The brilliant Spanish pianist, Alicia de Larrocha (y de la Calle), studied piano with Frank Marshall at his Academia Marshall and music theory with Riccardo Lamote de Grignon. She made her first public appearance with a solo recital at the age of five, and was soloist with Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid at the age of 11, performing Mozart's "Coronation" Concerto (K. 537).
Alicia de Larrocha's adult career began in 1940, but she did not make any international tours until 1947, when she first toured Europe. In 1953, she premiered Montsalvatge's Concierto breve, which is dedicated to her, and also made her first visit to England. Her first appearance in the USA was in 1955 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then she has developed an intensive international career, and is now recognised as an artist of outstanding interpretative insight. She is a regular visitor to all the important musical centres of the USA and Canada, and performs regularly throughout Europe, Latin America, Japan and Australia.
Alicia de Larrocha has enjoyed collaborations with a number of eminent musicians, among them Victoria de Los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, and the Guarneri and Tokyo Quartets, and the conductors Sir Colin Davis, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Kent Nagano, and Gerard Schwarz. She also gave a performance of the Concerto for two pianos by Francis Poulenc with the composer playing the second piano part. Her lifelong friendship with Federico Mompou led to the composition of a number of works dedicated to her. In addition to her performing, she took on the directorship of the Academia Marshall in Barcelona in 1959.
Her recent appearances in the UK have included concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, the London Symphony Orchestra and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Giuseppe Sinopoli, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Daniele Gatti, the Hallé Orchestra and Kent Nagano, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz. She has also given recitals for the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals, and at Symphony Hall Birmingham, and the Wigmore Hall and South Bank in London.
Alicia de Larrocha's greatest contribution as a musician has been her unrivalled advocacy of Spanish and Catalonian piano music. Her interpretations of the music of Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Falla, Mompou, and Montsalvatge are universally described as brilliant, authentic, and masterful in tonal colour, texture, and rhythm. She is also exuberantly praised by critics for her impeccable taste and exquisitely polished technique in classical works.
Her recordings, particularly of Albéniz and E. Granados, have received numerous prizes, including three Grammy awards, the Edison Prize, two Grand Prix du Disque, and the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. She is also highly regarded for her recordings of Mozart and French Impressionist music. An exclusive artist with BMG/RCA Classics, current releases include a series of Mozart piano concerto recordings with the English Chamber Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis. Already available are recordings of Mozart piano sonatas, works by Robert Schumann, a Spanish recital disc featuring works by Falla and Montsalvatge, and discs featuring songs and dances by Mompou and works by E. Granados.
Alicia de Larrocha herself has been awarded the Paderewski Memorial Medal and the Principe de Asturias prize, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Michigan, among others, and has been recognised for her talents by the city of Barcelona, the Spanish and French governments, and UNESCO. In 2001, she was named Honorary Member of the Foundation for Iberian Music at The City University of New York. De Larrocha retired from public performing in October 2003, aged 80, following a 76-year career.