Free Event

UC Riverside Department of Music presents:

Angelita Romero Distinguished Lecture on Spanish Music and Culture

History as Inspiration in the Life and Music of Joaquín Rodrigo

Dr. Javier Suárez-Pajares

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Renowned Rodrigo scholar Javier Suárez-Pajares will present this year’s Angelita Romero Distinguished Lecture on Spanish Music and Culture, with a paper entitled History as Inspiration in the Life and Music of Joaquín Rodrigo. Dr. Suárez-Pajares is Distinguished Professor of Musicology at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. His talk will be followed by a reception with snacks in INTS 1111 at 3 p.m.

Thursday, May 4, 2023
2:00 p.m.
INTS 1113

Free and open to the public


Reception after the lecture, 3 p.m.

INTS 1111


Download the program


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History was always a primary source of inspiration for Joaquín Rodrigo, a mighty influence on his creative imagination, the spark that triggered his genius over and over again. Rodrigo’s catalogue of compositions is full of references to music of the past. At the beginning of his career, these historical allusions were merely excuses to give titles and atmosphere to pieces like Homenaje a un viejo clavicordio, Juglares or Zarabanda lejana, but they ended up taking shape in masterworks such as the Cuatro madrigales amatorios (1947), the Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954), and the Concierto madrigal (1966), in which Rodrigo demonstrated not only his mastery in the creation of new music from ancient sources but also his lifelong passion for the history of music. The purpose of this talk will be to show the profound impact of history on Rodrigo’s creation and his different approaches to it.




Javier Suárez-Pajares is Professor of Musicology at the Complutense University of Madrid, where he has been teaching History of Music and Music Criticism since 1995. At that time, he had already begun his research on Joaquín Rodrigo, which led him to publish numerous articles, as well as the Iconography Joaquín Rodrigo: Images of a life fulfilled in 2001, the same year in which he curated the Rodrigo’s Centenary Exhibition commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. He has also edited two series of studies on Rodrigo and Spanish music during the 1940s and 1950s.

President of the Spanish Guitar Society since 2013 and editor of the journal Roseta, Suárez-Pajares is also acknowledged as a specialist on the history of Spanish guitar and 20th-century Spanish musical culture. He has contributed articles to major reference works such as Oxford Music Online, International Encyclopedia of Dance (Oxford University Press, 1998), Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Bärenreiter, 1995), and the Diccionario de la Música Española e Hispanoamericana (SGAE, 1999-2002), Diccionario de la Zarzuela. España e Hispanoamérica (ICCMU, 2002-2003), and Historia de la Música en España e Hispanoamérica (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2012).


In 2015 he obtained his first Fulbright grant to develop a research project at the University of California, Riverside, where he began a collaboration with Professor Walter Aaron Clark to write a biography of Joaquín Rodrigo to be published in 2024 by W. W. Norton under the title A Light in the Darkness. Music and the Life of Joaquín Rodrigo. In 2018 he was awarded a second Fulbright grant to conduct research at the City University of New York (Graduate Center) on Spanish musicians active in New York during the first third of the 19th century.

Event Details

  • William Krause
  • Jack Barker
  • America
  • Lorena Alatorre

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