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Nicanor Zabaleta


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(January 7, 1907–June 16, 1993) was a Spanish world-class virtuoso and populariser of the harp.

Zabaleta was born in San Sebastián, Spain, on January 7, 1907. In 1914 his father, an amateur musician, bought him a harp in antique shop. He soon began taking lessons from Vincenta Tormo de Calvo (Madrid Conservatory faculty) and Luisa Menarguez. In 1925 he began studies in Paris, where his teachers were Marcel Tournier and Jacqueline Borot. In 1926, in Paris, he made his own official concert debut. Then he travelled to the U. S. and there, in 1934 he made his North America debut. At a concert in Puerto Rico in 1950 he met Graziela and they were married in 1952. They relocated to Spain and Zabaleta began touring the Europe. During the years of 1959–1962 he led a harp class on Accademia Musicale Chigiana courses in Siena.

He performed mainly music of the 18th century, and also ancient and modern music. People who composed for him include Alberto Ginastera, Darius Milhaud, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Walter Piston, Ernst Krenek, Joaquin Rodrigo.[2][4] It is estimated that Zabaleta sold nearly three million records.

Zabaleta’s final concert on June 16, 1992 in Madrid was given when his health was already declining. He died on March 31, 1993 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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