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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » A » Arriaga, Juan Crisostomo de

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Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga (1/27/1806 - 1/17/1826)

Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga was born in Bilbao, Spain, where his father and brother had strong musical ties to the Madrid court. As a child, he was an excellent and intuitive musician whose promise in the field was cut short with his premature death at age 19. His earliest compositions include the divertimento Nada y mucho (1817), composed at the age of 11, the 2-act opera Los esclavos felices (‘The Happy Slaves’) (1819), and a number of vocal works. His opera was given its premiere in Bilbao in 1820 to great acclaim.

In September 1821, Arriaga went to Paris and was introduced to Cherubini, at that time one of the inspectors of the Paris Conservatoire. He was admitted to study counterpoint and fugue under Fetis and violin with Pierre Baillot. The works composed in this period, like the three string quartets, the stage music for Agar dans le desert, the Symphony in D, and 3 Etudes or Caprices for piano solo, show his continuing strength of invention and artistry in counterpoint. He died prematurely from exhaustion and a pulmonary infection in 1826, 10 days before his 20th birthday.





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