Achúcarro, Joaquín, le;2.375qSpanish pianist and teacher; b. Bilbao, Nov. 1, 1936. He revealed a talent for music as a child but first studied physics. After determining upon a career in music, he studied at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. He won 1st prize in both the Geneva and Viotti competitions, and then pursued further training in Germany and Switzerland. After completing his studies in Vienna and Salzburg, he captured 1st prize in the Liverpool Competition in 1959, which led to his engagement as a soloist with the London Sym. Orch. In subsequent years, he appeared as a soloist with all of the leading British orchs. He also appeared with major orchs. on the Continent, and in the U.S., South America, Japan, and Australia. Upon occasion, he also appeared in the dual capacity of soloist- conductor with orchs. in England, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In 1989 he was appointed to the Joel Estes Tate Endowed Chair in Piano at Southern Methodist Univ. in Dallas, but he continued to pursue an active concert career. In 1992 he received the Premio Nacional de Musica from the Spanish government, in 1996 King Juan Carlos awarded him with the Gold Medal of Fine Arts of Spain, and in 1999 UNESCO honored him with the title of Artist for Peace. In addition to his admired performances of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, and other masters of the Romantic era, he has displayed a remarkable grasp of the Spanish idiom of such composers as Granados, Falla, and Rodrígo.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire