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Gerónimo Giménez

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Biography

Gerónimo Giménez y Bellido (October 10, 1854, Seville – February 19, 1923, Madrid) was a Spanish conductor and composer, who dedicated his career to writing zarzuelas, such as La tempranica and La boda de Luis Alonso. He preferred to spell his first name with a “G”, even though it began officially with a “J”.

Although the details of his early years are not entirely certain, Giménez was probably born in Seville and spent his childhood and adolescence in Cádiz. A child prodigy, he began music lessons with his father and continued his education with Salvador Viniegra. By the age of 12, he was already playing among the first violins of the Teatro Principal orchestra in Cádiz. Five years later, he became the director of an opera and zarzuela company, making his debut in Gibraltar with a production of Giovanni Pacini’s Safo.

A scholarship permitted Giménez to enrol at the Conservatoire de Paris in June 1874, where he studied violin with Jean-Delphin Alard and composition with Ambroise Thomas. He received the first prize for harmony and counterpoint. After graduation, he traveled to Italy and then returned to Spain, settling in Madrid. In 1885, he was named director of Teatro Apolo de Madrid, and shortly afterwards, of the Teatro de la Zarzuela.

Ruperto Chapí commissioned him to write the openings to his zarzuelas El Milagro de la Virgen and La bruja. As a conductor of the Sociedad de Conciertos de Madrid, Giménez helped cultivate the tastes of audiences in Madrid for symphonic music.

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