The Kennedy Center

Enrique Granados


Enrique Granados was one of the great pianists, composers and also a painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  He wanted to compose in the Spanish tradition of Catalan and Spanish folk style.  He was born in 27 July 1867 in Lérida, near Barcelona.  His father Calixto Granados was Cuban and an officer in the Spanish army and his mother was Enriqueta Campiña.

He began studying music at the age of 8.  His first musical training came from an army bandmaster.  He would go on to study the piano in Barcelona under teachers Francisco Jurnet and Joan Baptista Pujol.  In 1887, he went to Paris where he studied with Charles de Bériot.

He spent a decades building a dual career as pianist and composer, forming successful piano trios with Belgian violinist Mathieu Crickboom and the young Pablo Pau Casals.   He also performed many chamber music concerts with other musicians Jacques Thibaud, Emil von Sauer and Camille Saint-Saens.  He also  painted and was greatly influenced by the paintings of Francisco Goya, a well admired artist.  He became best-known for his work, the piano suite Goyescas.  From 1905-1911 he worked on this suite for piano which was a set of six pieces based on paintings of Goya.

In 1901, he founded the Academia Granados, which became a ‘hallmark' teaching institution which produced many notable musicians, like Paquita Madriguera, Conchita Badia and Frank Marshall.  The school was successful and Enrique Granados maintained his involvement with it until his death. 

In 1912, American pianist Ernest Schelling who was the first pianist to perform Enrique Granados music outside Spain, convinced him to publish his works and encouraged him to convert the piano suite Goyescas into an opera.  In 1916, he performed for President Wilson at the White House and also he premiered his opera Goyescas in New York at the Metropolitan Opera on January 26, 1916. 

On his way back home to Spain he and his wife of 24 years Amparo travelling from London to Barcelona stopped in England to board the steamer ship Sussex, while crossing the English Channel, the Sussex was attacked by torpedoes from a German submarine.  They were drowned when the Sussex sank and were survived by their six children.
Enrique Granados


  • Three Tonadillas
  • La Maja y El Ruiseñor (No. 4 from Goyescas)
  • Allegro de concierto for Piano, Op. 46
  • Spanish Dance No. 5