22 November 1901 - 6 July 1999 (age 97)

Joaquin Rodrigo is best known for his 'Concierto de Aranjuez'.
He was blind from the age of three.
Although much of his work is for the guitar he never mastered the instrument himself.






portrait of Rodrigo


Born: 22 November 1901 (St Cecilia's Day)
Place of Birth: Sagunto, Valencia povince, Spain
Father: Vicente Rodrigo Peirats, a landowner
Mother: Juana Vidre Ribelles
Siblings: Youngest of 10 children
Wife: Victoria Kamhi, Turkish pianist
Children: daughter Cecilia
Died: 6th July 1999, Madrid, age 97, 2 years after his wife's death
Grave: in the family grave at the cemetery of Aranjuez.


11 concertos for various instruments including:
- 2 cello
- 1 flute
- 5 guitar
- 1 harp
- 1 piano
- 1 violin
Orchestral work
Choral work including over 60 songs
Many guitar pieces
He was a prolific writer and there is an archive of his writings at the Victoria and Joaquin Foundation

A video interview with Joaquin Rodrigo

Nice to see and hear him talk. The interview is in French but there is an English transcription available if you press the relevant button.

Click on the photo to watch the video

Concierto de Aranjuez 2nd Mov. Adagio - John Williams


“Music fulfills an important educational function because, above all, it cultivates the spirit.”

“I have observed that people who are moved by music are more sensitive to all manifestations of life”

"In life you can never be first in anything...
I only aspire to be an improved Joaquín Rodrigo"

"How would I like to die?
Under no circumstances"

"Inspiration is the result of effort, but sometimes it comes suddenly in a flash. This inspiration exists, but is not as frequent as desired. For that reason, one has to look for it and pursue it tenaciously."

Fantasía para un Gentilhombre - Narciso Yepes 

Life and career

- Age 3 contracted diptheria and lost his sight
- Age 8 began study of piano and violin
- Age 16 began study of harmony and composition. He wrote his compositions in Braille.
- Age 26 Went to Paris. Studied for 5 years at the Ecole Normale de Musique with Paul Dukas. Friendship with Ravel, Milhaud, Falla and others.
- Age 28 Met his future wife Victoria Kamhi, a pianist. They were married 4 years later in 1933.
- Wrote Concierto de Aranjuez while in Paris. According to his wife it was written in response to the miscarriage of their first child.
- 1939 End of the Spanish Civil War. They returned to Spain.
- Active as composer, critic and teacher.
- Professor of History of Music, University of Madrid
- Head of Music Broadcasts, Spanish Radio
- Head of the Artistic Section of the Spanish National Organization for the Blind
- music critic for various newspapers
- tours of Spain, Europe, Japan, Israel, USA, South America
- 1991 King Carlos giave him the hereditary title 'Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez'
- Other awards:
Premio Nacional de Música, in 1983.
Prince of Asturias Award-Spain's highest civilian honor
Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France)


Guitarra: Rafael Aguirre

Links, sources and where to go for more information:

joaquin-rodrigo.com the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation


classical-composers.org brief bio and sheet music

NY Times Obituary

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