologist Enrique Robichaud.
Living in Spain for the past 20 years, she has contributed to the development of a new generationof Spanish guitarists while teaching at the Royal Music Conservatory of Madrid, Conservatory ofthe Balearics, and the Conservatory of Salamanca. In addition to this, she regularly gives masterclasses all over the world and has performed extensively throughout Latin American, USA,Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Currently, Mrs. Matos serves on the faculty atUniversity of Lethbridge Faculty of Arts & Science (Canada) where she is head of guitar studies.
Over the past three decades, Iliana Matos has established herself as one of the world´spreeminent classical guitarists. As part of her world tour "Celebrating 30th Anniversary as aPerformer" in 2016, legendary Spanish-Cuban virtuoso Iliana Matos completed a tour of 19cities in China, including a concert at the Shenyang International Guitar Festival. NorthAmerican tour have included concerts in 23 cities, being featured by prestigious universities,guitar societies and festivals. In Mexico, she completed a tour of 7 cities, including concert andmasterclass at the International Guitar Festival organized by the Conservatory National of Mexico.