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Albéniz,Isaac (Manuel Francisco)

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Albéniz, Isaac (Manuel Francisco), eminent Spanish composer and pianist; b. Camprodón, May 29, 1860; d. Cambo-les- Bains, May 18, 1909. He began piano lessons at a very early age with Narciso Oliveros in Barcelona. He was only 4 when he made his first public appearance as a pianist there with his sister Clementina. In 1867 the family went to Paris, where he had some instruction from A.-F. Marmontel. The family returned to Spain in 1868, and in 1869 Albéniz enrolled in the Madrid Cons, to study with Ajero and Men-dizábal. He quit the Cons, by the time he was 10 and set out to roam his homeland, supporting himself by playing in various venues. After an adventuresome sojourn in South America in 1872–73, he returned to Spain to give concerts. In 1875 he played in Puerto Rico, and then visited Cuba and the U.S. before pursuing his studies at the Leipzig Cons, with Jadassohn and Reinecke. In 1877 Count Guillermo Morphy provided Albéniz with a scholarship to study at the Brussels Cons, with Brassin (piano) and Gevaert and Dupont (composition), where he graduated with a 1 st prize in 1879. In 1880 he met Liszt who gave him valuable advice. Albéniz subsequently pursued a concert career in Spain and abroad. After settling in Paris in 1894, he devoted himself principally to composing but also taught at the Schola Cantorum (1897–98). In 1900 he returned to Spain but was again in Paris in 1902 before settling in Nice in 1903. Albéniz helped to forge the Spanish national idiom of composition, one reflecting indigenous rhythms and melodic patterns. A gifted pianist, he composed a remarkable body of music for his instrument. His suite Iberia (1905–09) is an outstanding example.

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