Following classical training and studies in musicology and jazz, Sébastien Llinares was noticed at the International Music Academy of Cagliari (Sardinia). As a result, he received a scholarship to join Rafael Andia’s class at the École Normale Supérieure de Musique in Paris. Further supported by the Zalesky Foundation, he quickly obtained his Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste. At this stage his professor commented that “Sébastien has a unique talent that puts him on a par with the greatest. A limitless technique allied with a remarkable sound give his music uncommon strength. He shows such facility that one never notices any effort, which is rare even among the greatest guitarists”. Today, Sébastien Llinares explores the repertoire with the intention of creating a new contemporary guitar style, where formal clarity, historical consciousness and spontaneity are allied in a dialogue between styles and epochs. He plays a modern concert guitar by the luthier Graham Caldersmith and a Baroque guitar by Charles Besnainou.
Sébastien Llinares regularly gives recitals in France and abroad, notably at the Salle Cortot in Paris, in the Jacobin Cloisters in Toulouse, at the Institut Cervantes (Paris and Toulouse), at the Téatro Lirico of Cagliari (Sardinia), and at the UNESCO House of Paris. He has also been invited to festivals such as the Festival Radio France et Montpellier, the Novelum Contemporary Music Festival, the baroque festival Passe ton Bach D’Abord!, and the Notti Musicali (Italy).
Chamber music and ensemble music are major components of Llinares’s work. Olivier Desbordes’s Opéra Éclaté invited him to create two productions: the operetta La Belle de Cadix with the Saint-Céré orchestra, and Cantares, a recital of Spanish music with the singer Sarah Laulan. These two shows have toured throughout France.
On occasion he creates more unusual shows, such as a version of the J. S. Bach guitar repertoire revisited in Flamenco style with the Serge Lopez Guitares Trio, or the 2013 Festival of Rabastens Chambre avec vues, where he conceived a show for quartet of guitars and percussion dedicated to American music.
More recently, he formed the Duo Mélisande with guitarist Nicolas Lestoquoy.
From the very beginning of his career Llinares concentrated on composition, and plunged into the world of new music. He developed a project for guitar with electronics, which included both improvisation and composition. From 2002 to 2006, he premiered his compositions in France and Europe in the context of concerts, performance art and sound installations. He collaborated, for instance, with the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Théâtre Garonne, the Printemps de septembre and Siestes électroniques festivals in Toulouse, the Lieu Unique of Nantes and the Belgian festivals City Sonics and Empreintes Numériques. All the works linked to these projects have been released by the record label Nowaki.
Today, passionate about extending the guitar repertoire, Llinares composes and transcribes unknown pieces for his instrument, in the goal of linking the vocabulary of contemporary guitar playing with the expressive power of the classical tradition. In particular, he has recorded and published his own transcriptions of Joaquin Turina’s Poema en forma de canciones, and recently premiered his first quartet with percussion.