Juan Manuel Canizares is worldwide recognized as a genius, contemporary flamenco guitar virtuoso. Canizares, born in Sabadell in 1966, immigrated to Barcelona in the 50´s. When his father won a guitar in a country fair, he soon became an aficionado of the flamenco guitar. Eventually his father encouraged both his sons, Rafael and Juan Manuel, to study the flamenco guitar more in depth. Still being a child, the musical talent of Juan Manual attracted the attention of several flamenco celebrities. At an age of ten years, Juan Manuel Canizares entered the Sabadell Conservatory, subsequently continuing his studies in Terrasa and Barcelona.
Renowned for the integrity and balance of his musical qualities, the guitar playing technique of Juan Manuel Canizares reflects a rare combination of brilliance and sensitivity. His virtuosity, his technique, harmony, strength and sensitivity have distinguished him as a unique artist, considered one of the great flamenco musicians of the turn of the century. Above anything else, however, Canizares praises simplicity and purity of sound, transmitting a message with a high emotional impact.
Juan Manuel Canizares his learning stage reached its climax when he won the Jerez “National Guitar Prize” in 1982, amazing the critics, who welcomed him as “the guitarist of the future”. Still an adolescent, Canizares rapidly embarked upon his professional career, travelling all over Spain. He turned out to be a tireless worker with an open attitude who welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with all kinds of musicians: Enrique Morente, Camaron de la Isla, Maria Pages, Pepe de Lucia, Serrat, Alejandro Sanz, Rocio Jurado, Peter Gabriel, Al di Meola, Mike Stern, Peter Erskine, Vince Mendoza, Michel Brecker, Marc Almond, La Fura dels Baus, The Chieftains, etc. In 1989, he toured with the “El Ultimo de la Fila” band, making him well-known outside the world of flamenco. However, shortly afterwards, the maestro, Paco de Lucia, invited Canizares to join him in his “Sólo, Dúo, Trío” (Solo, Dual, Trio) shows and the “Paco de Lucía Septet”. This was the most decisive experience in Juan Manuel’s artistic maturity: 10 years of tours (1988-1998) on the best stages of Europe, America, Asia and Africa. During one of the tours, Canizares transcribed “Triana”, “Albaicín” and “Puerto” from Isaac Albeniz’s “Iberia Suite” and collaborated with Paco de Lucia when he recorded “Concierto de Aranjuez”, an album containing the three pieces. Finally, he decided to embark upon a career as a soloist. He now has 4 albums of his own and has collaborated with other leading artists on more than 100 recordings.
For his first album, “Noches de imán y luna” (Magnetic Moonlit Nights), Juan Manuel composed a brilliant piece which was a great success among the public and critics alike. On his second album, “Original Transcription of Isaac Albéniz”, he magnificently transcribed the piano sonatas for two guitars. It is a unique piece, not only as a guitar composition, but as a significant achievement in the history of Spanish music. His third album, “Punto de Encuentro” (Meeting Point), is a reflection on the great artists and friends with whom he has worked and shared his music: Mike Stern, Don Alias, Paco de Lucia, Enrique Morente, Hevia, Kepa Junquera and Pastora Soler, among others. With his fourth and latest album, “Suite Iberia, Albéniz by Canizares”, he has completed a task he set himself years ago, having for the first time transcribed the famous Suite by genius composer Albéniz for two guitars just one hundred years after it was first written. Canizares’s interpretation transports listeners to a world of Spanish tradition and culture.
As a composer, Canizares has written for the Spanish National Ballet and different film soundtracks such as “La Lola se va a los puertos”, with Rocio Jurado and Paco Rabal, among others. He was also present in “Flamenco”, the film by Carlos Saura. Juan Manuel’s career never stops. He collaborated in the recording of “The Official Torch Relay Theme” (the official relay theme of the 2004 Athens Olympic Torch). That same year, he was invited by the maestro Leo Brouwer, to the “2004 Leo Brouwer Havana International Guitar Festival”, where he was a great success at the festival’s flamenco night.
In 2005, he embarked upon the “Mano a Mano” (Hand to Hand) tour, a show combining classical Spanish (Jose Maria Gallardo) with flamenco guitar (Canizares). The Carnegie Hall concert in New York captivated both the American public and the international press. In that same year, Canizares was also part of the Spanish Pavilion programme in the 2005 Aichi (Japan) Expo. In 2007, he wrote the music for the new flamenco show “Caprichos”, premiered with two other pieces in Madrid’s “Zarzuela” theatre by the National Ballet of Spain, with Canizares as the special guest star. Besides his recording career and concerts, Canizares spends a great deal of his time investigating and teaching flamenco. He has taught Flamenco Guitar at the Catalonia School of Music since 2003. He also teaches a “Master Class in Flamenco Guitar”, using his own methods, in several Europea and Latin American countries and Japan.