Legendary rock guitarist cites Paganini, Bach as influences

13 May 2013, 09:59 | Updated: 13 May 2013, 10:38

The Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, known for his extreme technical proficiency, has cited Paganini, Bach and Vivaldi as his main inspirations in his new autobiography.

When it comes to rock guitarists, their usual pool of musical influences tends not to cover the classical world. However, Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, who is famous for his virtuosic and flamboyant style, has cited Paganini, Bach and Vivaldi as his chief influences in his new autobiography.

Speaking to NPR, he said that seeing a video of a violinist performing Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin when he was a teenager changed his life: "I completely freaked out, because I knew that's what I was hearing in my head. I decided I was going to use all of the arpeggios and linear notes and wide vibrato of the violin."

He also said that Bach and Vivaldi were big influences on his musical style when he felt "frustrated with the simplicity of rock 'n' roll and blues." Malmsteen also has a son named Antonio, after Vivaldi.

The guitarist has had a long history of crossover into the classical world before now, performing his very own Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1990s.