Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo was born in Valencia in 1901 on the Feast Day of St Cecila, patron saint of music. The youngest of ten children, he was blinded by diphtheria at age three and learned to play the piano and violin with the help of Braille. By 1924, his orchestral work was being performed in Valencia and Madrid. He moved to Paris soon after, mixing with other composers including Ravel, Milhaud and de Falla. It was in Paris that he met his wife and lifetime partner, Turkish pianist Victoria Kamhi. They married in 1933. In 1939, shortly before moving back to Spain, Rodrigo composed the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar. It became one of the 20th century's best-known pieces of classical music. Named after a town southeast of Madrid, it was first performed in Barcelona in 1940. Concert-goers loved its flamenco-influenced melodies. Jazz legend Miles Davis recorded a version in his Sketches of Spain, giving the piece and Rodrigo a new and appreciative audience. Rodrigo died in 1999.

Other languages: Spanish.

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