Rodrigo biography – book launch

This month Graham Wade‘s long-awaited biography of the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo has been published. The biography Joaquín Rodrigo – A Life in Music: Travelling to Aranjuez 1901–1939, the first Rodrigo biography to be written in English, was launched at Schott Publications, London on 15 June 2006.


There were many people attending, including Cecilia Rodrigo, the daughter of Joaquín Rodrigo, who is Director of the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation and the guitarists Julian BreamJohn Mills and Cobie Smit.


There has been much excitement surrounding the composer Joaquín Rodrigo during this month of June; not only has the biography been published but there has also been a première of one of his works for solo guitar written in 1933. The manuscript of the Toccata was recently found among the personal papers of the Spanish guitarist Regino Saínz de la Maza (1896–1981). Although the Rodrigo family knew that the work existed, they did not have a copy of the manuscript.

On 1 June 2006 the brilliant young Polish guitarist Marcin Dylla gave the posthumous world première of the Toccata for solo guitar in Madrid. Although the work had been written for Regino Saínz de la Maza, who had planned to play it on his second South American concert tour in 1934, the Toccata was never performed in concert. The work has now been published by Ediciones Joaquín Rodrigo. The Toccata was Rodrigo’s second piece for guitar, and it was the piece on which Rodrigo later based the first movement of his violin concerto Concierto de Estío.

On the 15 June at Schott Publications, there was a double celebration – not only the launch of Graham Wade’s Rodrigo biography but also the British première of Rodrigo’s Toccata. The Toccata was played by the Swedish guitarist Anders Moilin, professor of guitar at the Hochschule Musik und Theater in Zürich, on his 13-string guitar, although the Toccata was written for a standard 6-string guitar.


Joaquín Rodrigo – A Life in Music: Travelling to Aranjuez 1901–1939 is published by GRM Publications. Joaquín Rodrigo was born in 1901 and died in July 1999. As the title indicates, the book only covers the years up to 1939 – a second and third part will follow some time in the future. In 2002, Graham Wade was awarded the Schott Gold Medal for his contribution to Rodrigo studies.

All photographs © 2006 Thérèse Wassily Saba