Posted by: janecronin | August 17, 2014

Alicia de Larrocha i de la Calle (1923 – 2009)


Alicia de Larrocha was a Spanish pianist from Cataluña who was regarded internationally as one of the best pianists of the twentieth century.

She began her musical studies at the age of three and was discovered as a child pianist by the Catalan pianist and teacher of English descent, Frank Marshall King.  She joined Marshall’s music school Academia Granados (later called Academia Frank Marshall) where she met other international figures such as Arthur Rubinstein.  When Marshall left Spain during the Civil War, de Larrocha was forced to continue her studies alone for three years from the ages of 13 to 16.

She played her first concert at the age of six at the Universal Exhibition of 1929 and at the age of eleven played with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra.  After the war in 1939 de Larrocha started to tour abroad, playing in many European capitals, but it was in 1954 when she played in Los Angeles that she reached full international recognition for her impeccable piano technique.

Alicia de Larrocha retired from playing in 2003 having given more than 3,500 concerts in five continents.  However, her most prolific work was in the United States where she performed for three months every year.  She has recorded many piano worked, but is particularly known for her interpretations of Spanish composers including Manuel de Falla, Enrique Grandos and Isaac Albéniz.

On the death of Frank Marshall in 1959, she became director of the Frank Marshall academy where she gave master classes when her performing schedule permitted.

De Larrocha has been described as “the best Spanish pianist of the twentieth century “, ” the best Spanish pianist in history ” and ” the best pianist in the world ” by music critics and the jury of the Prince of Asturias Foundation.  She has received honorary degrees and prestigious musical awards in countries all over the world and has been one of the greatest proponents of Spanish classical musical on the international stage.


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