Cadiz-born Manolo Carrasco is the most prolific music writer in Spain nowadays. A composer, pianist and conductor, he studied in various Spanish and foreign conservatoires, always achieving the highest honours in composition, conducting as well as piano.
He has received multiple piano awards in Spain and France. The author of the music for the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre and of the Anthem Por ellos -dedicated to the victims of terrorism-, he has released 33 albums in Spain and 20 in different other countries around the world. He has also promoted performances for the public, and has toured around all 5 continents. In 2015 he became the first Spanish artist ever to perform at Moscow’s Red Square and the Kremlin. He has given numerous piano concerts, and has toured and performed all over the world, always achieving great success.
Prizes and Awards
Zipa de Oro for breakthrough artist 1987. Pilar Amo Vázquez 12th National Young Pianists Composition Contest – Albacete. 1993. Delegación Provincial 5th National Contest for Young Musicians – Granada. 1994. Carmen Ibáñez 14th National Contest for Young Pianists – Albacete. 1994. Ciudad de Carlet National Piano Contest in Carlet. 1994. First award winner at the International Piano Contest in Lyon, France. 1995. Oliver Messiaen Gilbert Gaubert International Contest – Paris. 1995. Andalucía at the International World Awards – 1998. Award for the promotion of Andalusian culture -2000.
Education and Training
Born in Cadiz on 15th March 1971, Manolo Carrasco began his musical studies at the Manuel de Falla Conservatoire in Cadiz with Rafael Prieto. After this, he moved to the Higher Conservatoire in Seville with Ana Guijarro and Manuel de Diego, and continued his studies at the Liceo Conservatoire in Barcelona with Ramón Coll. He later went to the El Escorial Conservatoire in Madrid to study composition under the tutelage of Eduardo Armenteros and piano with Anatoli Pouvson. His moved on to the Royal Higher Conservatoire of Music in Madrid, where he studied composition with Antón García Abril and piano with Manuel Carra.
He finished his piano studies in 1992 with an outstanding grade and an honourable mention. In 2002 he also completed his composition studies with an outstanding grade.
He extended his training with further courses, including courses delivered by Vlado Perlemuter (a direct pupil of Ravel), Dimitri Baskirov (Reina Sofía School) and Hans Graff (in Vienna).
He has a wide knowledge of orchestra conducting. At the age of 19, he conducted the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time during the recording of his own album Sueños de Juventud, and he later recorded Al-Andalus and Cómo bailan los caballos andaluces, which he presented in the year 2000 at Chapín’s municipal stadium in Jerez de la Frontera, where he conducted his own orchestra for the first time.
TV Recordings and productions
In 2005, composer Manolo Carrasco produced and directed 25 classical music shows for Galician regional TV channel Televisión Gallega, as well as a series of classical music shows for “Sueños” on Antena 3 Televisión, and for “Nocturno” on Tele 5.
In 2006, he produced and directed 25 classical music shows for TeleMadrid. He also produced “Únicos” for Antena 3 Televisión alongside Nano de Jerez, Rancapino and José Mercé. In 2007, he launched his own TV production company called “Eurodelta Music” with his business partner Fernando Bermúdez. He also directed and produced the music for the shows “Diferentes” and “Intermezzo” for TVE’s channels La 1 and La 2, where many leading Spanish artists and major international interpreters performed at such iconic places as the Royal Palace in Madrid and La Granja de San Ildefonso Palace in Segovia.
In 2009-2010, he began to direct and produce different music shows for regional TV channels Canal Sur; Tele Madrid, Aragón TV, Asturias TV, Castilla la Mancha TV, Extremadura TV and Baleares TV.
In 2011, he produced, directed and presented the show “Espíritu Flamenco” on TVE, and he currently directs and produces music shows through his production company Eurodelta Music for the USA, Europe and Japan.
From 2012 to 2015 he recorded at several iconic venues, such as the Almudaina Palace in Palma de Majorca and Viñuelas Palace in Madrid both for TVE and for different regional TV channels. He also produced the show “En clave de noche” for Antena 3, and in 2013 and 2014 he produced the special Christmas shows for Tele Madrid and other regional TV channels
Concerts and Tours
He has done several concerts all over Spain and has toured around the USA, Mexico, the UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Japan and China.
- “Homenaje a García Lorca” Tour – 1998.
- “Al-Andalus” Tour – 2000.
- He composed and interpreted the music of the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre in Paris, Barcelona and Jerez. “Dance Andalucía” Tour – 2001, 2002 (Japan).
- “Aires del Sur” Tour – 2002, 2003.
- “Amor y Fuego” Tour – 2004.
- “Aires del Sur” Tour (China) – 2005.
- “Pasión Andaluza” Tour – 2006.
- “Passionata Andaluza” Tour – 2007, 2008.
- “Aires de Andalucía” Tour – 2009.
- “Sinfonía Ecuestre” Tour, featuring the Madrid Filarmonía Symphony Orchestra in Madrid and the Montpellier Symphony Orchestra in France – 2010, 2011.
