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Manuel de Falla

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Biography

Manuel de Falla y Matheu (November 23, 1876 – November 14, 1946) was a Spanish composer of classical music.

Manuel de Falla was born in Cádiz. His early teacher in music was his mother; at the age of 9 he was introduced to his first piano professor. From the late 1890s he studied music in Madrid, piano with José Tragó and composition with Felipe Pedrell. In 1899 by unanimous vote he was awarded the first prize at the piano competition at his school of music, and around that year he started to use de with his first surname, making de Falla the name he became known as from that time on.

It was from Felipe Pedrell, during the Madrid period, that de Falla became interested in native Spanish music, particularly Andalusian (specifically cante jondo), the influence of which can be strongly felt in many of his works. Among his early pieces are a number of zarzuelas, but his first important work was the one-act opera La vida breve (A Brief Life, written in 1905, though revised before its premiere in 1913).

De Falla spent the years 1907 to 1914 in Paris, where he met a number of composers who had an influence on his style, including the impressionists Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas. He wrote little more music, however, until his return to Madrid at the beginning of World War I. While at no stage was he a prolific composer, it was then that he entered into his mature creative period.

In Madrid he composed several of his best known pieces, including:

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