Isaac Albéniz Biography

Isaac Albeniz was a great musician who revived Spanish music and composed many works based on Spanish folk music. Read this biography to learn about profile, childhood, life, and timeline of this musical maestro.

Isaac Albéniz

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 29 May 1861
Died: 1910
Nationality: Spanish
Sun Sign: Gemini
Children: Alfonso Albéniz, Laura Albéniz
Education: Madrid Royal Conservatory, University of Music and Theatre Leipzig
Awards: Knight of the Legion of Honour

Isaac Manuel Francisco Albeniz Pascual was a renowned Spanish composer and piano maestro. He is respected all over the world for his piano works based on folk music. His piano compositions were so popular that many of them were adapted to other musical instruments like guitar. Musical pieces like Astrurias, Granada, Sevilla etc. are examples of such adaptations. Albeniz’s compositions made Spanish music noted internationally influenced the successive generations of musicians. He travelled across many countries, composed and performed many successful works and thus, became popular across the world and secured a place in the minds of music aspirants. A student of renowned music academies like Paris Conservatory, Leipzig Conservatory and Royal conservatory, Albeniz was very passionate about music. His works are researched and studied even now; an academy called Fundacion Isaac Albeniz was founded to facilitate research of Spanish music and Albeniz’s works. Read the following section of this biography to learn about this musical maestro.

Early Life

Albeniz was born to Angel Albenis and Dolors Pascual on May 29, 1860. His father, Angel Albeniz was a customs officer. Albeniz was a child prodigy; his parents recognized his musical talents at his early ages and arranged music tuition for him. Albeniz gave his first performance at the age of four. Albeniz received his music lessons from famous French Pianist Antoine François Marmontel. He passed the entrance examination for piano at Paris Conservatoire at a younger age of seven but, the authorities denied to enroll him thinking that he was too young to take up piano lessons taught there. Young Albeniz, aged nine, started giving concerts. His father was very supportive and conducted a musical tour throughout Spain. By age 15, Albeniz travelled many countries, giving performances and thus, received wide acclamation. After acquiring musical lessons from Paris, he joined Leipzig Conservatory, the famous German music academy and the renowned drama and music college in Belgium. For his training in Royal Concervatory, he had obtained royal grant due to the kind initiative taken by the Guillermo Morphy, secretary to King Alonso, Brussels. As a thankful gesture to lbeniz dedicated his work Morphy, he dedicated his work Sevilla to Morphy’s wife.

Career And Success

Albeniz was greatly influenced by his teacher Felip Pedrell, a famous composer. It was due to Pedrell’s inspiration that Albeniz wrote ‘Chants d’Espagne’. Albeniz’s career reached its peak during the years between 1889 and 1892. He toured through entire Europe during these years. Albeniz settled in Paris during 1890s. He wrote some musical comedies as well, which turned out to be big success and caught attention of Francis Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer. Monet-Coutts then provided Albeniz with librettos for Henry Clifford and also for the trilogy of Arthurian Operas.

Personal Life

Albeniz tied knot with his student Rosina Jordana in 1883 and the couple had three children. Blanca, his eldest daughter, did in 1886. His second daughter Laura was a painter and youngest son Alfonso who was passionate about sports and played for Real Madrid in early 1900s. He then chose to pursue a career as diplomat. Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, (erstwhile mayor of Madrid), and Cécilia Attias, (former wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy), are great-grandchildren of Albeniz.

Later Years

Albeniz’s health started deteriorating during 1900. He suffered from Bright’s disease. He then started writing piano music, putting end to performances. He composed his last masterpiece, a suite of twelve piano impressions, Iberia in 1908. He died on 18th of May 1909, aged 48, due to Bright’s disease.


Albeniz played an important role in taking Spanish music to its heights. As a token of appreciation, a research center named Fundacion Isaac Albeniz was founded to promote Spanish music and to facilitate researches in Spanish music as well as Albeniz’s works in general.

Major Works

Albeniz’s adopted Salon style of compositions for his early compositions. He was greatly influenced by the traditional composition styles followed by famous musicians like Beethoven, Bach, Chopin etc. Some of his famous works are given below:


The magic opal
Pepita Jiménez
Lancelot (unfinished: 1st act complete)


Cuanto más viejo. Lost music.
El canto de salvación. Lost music.
La real hembra.


Tres suites antiguas
Chants d'Espagne, Op.232
Suite española, op. 97. 4 pieces: Zaragoza, Sevilla, Cadix-gaditana, and Zambra granadina (1883–1888) (1889)

Other Works

Cristo, oratorio
Rapsodia española (Spanish rhapsody), for piano and orchestra (1887)
Catalonia, symphonic poem (1899)

Time Line

1860: Albeniz was born to customs officer Angel Albenis and Dolors Pascual.
1864: He gave his first performance.
1876: He attended Royal Conservatory with a scholarship from King Alonso, Brussels.
1889-1892: Albeniz’s career reached its peak during the years between 1889 and 1892.
1883: Albeniz tied knot with his student Rosina Jordana.
1909: He died on 18th of May, aged 48.

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Isaac Albéniz Biography

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Last Updated

June 10, 2019

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