Federico Chueca

Federico Chueca

Spanish zarzuela composer
Date of Birth: 05.05.1846
Country: Spain

Biography of Federico Chueca

Federico Chueca was a Spanish composer in the genre of zarzuela. He was born in Madrid in 1846. Showing immense musical talent at a young age, Federico was enrolled in the Madrid Conservatory at the age of 8. Within a year, his compositions caught the attention of the local press. Despite this, after completing his schooling, Federico pursued a career in medicine, as his parents deemed it more secure.

Federico Chueca

In 1865, like many other students, Federico was arrested for participating in a demonstration against the Narvaez government. However, while in prison, he utilized his time by creating several musical works, including a waltz entitled "A Prisoner's Lament." This waltz was heard by Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, who later staged it at the Teatro Rossini, where it was met with great success. Chueca remained forever grateful to Barbieri, considering him his "musical father."

Federico Chueca

In 1867, Federico lost both of his parents during a cholera epidemic. Following this tragedy, he decided to abandon his medical studies and returned to the conservatory. In 1868, Federico composed his famous anthem "General Prim," which later became known as the "March from Cadiz" and eventually became the national military anthem.

In 1874, while working as a pianist and conductor at the Teatro de Variedades, Chueca continued to compose his own music. By this time, he was gaining recognition as a composer of zarzuelas - musical-theatrical performances with dance. It was at this theater that he met and collaborated with composer Joaquín Valverde, resulting in numerous joint works, including "Un maestro de obra prima," "Los barrios bajos," and "La canción de la Lola." Many consider this partnership to be one of the most successful musical duos of the 19th century.

In 1855, Chueca became the conductor of the famous Teatro Apolo, during which time he composed his most famous and perhaps best zarzuelas, including "El chaleco blanco," "Las zapatillas," and "La alegría de la huerta." His final zarzuela, written in 1901, was "El bateo."

Federico Chueca passed away on July 20, 1908, due to complications from diabetes. He was mourned by the entire music community of Madrid. His body was laid to rest at the Cemetery of St Justo, and a square in Madrid was named in his honor.

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