Joaquín Rodrigo, 1901 - 1999
'I approve of a clear type of art, joyful, profound, certainly,
but not obscure.'
- Joaquín Rodrigo
1901 Born in Sagunto (Valencia) on 22nd November (St. Cecilia's
1905 Lost his sight as a result of contracting diphtheria.
1910 Solfa, violin and piano lessons.
1918 Harmony and composition studies with Antich, Gomá
and López Chavarri.
1923 First compositions - works for piano, violin and cello. All
his compositions were written in braille and then dictated to a copyist.
1924 Juglares (first orchestral work) premièred
in Valencia and Madrid.
1924 Diploma in a national competition for orchestral work Cinco
piezas infantiles (later premièred in Paris by the Straram Orchestra).
1927-32 Study with Paul Dukas at the Ecole Normale de Musique
in Paris, soon becoming known as a pianist and composer. Met and became
friends with Falla, Honegger, Milhaud and Ravel.
1929 Met Turkish pianist Victoria Kamhi (an outstanding pupil
of Lalewicz, Lévy and Viñes), who, having previously played
Rodrigo's Gallo manañero, was curious to meet him, and offered
to translate some letters to German publishers.
1933 Married Victoria Kamhi (who became Rodrigo's most important
collaborator) and lived in France and Germany during the Spanish Civil War.
She has represented everything in my life. Everything. Without
her I wouldn't have acomplished even half my work. - Joaquín
1935 Sonada de adiós for piano in memory of Dukas
(who had a particular affection for Rodrigo)
1939 Composed Concierto de Aranjuez in Paris.
1939 Returning to Spain, the Rodrigos lived in Madrid for the
rest of their lives.
1939 Collaborated with the National Department of Music Broadcasts
for Spanish Radio.
1939 Appointed head of the Musical Section of the Spanish National
Organization for the Blind.
1939 Became Music Critic of Pueblo, Marca y Madrid
1940 First performance of Concierto de Aranjuez in Barcelona.
1945 Commission: Alfonso X el Sabio.
1947 Creator and Professor of Cátedra de Músic 'Manuel
de Falla' at the University of Madrid.
1948 Cervantes Award.
1950 Became a Numerary Member of the Real Academy of Fine Arts
of San Fernando of Madrid.
1952 Composed the Musica para un Codice Salmantino, one
of the most important works in his search for more objectivity and less
1953 Awarded the Grand Cross of Alfonso X el Sabio (the Wise).
1954 Elected Vice President of the International Society of Contemporary
1960 Order of Officier des Arts et Lettres of the French
1961 Awarded the Coupe de la guitare (France) for his Invocación
1963 Order of Chevalier de la Légion d' Honneur
of the French Government.
1964 Doctor Honoris Causa - University of Salamanca.
1966 Grand Cross of Civil Merit.
1966 Gold Medal of Merit in Work
1968 Member of the Society of European Culture
1968 Member of the Academy of the Latin World
1968 Member of Honor of the San Carlos de Valencia Academy
1976 Associate of Honor of the Ateneo of Madrid
1976 President of the National Spanish Committee of Music of the
UNESCO International Council of Music (CIM).
1979 Member of the Académie Royale des Sciences, des
Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgigue.
1980 Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts.
1982 Doctor Honoris Causa - University of South California.
1987 Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Valencia.
1987 Member of Honor of Generalitad of Valencia.
1988 Doctor Honoris Causa - Polytechnic University of Valencia.
1988 Director of the Real Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando
1989 Gold Medal - University of Madrid.
1989 Doctor Honoris Causa - University of Alicante.
1989 Doctor Honoris Causa - University of Madrid.
1990 Medal of Madrid in the gold category.
1996 Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts.
1997 Two halls named after Rodrigo - the Hall of Chamber Music
of the Palau de la Música de Valencia and the Hall of the
Cultural Center Isabel de Farnesio de Aranjuez.
1997 Death of Victoria Kamhi de Rodrigo in Madrid.
'We have never been apart. We would not understand life without
one another. Vicky has been, is my luck, my eternal companion, my invaluable
- Joaquín Rodrigo
1998 Winner of the Premio de la Música.
1998 Medal of Honour from the International University of Menéndez
1998 Winner of the Princípe de Asturias de la Concordia
1999 Joaquín Rodrigo died in Madrid on July 6th, aged 98,
of natural causes. TV tributes included those of Rafael Frühbeck de
Burgos, Plácido Domingo and