Joaquín Turina

1882 - 1949



Turina's music is characterised by a strong Andalusian flavour contained within traditional compositional forms. After initial studies in Seville and Madrid, he spent nine years in Paris from 1905, studying theory with Vincent d'Indy and piano with Moritz Moszkowski. It was in Paris that he became friends with Isaac Albeniz and Manuel de Falla who encouraged him to use traditional Spanish music in his work. At the start of World War I he returned to Spain to work as a composer, teacher and critic, and was appointed as Professor of Composition at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid in 1931.


Joaquín Turina was born in 1882 in Seville and in 1905 he moved to Paris to complete his education as a pupil of Mozskovsky at the Schola Cantorum. His meeting with Isaac Albeniz, who published a dedication to him in his Quinteto Op 1, was influential in the starting of his career. Slowly he abandoned the formalistic academicism of the Schola for a more personal language in which all that is Spanish became his main inspiration. Also he incorporated into his language the impresionism of Debussy and Ravel.

From 1915 he returned to Spain where he maintained a continuous activity in many different musical aspects. He was a notable pianist both as a soloist and in chamber music. As orchestra conductor he conducted performances of Serge Diaghilev’s famous ‘Ballets Russes’. A renowned teacher, he was named professor of the Conservatory in Madrid in 1913, and after the Spanish civil war he was named General Commissary of Music, a post in which he carried out an efficient and conciliatory role. In 1946 he published his ‘Tratado de composición’, a fundamental work for post-war Spanish musicians.

Turina was a very prolific composer with a catalogue of more than one hundred works in which he explored all musical styles: symphonic music, piano solo, piano and vocal, ballet, chamber music. His pianistic output is very large, buoyed by the important contract signed with UME in 1929. At the end of the twentieth century he continues to be one of the favourite spanish musicians amongst the great performers and there has developed a large discography.



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