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September 2, 2020

Professor Bernard Hebb has passed away.

It is with our greatest sadness to announce that Professor Bernard Hebb has passed away today after fighting a long illness. Professor Hebb was a classical guitar teacher at the University of the Arts (Hochschule für Künste) in Bremen, Germany for many years. He was also a judge of many classical guitar competitions and a teacher of many generations of excellent players.

Professor Bernard Hebb was born in the state of Massachusetts in the USA and began his guitar studies there with Francis LaPierre. He continued his studies in Vienna, Austria with Professor Karl Scheit and in 1969 he graduated with his Master’s degree.

Professor Bernard Hebb’s performance in Vienna in 1968

For many years, Professor Hebb was a guitar instructor at conservatories of music in Bremen and Hamburg. In 1980 he was appointed as a Professor of Guitar at the University of Arts (Hochschule für Künste) in Bremen, where he played a crucial role in establishing the classical guitar department. He was also a guest professor at the „Escuela de Música de la Universidad de Guanajuato“ in Mexico. Professor Hebb taught many generations of students, including: Professor Bernd Ahlert, Katja Bergström, Ulrich Busch, Reed Desrosiers, Duo Stoyanova, Oliver Eidam, Boyan Karandjuloff, Ulf Kröger, Dušan Oravec, Ki-Bum Park, Uwe Raschen, Leandro Riva and Ralf Winkelmann.

Professor Hebb was one of the founding members of the Zevener Guitar Week (Zevener Gitarrenwoche) and a judge of many international guitar festivals. He taught masterclasses and performed concerts in the USA, Australia and many other countries, including the European continent.

Among other recognitions for his merits, Professor Hebb received the 1973 Gold Medal of Honor from the “Federation of Worker’s Music Association” of Austria (VAMÖ), the Pakhus Prize from the “Århus Art Academy”, Denmark (2002), the Silver Medal (2005) from the city of Zeven and he has been included in Who’s Who in the World (USA) since 2006.

Professor Bernard Hebb will be greatly missed. Until the very end he shared his love of music by teaching classical guitar at various music festivals. This September he was supposed to be teaching guitar at the IV. Deutsch-Polnisches Festival für junge Musiker, Bremen 2020.

Comments (9)

I am so sorry to hear of this today. Although I met him many years ago, I have had contact with him via email.
He was a lifelong family friend since his first guitar lesson from my dad Francis LaPierre. Since I married in 1957 I always lived far from home so sadly never had the chance to really know him as my younger brothers did.
I would like to extend my condolences to his family and may he Rest In Peace.
Carol LaPierre Brewer

Although I’ve known for several months that this day was coming, and having grieved at that time, the profound grief of reality is almost overwhelming. Bernie wasn’t just my teacher, mentor, counsel. colleague, friend—he was family, my ‘big brother’. Bernie was not quite 12 years older than me, and when I met him for the first time in the USA in August of 1969 when I was 17, and then in early November when I arrived in Hamburg knowing only a handful of words in German, he took me under his wing and looked out for who he considered to be his ‘little brother.’ 51 years of memories and love–and for 50 of those years, with his equally incredible wife Ingrid–my ‘big sister’. While this physical stage of his existence has now passed, he will live on through all of his students, and the 1000s of our students, and theirs, etc. It has been more than a privilege to have had the fortune to have been a part of his life–and be his little brother. ‘So Bernie, got any new corny jokes?’

Bernie will always remain clear in my memory as one who loved life, loved to laugh, and had a serious and focused commitment to the guitar and to bringing out the best in his friends and students. His passing leaves an empty space in this world that used to be filled with his fun-loving spirit. Both Bernie and Ingrid warmly embraced me as a fellow American living in Germany in the 70s and 80s. He was a great friend and mentor and through him I was introduced to many other life-long friends and colleagues. That alone stands as a great gift: to bring people to together and create friendships. Rest in peace, dear friend, and shed some laughter onto our lives once in a while.
(Kuenstlerische Reifpruefung, 1981)

I am so sorry to hear of Bernie’s death. He was a big personality, but he was also modest; colourful, but sensitive; he was an inspiring teacher who never lost interest in his pupils past and present. He wrote his memoirs a few years ago and these give an insight into his life and thought, as well as containing many tips for the aspiring guitarist.

