The Kennedy Center

Manuel De Falla


Manuel de Falla was born in Cádiz Spain in 1876. Although not much is known of his early life, he was a child prodigy who, at the age of 9, began his musical journey.  He was privileged to have been a student of some of the best teachers whereever he lived.  His first teacher was his mother she taught piano and some local musicians gave him instruction in harmony and counterpoint.  He later studied with the distinguished teacher José Tragó.  He then went on to study composition with Felipe Pedrell, a teacher and scholar who led the revival of Spanish music which took place towards the end of the 19th century.  He continued formal musical training in Cádiz and later he studied composition at the Madrid Conservatory.  He wanted to study Spanish country folk music and its compositional style.  He developed a love for the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque musical styles of Spain and for most of the rest of his life was devoted to that type of music.  He used folk songs and put them in simple settings to reflect the use of native Spanish music in his compositions especially by using Andalusian flamenco melodic rhythms and the Cante Hondo melodies.

His family migrated from Cádiz, to Madrid and then to Paris, but when war broke out in 1914 settled in Granada.  During his travel he developed friendships that influenced his musical style.  In Paris he met composers Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas.  While living in Granada he became friends with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca.  Granada strongly influenced his works but the outbreak of Civil Wars made him ambivalent and compelled him to return to his native country.  He moved back to Buenos Aires, where he worked until his death.  He died in Argentina a few days before his 70th birthday in 1946.  Manuel de Falla never married and had no children.
Manuel De Falla


  • Four Spanish Pieces
  • Psyché
  • Fantasia Baetica
  • Spanish Dance No. 1 from La Vida Breve
  • "Ritual Fire Dance" from El amor brujo
  • Suite Populaire Espagnole for violin and piano