Rodrigo was born in Sagunto, near the city of Valencia, Spain,
on the 22nd of November of 1901.
Rodrigo was blind since the age of three, nevertheless he
became a great virtuoso pianist and one of the greatest composers
in the XXth century.
He studied music under Francisco Antich in Valencia and under
Paul Dukas in Paris.
Rodrigo's most famous work was the Concierto de Aranjuez
(1939 - Paris), a concerto for solo classical guitar and orchestra.
The central adagio movement is one of the most recognizable
in 20th century classical music, featuring the interplay of
guitar with English horn.
The Concierto de Aranjuez is composed in the usual three
movements and scored for a relatively large orchestra - considering
the solo instrument is a guitar: 2 flutes/piccolo, 2 oboes/cor
Rodrigo has been a highly prolific composer, turning out
numerous theatrical pieces, chamber and vocal pieces as well
as concerti for violin, cello, harp and piano.
Joaquin Rodrigo belongs to that group of composers who, in
spite of numerous works of excellent quality with a fresh
sense of creativity, owe their fame to a single and often
overplayed masterpiece. Composed in Paris in 1939, the Concierto
de Aranjuez catapulted its author to instant international
notoriety, setting unreasonable expectations within the world's
musical community which Rodrigo was never able to fulfil.
Yet for the remainder of his life he was bestowed with innumerable
prizes and honorary degrees, thanks to the wide success of
In 1991, Rodrigo was raised to the nobility by King Juan
Carlos, given the title "Marqués de los jardines
de Aranjuez" (Marquis of the gardens of Aranjuez).
He won the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in 1996 (Spain's
equivalent to the Nobel Prize). He was also named "Commendateur"
of the L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government
in 1998 (Commander - Order of Arts & Letters).
He died in 1999 in Madrid. Joaquín Rodrigo and is
buried at the cemetery at Aranjuez.