I am very sorry to hear of Bernard’s passing. We had been friends and colleagues since my first concerts in Germany in the 1980’s. I remember him as always enthusiastic and generous and open-minded in his musical tastes. He was a fine player and he was an ideal teacher and motivator. Never at a loss for words I shall miss his good humour and happy chatter! My sincere condolences to his family.

Ruhe in Frieden.
Bernard Hepp oder Bernie war einer der ersten Gitarrenprofessoren auf meinen Weg zum Gitarrenlehrer. Ich erinnere mich gerne an die Seminare in Herford und an seine Konzerte. An eines kann ich mich u.a. deshalb gut erinnern, weil wir unsere 2. Tochter mit im Konzert hatten. Bei allen Vorträgen hat sie ruhig zugehört.
Seine Art zu unterrichten hat auch mich beeinflusst und mir manche Hilfe gegeben für über 30 Jahre Gitarrenspiel und- Unterricht.

Thank you Bernie, for enriching my life for so many years as a friend, mentor, teacher, inspirer, colleague and duo partner.

My heart is full of sadness, but my memory full of experiences and happy moments on the road, backstage or at cozy gatherings in private with our loved ones. Where to start and where to end. I must try to do this short, but not easy at all.

Bernie was a great proponent of the classical guitar and its diverse repertoire. His interest and musical knowledge extended far beyond the repertoire of the classical guitar. A knowledge he gladly shared with all of us in his very own and very charming way.

Bernie was an ardent romantic – Sound, colors, Vibrato, dynamics, rubato and lively approach to expression were his hallmarks. Expressions with taste and insight into the genre. Creating lively music was his highest aim. Therefor it was always a special pleasure to play duo with Bernie. Both in rehearsals, on stage or in the studio.

Bernie’s commitment and ability to motivate and willingness to support others was a natural part of his being. Bernie has invited me on many a trip to festivals around Europe. Festivals where I have met so many beautiful people and heard so many amazing concerts and sat on Jurys at competitions. Experiences that have all enriched my life. In addition to his festival in Zeven, Bernie has participated in so many festivals around primarily Europe, but also the United States and Australia. His work as a soloist, chamber music projects and recordings testify to his versatile repertoire and high skills on the guitar.

As a teacher, Bernie was always first and foremost motivating but also expectant. When he was excited, he often showed it with invitations to performances, among other things at his festival in Zeven. In that way He has supported many a young gutiarist, not only his students but also young players he met on the road.

For many years now, Bernie has been a regular teacher and concert presenter at the Aalborg International Guitar Festival and in recent years also as a jury chairman of the competition in Aalborg. In addition, Bernie was part of the board in Aalborg, where he helped us find and invite many a star to visit the festval.

I thank you for your wonderfull friendship, tireless efforts for the Classical Guitar, for your inspiration, contribution, partnership in our duo and for your many gifts for the gutiarfestival in Aalborg, and for your support and anticipation of my efforts and for your trust and support off my ideas.


I will miss him very much.
RIP dear Bernie.

Hi Reed! It’s been a very long time, aye?! So sorry to hear about the loss of Bernie. I’m glad to hear that you two remained close friends all these many years. I only spent a few short months as his student, but those memories are among my favorite. What a character he was! I’ve never met anyone quite like him. Puts a smile on my face as I think about it. He certainly was generous in all respects. Sad coincidence that we should lose Julian Bream and Bernie in the same year. But I’m glad to hear that you are still alive and kicking – hope you are enjoying good health!

Your long lost student,

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