The North Bergen native, considered to be one of the finest classical guitarists in the world, has thrilled audiences worldwide and recorded some of the finest works in his own unique style. But it was always playing someone else's music.
"I never wanted to write music," Del Forno said. "I just wanted to play. But I would do a lot of transcribing of classical pieces for the guitar, taking pieces from people like Bach and putting them to the guitar. All that transcription got me to think that maybe I could write something. But it was just a thought."
However, the simple thoughts led to Del Forno creating his own music.
"Some would take a few days, others would take a few months and still others took years to complete," Del Forno said. "These are things that just sort of came out on their own. I would play one at a concert every now and then and people would ask me if I ever recorded my own stuff. And I would say, 'Not yet, not yet.' "
The time has come.
Del Forno has recently released his latest CD of his own work, entitled "Del Forno Plays Del Forno," a whimsical collection of nine melodious classical pieces that have the distinct Del Forno guitar flavor. His four prior CDs, "Christmas Gifts," "In Concert Part I," "In Concert, Part II" and "Del Forno Plays Villa-Lobos," all featured Del Forno playing other people's compositions.
"I'm pretty happy about it," said Del Forno, who said he first got interested in music while attending North Bergen High School in the late 1960s. "I don't think it will ever be a best seller, but it's a contribution to the guitar repertoire. When I told people that I was putting out a CD with my own stuff, I would get that look that would say, 'How do you plan to sell that?' It's more been a labor of love than anything else, but I still wonder how it will be received."
Del Forno said that being a classical guitarist is "almost like a painter, that you count on getting recognition after it's seen and heard."
He started writing his own classical music in 1985, but his extensive concert schedule never really afforded him the time to complete the works.
"I would start a piece, then finish it a month or a year later," Del Forno said. "From the time you get the initial idea, then you write a few bars, it takes time. Then, the job comes and I have to hit the road and you come to a wall when the writing stops. It takes a while to develop it."
Del Forno said it's also difficult to write classical music with no lyrics.
"Without words, it's hard to follow," Del Forno said. "That's why I wrote liner notes in the CD, so people can follow along and know what I was thinking about, how I was feeling when I wrote the songs."
Del Forno said that he was happy with the recording, which took place in May at the Lobel Studios, headed by famed music master and engineer Mike Lobel, in West New York.
The CD has been released on Juston Records in New York.
"I guess I've been holding this all in for quite a while," Del Forno said. "I really don't consider myself much of a composer. I never thought I would be a composer. I have no idea where it's going to lead, but I'm happy with it."
Del Forno included two songs, "Femininity," which was dedicated to his wife, and "Prelude No. 1," which was dedicated to his mother.
"I've always wanted to write something for my wife," Del Forno said. "I had a lot of ideas, but nothing ever came up. This just came out."
Of course, recording a CD doesn't stop Del Forno from performing. He still has an extensive touring schedule, which will include a stop at the Carlstadt Public Library, located at 420 Hackensack St. in Carlstadt on Dec. 12, beginning at 7:30 p.m., where Del Forno will play excerpts from his Christmas Gifts CD. Admission to that concert is free.
On Jan. 5, Del Forno will perform a concert that is very near and dear to him at the Immaculate Conception Convent Chapel in Lodi, for the nuns who helped to save his life several years ago. Two nuns from that order pulled Del Forno out of Lake Hopatcong after he suffered a head injury while jet-skiing and saved him from drowning.
Del Forno plays a free concert there every year to honor the nuns who saved him.
"I definitely keep busy," Del Forno said. "And it's important for me to play that concert for the nuns. It's part of my regular curriculum. They've become like family to me."
Del Forno said that he's ready for his next challenge.
"I want to conduct concertos, from the guitar straight through to an orchestra," Del Forno said.
Del Forno's sweet guitar tones, set to violins and harps. Has a nice ring to it.
For more information about purchasing his latest CD and future concert dates, visit www.antondelforno.com.