Man, musicologist, teacher

A few words on Luis Gracia Iberni

December 3, 2007

Luis G. Iberni, 1964-2007

Perhaps his classes were not a model of methodology and precise calculation. His dishevelled appearance, his being here but at the same time in a hundred other places, those darting eyes that seemed always to scrutinize every sound, every character… those "glorious" examples at the piano! Perhaps all these… and many others.

In recent years he was living hand in hand with his uncle, a certain “Uncle Pablo”, as he was always telling us. Uncle Pablo here, Uncle Pablo there... But whether the class was on History of Dance, on Critics or Musical Administration, Pablo Sarasate had to go back to playing the violin for us. Because Iberni had in hand the publication of his definitive study on the great Navarrese musician when someone, I don’t know who, decided that he should leave us without a “finished” narrative, without his skill and magisterial musicology.

Iberni the musicologist, Iberni the teacher. His classes were sensational because they were anarchic and fabulous. He was a pleasure to hear, a pleasure to read. At one moment he’d ask: “When did you hear La Cara de Dios [The Face of God]?”… The passion and extreme meticulousness that marked each and every phrase of his essential study on Ruperto Chapí opened our eyes to a composer who for decades had been, quite simply, the man who wrote La revoltosa. It’s due to Luis G. Iberni that today, for example, we can say: The man who wrote Margarita la tornera.

Soon, Louis, you can see La Cara de Dios, La cortijera and El puñao de rosas in your Teatro de la Zarzuela. In less than a month La bruja… do we hear something? We do not feel so alone or distressed when we hear Don Ruperto or Uncle Pablo, because you, Luis, by the side of your students, your colleagues, even those who did not know you in person, with your smile and your sensitivity, are part of their music.

Enrique Mejías García

He died in his 44th year: formal obituary at

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3 December 2007