Nicolás Ruiz Espadero (February 15, 1832 – August 30, 1890) was a Cuban pianist, composer, piano teacher and editor of the posthumous works of American composer-pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk.
Espadero was born and died in Havana. In his time, he was the most famous Cuban composer, the only one published abroad, the only one who, at least in the eyes of his Cuban contemporaries, could compete with composers from Europe.
Yet of all the Cuban composers of the 19th and early 20th century he was the most parochial and idiosyncratic one. Without schooling and formal musical training, he grew into a chronically shy person, emotionally dependent on his mother. He composed and continually practised, but gave few concerts and had little contact with other people. Espadero never left Cuba, indeed he seldom ever left Havana or his own house, where he lived with seventeen cats, surrounded by stacks of European music scores. Universally described as a recluse, he died from accidental burns after his usual bath in alcohol - one of several musicians to die of rather unnatural causes (Jean-Baptiste Lully and Charles-Valentin Alkan would be among some of the other ones).
Although brought up in a cosmopolitan atmosphere and surrounded by black Cuban music, he was the one Cuban composer who adopted but little of the local music tradition that inspired Manuel Saumell before and Ignacio Cervantes after him. He had numerous pupils, and some of them became prominent musicians themselves. Nothing of Espadero’s music has remained in the repertoire, yet his later pieces – allegedly his best output, albeit never printed - remain to be investigated. A CD with a selection of his piano music came out in 2006. Source de l'extrait biographique : Wikipedia (Retracter) ... (lire la suite)
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