Cañizares is one of the best known international figures on the flamenco guitar and contemporary Spanish music scene. Renowned for the integrity and balance of his musical qualities, his playing technique is a rare combination of brilliance and sensitivity. Acknowledged worldwide as a genius of 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, Cañizares extols simplicity and purity of sound, transmitting a message with a high emotional impact.
His collaboration with Paco de Lucía for more than 10 years (1988-1998) was the most decisive experience in the artistic maturity of Cañizares. He collaborated with Paco de Lucía in Solo Dúo Trío and Paco de Lucía Septet and performed at the most important venues of Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Cañizares is open to collaborate with all kinds of musicians: Enrique Morente, Camaróan de la Isla, Serrat, Alejandro Sanz, Mauricio Sotelo, Rocío Jurado, El Ultimo de la Fila, Leo Brower, Peter Gabriel, Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Peter Erskine, The Chieftains among many others.
As a composer, Cañizares created the musica for the Spanish National Ballet Company for Félix el Loco (2004) and Caprichos (2007). He has also written the soundtracks for films such as La Lola se va a los puertos with Rocío Jurado and Paco Rabal, and Flamenco by Carlos Saura.
He also recorded The Official Torch Relay Theme (Athens, 2004), and has collaborated with several major performers worldwide on more than 100 albums. Besides his recording career and concerts, Cañizares spends a great deal of his time investigating and teaching flamenco. He has taught Flamenco Guitar at the Escuela Superior de Musica de Cataluña (ESMUC) since 2003. Finally, he decided to embark upon a career as a soloist. He now has 5 albums of his own 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 musica: Mike Stern, Don Alias, Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente, Hevia, Kepa Junquera and Pastora Soler, among others. With his fourth album, Suite Iberia, Albéniz by Cañizares, 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. Cañizares' interpretation transports listeners to a world of Spanish tradition and culture. With this album, Cañizares won the Spain Academy Prize 2008 as the Best Performer of Classical Music.
Cuerdas del Alma (Strings of the Soul) is his fifth recording project. The concept of the project consists in the words of Cañizares: "Symbolically, we all have strings in our souls with which to make music. We also have experiences and feelings that "play" those strings to create sadness, joy, illusion, love... I hope that this album caresses the strings of your soul, creating all the positive emotions that you could possibly imagine..." Cañizares has musically put this concept onto this album.
The art director of Teatro Real, Mr. Gérard Mortier, invited Cañizares to participate in the New Year Gala held at the end of 2010 in Teatro Real, Madrid. In 2011, he collaborates with the Berliner Philharmoniker, directed by Sir Simon Rattle, in the orchestra's most important series of concerts, known as Europakonzert. The concert takes place in Teatro Real, Madrid, where Cañizares plays Joaquín Rodrigo´s Concierto de Aranjuez. Cañizares is the first guitarist and second Spanish musician, after Plácido Domingo, to be invited to participate and this occasion is the first time that a flamenco musician collaborates with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Cañizares has recently toured the entire world, performing at the greatest venues in countries such as: U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Montenegro, Finland, Israel, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Japan, among others.
© Amancio Guillén