Plaça Ricard Vinyes, 25006 Lleida, Spain
Ricardo Viñes y Roda (5 February 1875 – 29 April 1943) was a Spanish pianist. He gave the premieres of works by Ravel, Debussy, Satie, Falla and Albéniz. He was the piano teacher of the composer Francis Poulenc and the pianists Marcelle Meyer, Joaquín Nin-Culmell and Léo-Pol Morin.
Viñes was born in Lleida, Spain. He studied the piano at the Paris Conservatoire under Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, and composition and harmony with Benjamin Godard and Albert Lavignac.
In 1895 Viñes made his début at the Salle Pleyel, Paris. From 1900 he had an international career, touring in Russia and throughout Europe and South America. Between 1930 and 1936 he lived in Argentina, returning to Paris in 1936 where he continued to play until the final year of his life.
According to Charles Timbrell and Esperanza Berrocal in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Viñes's keyboard technique was magnificent and his repertoire extensive. In addition to the established classics he championed new works by the many composers of whom he was a close friend. They included Ravel, Debussy, Satie, Falla, Granados, Albéniz and Déodat de Séverac. He was also a proponent of Russian music, and introduced to France pieces by Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition), Balakirev (Islamey) and Prokofiev (Sarcasmes). Grove lists among the many works dedicated to him Ravel's Oiseaux tristes, Debussy's Poissons d’or and Falla's Noches en los jardines de España.[n 1]
Viñes composed a small number of works, the best known of which are the two Hommages, for Séverac and Satie. He also wrote several articles, mostly on Spanish music, and his diaries are much quoted by biographers of his musical contemporaries. His piano students included Marcelle Meyer, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Léo-Pol Morin and Francis Poulenc.
An annual International piano competition "Ricard Viñes" has been held since 1995 in his birth town Lleida. The city council named one of the city's most popular squares the "Plaça Ricard Vinyes", and the main room of the Llotja de Lleida theatre and congress centre (opened in 2010) is also named after him.
Viñes died in Barcelona at the age of 68. He was unmarried.
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