Joaquín Rodrigo was born in Sagunto (Valencia) on St Cecilia's day, the patron saint of music, 22 November 1901. At the age of three he lost his sight as a result of an epidemic of diphtheria. From the outset of his career Rodrigo wrote all his works in braille. In 1927, he moved to Paris to enrol at the École Normale de Musique, where he studied for five years with Paul Dukas. He became known as both pianist and composer, and became friends with Falla, Honegger, Milhaud and Ravel, among others. He continued his studies of musicology in France at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Sorbonne and also worked in Germany, Austria and Switzerland before returning to Spain in 1939.
The music of Joaquín Rodrigo is a homage to the rich and varied cultures of Spain. His first works reveal the influence of composers of his time such as Ravel and Stravinsky, but the personal voice is quickly heard which would go on to create a notable chapter in the cultural history of Spain in the 20th century, where the originality of Rodrigo’s musical inspiration goes hand in hand with a devotion to the fundamental values of his tradition.
Joaquín Rodrigo’s numerous and varied compositions include eleven concertos for various instruments, more than sixty songs, choral and instrumental works, and music for the theatre and the cinema.