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Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz (1860–1909) was a Spanish pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on Spanish folk music.Read More...
Born in Camprodon, Girona, Catalonia, on 29th May 1860, Albéniz was a child prodigy who first performed at the age of four. At the age of seven he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Paris Conservatoire, but he was refused admission because he took out a ball from his pocket and broke a glass window while playing with it. By fifteen, he had already given concerts worldwide. After a short stay at the Leipzig Conservatory, in 1876 he went to study in Brussels. In 1880, he went to Budapest to study with Franz Liszt, only to find out that Liszt was in Weimar, Germany.
In 1883 he met the teacher and composer Felipe Pedrell, who inspired him to write Spanish music such as the Suite Española, op. 47. The fifth movement of that suite, called Asturias (Leyenda) is probably most famous these days in the classical guitar world, even though it was originally composed for piano and only later transcribed to guitar by Francisco Tárrega. Many of his other compositions were also later transcribed to guitar - Albéniz himself preferred Tárrega's guitar transcriptions to his original piano works.
During the 1890s Albéniz lived in London and Paris and wrote mainly theatrical works. In 1900 he started to suffer from kidney disease and returned to writing piano music. Between 1905 and 1909 he composed his most famous work, Iberia (1908), a suite of twelve piano "impressions".
His orchestral works include Spanish Rhapsody (1887) and Catalonia (1899).
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