- “Vive la Pepa” – 2012
- “Hispania” Tour – 2013-2014
- “Pianísimo Flamenco” Tour – 2014-2015
- “Pasión por el flamenco” (Russia) – 2015
- “Sinfonía Ecuestre” (Russia) – 2015
- “Spanish Flavor” (China) – 2015
• “Manolo Carrasco received the ovation and affection from his Cadiz fans, who applauded -with flamenco-inspired handclaps-, his show A tribute to García Lorca and to the charm of the South, mi beloved homeland at Gran Teatro Falla yesterday. His chamber orchestra, Los Tarantos band -featuring Juani’s guitar, Pepe Torres’s flute and Anabel, Juan and Reyes’s claps and vocals- accompanied his performance of old and new themes, which was further enhanced by Olivia and Pilar Ogalla’s seductive dancing and castanet playing. Julio Pardo’s choir -acting as the first two side vocals- sang the tanguillo-like habanera Vente conmigo, closing each of the two performances. The Cadiz-born pianist offered his hometown audience -gathered at the Falla theatre- a taste of his new show, which, as the artist claimed, is “inspired by horses, one of my great passions”, and which he will soon be presenting at different bullrings in Cadiz and around Andalusia. Two lavishly draped horses came on stage to join the celebration of music, dancing, singing, light and colour. Two large screens placed at each side of the stage displayed close-ups of the pianist’s performance, alternating with visuals alluding to the themes coming out of his keyboard, basically scenes of Cadiz, his people and traditions, as well as the Juan Sebastián Elcano vessel ploughing the waters near the Bay of Cadiz.”
• With only 27 years of age, Manolo Carrasco appeared before music enthusiasts and the general public as the main music referent in the south of Cadiz, almost as an elegant transfiguration of Manuel de Falla, with a breathtaking musical career that, should it be a military range, would make him a General with all honours and with a full army parade marching before his piano, which has already conquered the Americas.
• Even as a child, Manolo would come down from his Cadiz suburb with his pals and, upon reaching the Great Theatre, he would forget about his football. ‘Falla, Manuel de Falla, such a big artist’ he used to think. After a short but intense pause in front of the theatre, which day after day incited him to devote himself to music, he would continue walking. Then, just a few yards down, in the quarter of Santa María, his feet would stop again unawarely. Chano’s voice, coming out of Juan Villar’s folk club use to make him stop and think: ‘what a great talent.’ This is how, day after day, Manolo Carrasco started to give form in his heart, rather than his mind –a few words with him suffice to realise he is a passionate man– what he has now become. His whole life has revolved around the ebony and ivory of a piano keyboard because just around the corner from his home was Falla. But it also revolves around the lament and the clapping rhythm of Chano Lobato because next to him was always flamenco.
• Manolo Carrasco is undoubtedly a pianist with a sound education, we could even say he is a musician that imprints vigour and a great deal of effect in all his compositions, and that his respect for flamenco is unquestionable; we can see he is capable of many great achievements in his musical universe and that says a lot about him.
• His fingers stroked each and every one of the flamenco chords, treating his audience to an array of rumbas, tarantos, seguiriyas, colombianas, bulerías… classic sounds and flamenco twists in the voices of his singers, in the shoes of the young couple that accompanied him with their dancing, and in that Al Ándalus that the musician dreamed up long ago.
• “Under the ambitious title of Al Ándalus we were presented with a show that had all the ingredients of new-generation flamenco, which differs from “pure” flamenco: snare drums, violins, bass guitars and saxophones provided the acoustic support for a night that aimed to take us on a journey across the seas of flamenco. Far from implying that he failed to do so -certainly the pianist showed that he knew how to approach the complex art of flamenco-, I do feel that the excessive acoustics from the rest of the instruments probably eclipsed a pianist who, with less instruments, would have shone much brighter. He did have some brilliant moments like the opening bulerías, where he touched upon jazz, and very brilliantly indeed…”
• But, apart from being a musician and a creator of truly Gaditan music, Manolo Carrasco is a magnificent performer. We must not forget that Spanish Suite by Albéniz and those Andalusian dances by Granados that we listened to back in March; pieces from classical Andalusian authors that we remember with nostalgia and that Manolo Carrasco interpreted on his piano with exquisite and elegant mastery. Both of them are already part of Cadiz’s music history.
• Manolo Carrasco presented his equestrian music show Al-Ándalus, where classical music, heel-tapping, dancing and singing are complemented by an exceptional guest: horses. With this combination, Carrasco aims to envelop the city in the typical atmosphere of his Andalusian homeland.
• As a true virtuoso whose talent knows no limits, Manolo Carrasco runs the risk of musical dispersion, but his talent should help him strike the right balance between discretion and constant search. He is also expected to maintain that efficient harmony between classical rhythms, his many musical quests and that grand piano that is both elegant and traditional and that should continue to offer us many great flamenco surprises sooner rather than later.
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