Enrique Granados

( Lleida, 1867 - English Channel, 1916 )

Enrique Granados was born in Lleida. His father was a captain in the army. His first music teacher was a soldier, José Junceda, from his father's company. When the Granados family was moved to Barcelona he continued his musical education in Escolania de la Mercè with maestro Francerc Xavier Jurnet. Later on, he entered the Academia Pujol, run by Joan Batista Pujol, who at that time, was considered to be the best piano teacher in Barcelona and taught the most important pianists of Granados generation : Isaac Albéniz, Joaquim Malats, Carles Vidiella and Ricard Viñes. At the age of fifteen, Granados gave his first concert in public where he won first prize awarded by the Academia Pujol. The musicologist Felip Pedrell and the pianist and composer Isaac Albéniz were in the jury panel. Granados began earning a living as a musician playing in the most emblematic cafés in the Barcelona of that time. He also began giving private piano lessons, in particular to the daughters of Eduardo Conde, a businessman who became his first maecenas. He studied harmony and composition with Felip Pedrell, through whom he discovered popular music. This knowledge inspired Granados to compose 'Doce danzas españolas', his first major work, written in 1883. 



In 1887, at the age of twenty, Granados moved to Paris to study with Charles de Bériot, a professor at the Conservatory of Paris. There Granados, accompanied by Ricard Viñes, used to go to the workshops of Catalan and French painters with whom he shared a deep love for art. In 1892 he held his first great recital in the Teatre Líric of Barcelona. In 1892 he performed the 'Concert for piano and orchestra in A minor' by Eduard Grieg for the first time in our country and, a year later, he married Amparo Gal, born in Valencia, with whom he had six children. In 1898 he performed the opera 'Maria del Carmen' for the first time, for which Queen Maria Cristina awarded him the Carlos III Cross. In those years he gave many concerts, mainly in Barcelona, among which should be mentioned the ones he shared with two other great pianists, Joaquin Malats and Carlos Vidiella. In 1900 he founded the Classical Concerts Society and, as well as his role as a pianist, he presented himself in public for the first time as a conductor. He also played his transcriptions for piano of the sonatas of Scarlatti in the Sala Pleyel in Paris and collaborated with artists as great as Jacques Tribaud or Eugène Ysaÿe.

In 1901 he founded the Academia Granados which soon became the school of reference in Barcelona and where he could apply his method on sonority and use of the pedal, the first to be published in Spain. Among his students should be mentioned ; Conxita Badia, Robert Gerhard, Paquita Madriguera, Frederic Longas and Frank Marshall, who was assistant headmaster of the Academy and who continued  his piano school. His work 'Allegro de Concierto' won first prize in the composition competition of the Conservatory in Madrid in 1904. In 1912, the Sala Granados was opened in Avenida Tibidabo, Barcelona, under the sponsorship of Doctor Salvador Andreu. He presented many of his works in this concert hall : for piano solo (Valses poéticos, Escenas romànticas, etc.) for voice and piano (Canciones Amatorioas, Tonadillas, etc.), chamber (string quartet, trio, the 'Doble Quinteto' etc.), the works he wrote for the Teatre Líric Català with words by Apel.les Mestres (Elisenda, Follet, Liliana, etc.). In 1911 he performed his 'Goyescas' or 'Los Majos Enamorados', for the first time in Paris. This piano suite is based on the paintings of Goya. Granados made an opera version which was performed for the first time in the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, in 1916. On the way back from his journey to the United States, having attended the opening night of 'Goyescas' and  given a concert for the President of the United States, Enrique Granados and his wife drowned in the sinking of the ship 'Sussex', torpedoed by a German submarine off the French coast of the English Channel.