Alicia De Larrocha

Alicia De Larrocha

Spanish pianist
Date of Birth: 23.05.1923
Country: Spain

  1. Alicia de Larrocha: The Greatest Pianist in Spanish History
  2. Early Life and Natural Talent
  3. Early Success and International Recognition
  4. Worldwide Tours and Recordings
  5. Awards and Later Years

Alicia de Larrocha: The Greatest Pianist in Spanish History

Alicia de Larrocha was a Spanish pianist, widely regarded as one of the greatest masters of piano playing in the 20th century and perhaps the greatest pianist in the history of Spain. She was the first Spanish woman to win the UNESCO Prize in 1995 and was a multiple Grammy Award winner and recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts. It was Alicia who introduced the wider audience to the works of Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados.

Alicia De Larrocha

Early Life and Natural Talent

Alicia de Larrocha was born in Barcelona, Spain. She began learning to play the piano at the age of three under the guidance of renowned Spanish pianist Frank Marshall. Despite being relatively short and having small hands for a pianist, Alicia excelled at playing complex musical compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, and Maurice Ravel. Her long pinky finger and the wide span between her index and thumb were advantageous in tackling difficult passages. However, it was her innate talent that truly set her apart.

Alicia De Larrocha

Early Success and International Recognition

Music ran in Alicia's blood, as both her parents played the piano. She began performing professionally at the age of three and made her first public appearance at the International Exposition in Barcelona when she was just five years old. A year later, she gave her first concert at the World's Fair in Seville. By the age of 11, Alicia had already performed with an orchestra. Her rapid rise to fame impressed audiences, and by 1943, she was considered one of the best Spanish performers.

Alicia De Larrocha

Worldwide Tours and Recordings

In 1947, Alicia de Larrocha embarked on concert tours around the world. In 1954, she made her way to North America and even performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1969, she worked in Boston, giving concerts as part of the "Peabody Mason Concert" series. Alicia's solo piano performances were frequently recorded and enjoyed great success, particularly her interpretations of Spanish melodies. Her recordings of compositions by Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, and Antonio Soler were especially popular. She recorded for labels such as Hispavox, CBS/Columbia/Epic, BMG/RCA, and London/Decca.

Awards and Later Years

Alicia de Larrocha won her first Grammy in 1975 and received her final one in 1992, at the age of almost 70. In 1994, her achievements in music were recognized with the Prince of Asturias Award. She passed away on September 25, 2009, at a hospital in Barcelona at the age of 86. Five years prior, Alicia had fractured her hip and never fully recovered. Her husband, pianist Juan Torra, had passed away in 1982. As she grew older, Alicia's repertoire shifted towards the works of Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.