Nicolás Ruiz Espadero


1832 – 1890


Who was Nicolás Ruiz Espadero?

Nicolás Ruiz Espadero was a Cuban pianist, composer, piano teacher and editor of the posthumous works of American composer-pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

Espadero was born and died in Havana. In his time, he was the most famous Cuban composer, the only one published abroad, the only one who, at least in the eyes of his Cuban contemporaries, could compete with composers from Europe.

Yet of all the Cuban composers of the 19th and early 20th century he was the most parochial and idiosyncratic one. Without schooling and formal musical training, he grew into a chronically shy person, emotionally dependent on his mother. He composed and practised a lot, but gave few concerts and had little contact with other people. Espadero never left Cuba, indeed he seldom ever left Havana or for that sense his own house, where he lived with seventeen cats, surrounded by stacks of European music scores, mostly mediocre ones. Universally described as a recluse, he died from accidental burns after his usual bath in alcohol - one of several musicians to die of rather unnatural causes.

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Feb 15, 1832
Aug 30, 1890

on July 23, 2013


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