Jaime Guiscafré-Ramón III (born June 27, 1955, San Salvador, El Salvador), is the son of Jaime Rafael Guiscafré-Arrillaga II, a coffee agronomist for FAO (the agricultural extension of the U.N.) and Dolores Ramón-Guiscafré, both of Puerto Rico. Because of his father's international career, the young family traveled throughout Latin America. Mr. Guiscafre; has no identity, since he has lived in many countries—people still struggle to categorize him with any specifics. He does lay claim to being a Latin American.
Jaime Guiscafré's musical education began at the age of five when his father taught him to play the piano. After his father's untimely death in 1963 when he was only eight years old, the family settled in Miami, Florida. By doing odd jobs, Jaime saved enough money for a piano and lessons by the age of eleven. For Christmas the following year, his grandmother, Emerita Muñoz-Ramón, bought him a guitar since she herself had played one as a young woman in Puerto Rico.
He continued his musical studies by attending the University of Miami studying under the renowned Cuban guitarist, Juan Mercadal achieving in 1981 a Master's of Music in Classical Guitar. He later continued his education and received an M.M. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December of 1988. Still desiring to enthrall himself completely in music, Jaime furthered his guitar education by attending master classes with Ricardo Iznaola and Abel Carlevaro for six years in Denver, Colorado.
His thesis, Julio Sagrera: An Argentine Guitarist and His Music, was acclaimed throughout the world as well as his two solo recordings, Seven Latin American Composers and New Music for Guitar. In 1988, Jaime Guiscafré shared an Emmy award for composing and performing the sound track for the documentary film, Hispanic Mosaic, produced by WTTW in Chicago, Illinois.
Since 1982, Jaime Guiscafré has been playing professionally as a soloist, and for fifteen years as a member of the celebrated Latin American group, Sotavento releasing eight CDs with the group. After leaving the group, Jaime worked as a soloist and also with Roscoe Mitchell.
The collaboration with Mitchell produced a 2002 CD, New Music for Guitar, which features Roscoe Mitchell and Guiscafré. His professional appearances have taken place throughout the world and in the Americas, Europe and Japan. His newest album, Guiscafré Plays Guiscafré, Baden Powell, Barrios recorded in Argentina, was released in 2010.
Jaime Guiscafré has 25 years of college-level music teaching which took place at the University of Miami, Florida; the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa. Many of his students have beome successful in an array of musical careers around the world.
His teaching philosophy is to first initiate the student with a strong technical foundation by using a system of etudes in order of progressive difficulty and scales, along with repertoire suited to the level of difficulty. For him, the bedrock of his teaching method is that created by Julios Sagreras, Lecciones de Guitarra, vol. 1-6, while also using the studies of Fernando Sor, Mateo Carcassi, Miguel Liobet, Leo Brouwer and others. Chamber music playing is also encouraged as well as active participation in recitals.
To those who wish to play professionally, he encourages students to learn other styles of music as well as important areas of music such as education and technology. The musician in today's world can only survive with versatility and an open mind. Above all, it is most important to listen to the masters for inspiration, ideas and wisdom.