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His name was given to him by legendary classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, who called him “Esteban” during his years of study with the master in Spain (1974–1978) and in the United States. Born Stephen Paul in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the son of a steel mill worker, Esteban saw his first guitar in a shop window when he was eight years old. His uncle bought it for him and Esteban says, “It never left my hands.”
From that moment on, he focused on the guitar, teaching himself to play and practicing every spare moment. Esteban’s dream was to be able to express his deep inner feelings through his music. He wanted to study with the renowned Spanish virtuoso Segovia, but that seemed impossible since he was self-taught, and Segovia only accepted students of other classical guitarists in the traditional setting of master classes. So, Esteban gave up on that quest for a while, attended college, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1972, majoring in guitar and English literature.
After a relentless pursuit in Los Angeles, Esteban was finally granted a chance to play for the maestro in 1974. Segovia gave him a long list of specific pieces of music to learn and promised Esteban that he would listen to him again the following year, when he returned to Los Angeles for concerts. When Segovia returned and heard Esteban play, he was invited to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, for several master classes. After these classes, Segovia invited Esteban to Madrid to study privately with the maestro in Segovia’s famous fourth-floor studio on Avenida Concha Espina. These were memorable times in Esteban’s life, never to be forgotten.
For four years, Esteban studied with the master whenever possible, in Spain and in the United States, and in 1978 Segovia gave Esteban his endorsement. Esteban returned to the United States and began touring.
Since then, Esteban has topped the Billboard charts many times with his numerous albums, videos, and DVDs. He has been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his famous appearances and record-setting album sales on the Home Shopping Network. Esteban enjoyed a full feature article in People magazine as well as thousands of accolades from newspapers, magazines, and dedicated fans around the world.
With Esteban, you get more than what you see. You get more than the mere physical performance of an artist capable of performing any genre of music.
—Las Vegas Sun