Pablo de Sarasate

Portrait of Pablo de Sarasate

Pablo de Sarasate was a Spanish violin virtuoso, composer and conductor.He was born on 10th March 1844 in Pamplona, Spain and died on 20th September 1908 in Biarritz, France aged 64.

Major Works

“Zigeunerweisen” (Gypsy Airs) (1878) 
“Spanish Dances” (1881)
 “Carmen Fantasy” (1882)

Biography Timeline

Pablo de Sarasate was born on 10th March 1844 in Pamplona, Spain. His father was Don Miguel Sarasate, a local artillery bandmaster. 

1849: He begins violin studies with his father and then from a local teacher.

1852: He gives his first public performance aged eight in A Coruna, Spain which was very well received. A wealthy patron in the audience was so impressed he pays for him to study in Madrid under Manuel Rodríguez Saez where he becomes popular with Queen Isabella the Second.

1856: He journeys to Paris but sadly his mother dies of a heart attack on the train journey. The Spanish Consul takes him in and nurses him back to health from cholera and then funds his onward trip to Paris where he studies at the Conservatory under Jean-Delphin Alard. He lives with Alard’s colleague, Théodore de Lassabathie, administrator of the Conservatoy. 

1860: He makes his Paris debut as a concert violinist and thereafter tours Europe and the Americas gaining fame wherever he goes.

1861: He enters the Premier Prix competition at the Conservatory and wins First Prize, He makes his London debut.

1862:  He composes Fantaisie-Capric” for violin and piano.

1863: Camille Saint-Saens writes “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” for him. Many other composers become so impressed with his playing that they also write pieces for him including Max Bruch and Antonin Dvorak.

1865: He composes “Souvenir de Faust” From Gounod’s opera) for violin and piano.

1866: He composes “Homenaje a Rossini” for Violin and piano.

1871: He composes “Los Pájaros de Chile” (The Birds of Chile) for violin and piano.

1874: He composes a “New Fantasy on Faust” and a “Fantasy on Der Freischutz” (from Carl Maria von Weber’s opera) both for violin and orchestra.

1877: His most performed works are the “Spanish Dances” which he begins to write this year and continues until 1881. He composes variations of themes from Mozart’s “Die Zauberflotte” (The Magic Flute).

1878: He composes his most popular work, “Zigeunerweise” (Gypsy Airs) for violin and orchestra.

1880: Max Bruch dedicates his “Scottish Fantasy” to him.

1882: He composes the “Carmen Fantasy” for violin and orchestra from themes in George Bizet’s opera.

1883: He composes “Serenata Andaluza” (Andalusian Serenade).

1885: He composes “Bolero”.

1901: He composes “La Chasse” (The Hunt) for violin and orchestra.

1904: He makes a small number of phonograph recordings.

Pablo de Sarasate died from chronic bronchitis on 20th September 1908 in Biarritz, France. He bequeathed his Stradivarius violin to the Musee de la Musique in Paris. He was buried in the Cementerio Municipal de San José in Pamplona, Spain.