His name was given him by legendary classical guitarist Andres 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, son of a steelmill worker, Esteban saw his first guitar in a shop window when he was 8 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 legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia, but being self taught, it seemed impossible, since Segovia only accepted students of other classical guitarists, in the traditional settings of master classes. So he gave up on that quest for a while, attended college, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1972, majoring in guitar and English literature. 1968, his first year at university, was the first year guitar was offered at Carnegie Mellon, and the guitar teacher was a cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He really was not an accomplished guitarist, so Esteban was basically on his own once again, teaching himself. He stunned the juries with his amazing self-taught technique, playing his own compositions and performing the Spanish gypsy flamenco-style guitar.
Upon graduation, he began teaching guitar at music studios and performing local gigs, but his quest of studying with Segovia was always with him. He decided to try another way to meet the maestro, since he could not gain entry into any master classes. Esteban left hundreds of messages for Segovia on bright yellow index cards, while Segovia was on his world tours, saying, “My life is meaningless unless I can study with you.” Year after year he sent them everywhere Segovia went.
After a relentless pursuit in Los Angeles, Segovia finally permitted Esteban to play for him 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 invited the student to Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain, for master classes. After these classes, Segovia invited Esteban to Madrid to study privately with the maestro in Segovia’s famous 4th 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 U.S., and in 1978 Segovia gave Esteban his endorsement. Esteban returned to the U.S. and began touring.
One year later, Esteban was in an automobile accident and was hit by a speeding drunk driver. He lost his ability to play the guitar for 10 years, because of severe damage to his left arm and hand. By 1990, through dedication and love of music, he began to again play the guitar he so loved.
Since then to the present day, Esteban has topped the Billboard charts many times with his numerous albums, videos and DVD’s, and has had first-time music history successes never before accomplished by any guitarist. He has been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his famous appearances and record-setting album sales on Home Shopping Network. Esteban enjoyed a full feature article in People Magazine as well as thousands of accolades from newspapers, magazines, and dedicated fans everywhere. He created a musical instrument division for affordable, quality guitars, and one of his big dreams has come true: hundreds of thousands of children and adults who never played before are now playing music. His concerts are memorable moments of the heart, and whether he performs solo or with his band, the reviews are sensational and the experiences exceptional.