|de Goni, Dolores Nevares|
“A distinguished female, professor of the Spanish guitar, has just arrived from Europe,” according to an 1840 notice in the New York Herald. “Her name is Dona Dolores de Goni, a Spanish lady of exquisite beauty, and still more exquisite accomplishments in Spanish music. During the last spring and summer she gave many exhibitions before the royalty and nobility of England, that brought forth great applause.”
Despite the lavish claims in the press notice, de Goni was only moderately successful in London. She was a hit in America, though. A tireless traveler, by the mid-1840s she was a popular performer across the United States, and she remained one of the most active guitarists on the concert scene until the early1850s. She was perhaps the most accomplished musician among the many European guitarists that immigrated to America in the 1840s. One reviewer, who claimed to have heard the greatest guitarists of the age in the music salons of Paris, favored de Goni over Sor and Huerta:
“This lady has a peculiar art of drawing from her instrument the tones of the human voice. Her playing is a song of continuous sweetness, and executed in a style at once exquisite and dramatic. This lady, indeed, exceeds in what guitarists generally are almost afraid to attempt; and not only does she exceed in the department to which we have referred, but the short pieces which are most natural on the guitar, her performance is, in every respect, charming.”
There was also a Señor de Goni, who was a guitarist as well. Señor and Señora de Goni concretized together for a short while after their arrival, but soon Dolores de Goni was touring and performing with German-born cello virtuoso Gustav (“George”) Knoop (1805-1849). The two were married in 1845, “Senor de Goni having discreetly vanished in some unspecified fashion,” according to Vera Brodsky Lawrence. George Knoop was one of the most highly acclaimed musicians in America. John Sullivan Dwight described him as “perhaps the truest artist who has been among us; a man of genius, if ever such a man has spoken to us through the medium of wood and strings.” The Knoops toured the United States from Boston to Charleston to New Orleans, as well as trips to Mexico and Canada.
De Goni’s fame inspired Christian Frederick Martin to introduce a De Goni model guitar. Martin also made several instruments for de Goni, apparently in return for her endorsement of Martin guitars. De Goni is almost certainly the talented composer for the guitar known as “Mrs. Knoop.”
Copyright 2009, David K. Bradford
 “Musical – The Spanish Guitar,” The New York Herald, Nov. 7, 1840, p. 2 It is likely that De Goni or someone acting as her publicist placed this article – a common occurrence in the nineteenth century.
 “Concerts by the Senora Dolores de Goni and Master George Knoop,” The New World, Vol. 7, No. 20, November 18, 1843, p. 607
 Vera Brodsky Lawrence, Strong on Music. Volume 1. Resonances: 1836-1849 (Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press, 1988) p. 353
 John Sullivan Dwight, Harbinger, Devoted to Social and Political Progress 6:2 (November 13, 1847), p. 11 quoted in Laura Moore Purett, Gottschals, John Sullivan Dwight, and the Development of Musical Culture in the United States, 1853-1865, A Dissertation submitted to the Florida State College School of Music, 2007, p. 104