Isaac Manuel Francisco Albťniz (May 29, 1860 – May 19, 1909) was a Spanish pianist and composer, best known for his piano works that are based on Spanish folk music.
Born in Camprodon, Catalonia, Albťniz was a child prodigy who first performed at the age of four. At age seven he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Paris Conservatoire, but he was refused admission for his unruly behavior. After going to the Madrid Conservatory, he ran away and became a vagabond, making a living by playing. By age fifteen, he had already given concerts worldwide. After a short stay at the Leipzig conservatory, in 1876 he went to study in Brussels. In 1880, he went to Budapest to study with Franz Liszt, only to find out that Liszt was in Weimar, Germany.
In 1883 he met the teacher and composer Felipe Pedrell (1841–1921), who inspired him to write Spanish music such as the Suite EspaŮola, Op. 47. The Fifth Movement of that suite, called Asturias (Leyenda) is probably most famous these days in the classical guitar world, even though it was originally composed for piano, and only later transcribed to guitar by Francisco TŠrrega.
During the 1890s Albťniz lived in London and Paris and wrote mainly theatrical works. In 1900 started to suffer from kidney disease and returned to the writing of piano music. Between 1905 and 1909 he composed his most famous work, Iberia (]–1909), a suite of twelve piano "impressions".
Albťniz died in 1909 at age 48 in Cambo-les-Bains and is buried in the Cemeteri del Sudoest, Barcelona.
- The Life and Music of Isaac Albťniz (http://www.lib.umd.edu/PAL/YALE/albeniz1.html)
- Albeniz's Scores by SheetMusicArchive (http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/single_listing.cfm?composer_id=1)