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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Sagunto, Valencia, Spain
Died in Madrid, Spain

Mini Bio (1)

Joaquin Rodrigo was born on November 22, 1901, in Sagunto, Valencia, Spain. He was blinded by complications from diphtheria when he was three years old. His condition did not improve after a surgery and then glaucoma blinded him completely. Rodrigo confessed without regret, that his blindness predisposed him to music. Young Rodrigo studied piano and violin at a school for blind from the age of eight. By the age of 20 Rodrigo became an accomplished pianist. His first compositions for piano were written in 1923 and premiered a year later. In 1927 Rodrigo moved to Paris. There he studied with Paul Dukas and also became a friend of Manuel de Falla.

Joaquin Rodrigo was responsible for establishing the guitar as a classical concert instrument. He is best known for his three-part 'Concierto de Aranjuez' (1939), the first concert work composed specifically for guitar and symphony orchestra. This innovative concert work was created for Spanish guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza, who premiered 'Concierto de Aranjuez' in 1940 with the Barcelona Philharmonic Orchestra. The work has become among the most well-known pieces of Spanish music. The main theme was borrowed from the Toccata in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach and was tastefully altered and developed by Rodrigo into a beautiful haunting melody. It has been recorded by many classical and jazz performers and was used in film soundtracks. Recordings of 'Concierto de Aranjuez' were made by such guitarists as 'Paco de Lucia', Pepe Romero, and many others, as well as trumpeter Miles Davis, violinist Ikuko Kawai, and harpist Isabelle Moretti. Rodrigo himself did not play the guitar. He composed on piano, which may be a reason why the theme form 'Concierto de Aranjues' is suitable for playing on various instruments. His other works include ballets, film scores, operettas, vocal pieces, and over 25 pieces for guitar.

Rodrigo received several awards and decorations for his music. He also taught music for many years. He was using a special Braille machine and was active in 'Arte y Propaganda de la ONCE (National Spanish Organization for the Blind). In 1933 Rodrigo married a young Turkish musician Victoria Kamhi. She became his life-long collaborator and contributor to his creativity until her death in 1997. Joaquin Rodrigo died on July 6, 1999, in Madrid, Spain, and was laid to rest next to his wife Victoria in the cemetery at Aranjuez, Spain.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Victoria Kamhi (19 January 1933 - 21 July 1997) (her death) (1 child)

Trivia (1)

One of the great Spanish composers of the twentieth century. Totally blind since childhood because of an illness, he was the composer of the "Concierto de Aranjuez", the most famous guitar concerto ever written.

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