Alicia de Larrocha’s greatest contribution as a musician was her unrivaled advocacy of Spanish and Catalonian piano music. Her interpretations of the music of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Mompou (a lifelong friend who dedicated several works to her), and Montsalvatge were universally described as brilliant, authentic, and masterful in tonal color, texture, and rhythm. She was also highly regarded for her recordings of Mozart and French Impressionist music. She began her career before the age of six with a solo recital, followed by her orchestral debut at the age of 11 performing Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto (K. 537) with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. She studied with Frank Marshall at his Academia Marshall and also studied music theory with Ricardo Lamote de Gignon. Her adult career began in 1940, but she did not make any international tours until 1947, when she first toured Europe. In 1953, she premiered Montsalvatge’s Concierto breve, which is dedicated to her, and also made her first visit to England. Her first appearance in the U.S. was in 1955 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After that, she began performing around the world, working with such artists as Victoria de Los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, the Guarneri and Tokyo String Quartets, Sir Colin Davis, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Kent Nagano, and Gerard Schwarz. She even performed Poulenc’s Concerto for two pianos with the composer at the second piano. In addition to her performing, she took on the directorship of the Academia Marshall in 1959. Her recordings, particularly of Albéniz and Granados, have received numerous prizes, including Grammys, the Edison Prize, the Grand Prix du Disques, and the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. She herself was awarded the Paderewski Memorial Medal and the Principe de Asturias prize, among others, and was recognized for her talents by the city of Barcelona, the Spanish and French governments, and UNESCO. She continued to perform until her 80th year. After breaking her hip in 2007, she suffered an overall decline in health, and died in 2009.
By Patsy Morita / Source: all music
The Aristipposian Poet
The Life You Give: Alicia de Larrocha
in celebration of her life in music
May 23 at 10:30pm EST
Alicia de Larrocha de la Calle was born on May 23rd, 1923, in the fourth floor of 263-bis Córcega Street, on the corner of Enrique Granados Street, in Barcelona. She was the third of four childrens (Teresa, Berta, Alicia and Ramon) born of Eduardo de Larrocha and Teresa de la Calle.
Her mother and her aunt, Carolina de la Calle, were disciples of Enrique Granados, therefore Alicia grew up in a very musical family setting. In addition, she received, since 1927, the wise teachings of Frank Marshall, also a disciple of Granados himself, who continued with the piano school, and who became her sole maestro. Although she possessed extraordinary abilities, both her family and teacher did not wish the young Alicia to suffer exploitation, as did many “prodigious” children in those days. Her public appearances were limited to two or three yearly, always under the control and discretion of her teacher.
On May 14th, 1929, Alicia was presented for the first time to the public in the Marshall Academy, interpreting the works of Bach, Mozart and Granados. The composer and critic, Joaquín Turina, wrote the introduction of the program, describing the surprise and admiration that he felt when he heard the child play with such an exceptional musical talent.
On December 12th, 1929, Alicia gave a small recital during Barcelona’s International Exposition, at the Palace of Missions. Her debut with an orchestra took place on October 28th, 1934, at the Barcelona’s Municipal Palace of Fine Arts when she was 11 years old, whith Maestro Joan Lamote de Grignon and the Municipal Band of Barcelona. She performed the Mozart Concert in D major “Coronation”, concert that she repeated in Madrid on April 1st, 1936, with the Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Alicia’s emerging career took on a forced interruption. She took advantage of that period to study new pieces for her repertoire and compose some pieces of youth.
Source: Alicia de Larrocha