Carles Santos

) is an unclassifiable Valencian artist who began his career as a pianist and later worked in many other creative disciplines, including musical composition, filmmaking, screenwriting, acting, scenic musical shows, graphics, montage, sculpture, photography, poetry, and prose.


Carles Santos began his formal musical education at the prestigious Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona. There, he received awards that gave him the opportunity to continue his studies in Paris, where he worked with Jacques Fèvrier, Robert Casadesus, Magda Tagliaferro, and Marguerite Long, among others. Later he studied with Harry Datymer in Switzerland. In 1961, he began his career as a pianist, with a repertoire that included works by Béla Bartók, Arnold Schönberg, and Anton Webern. During these years, he also played the musical parts of Joan Brossa's "Concert Irregular," which premiered in Barcelona and New York as part of the commemoration of the 75th birthday of Joan Miró. A grant awarded by the Juan March Foundation in 1968 allowed Santos to move to the United States, where he met and worked with a number of avant-garde artists, including John Cage.

In the late 1960s, Santos turned his attention to the production of films, and his oeuvre in this discipline eventually grew to include short films, full-length films, documentaries, and videos. Over the years, he collaborated with such directors as Pere Portabella, Jordi Cadena, and Carles Durán. His own first short film, "L'Apat," premiered in 1967.

During the 1970s, Santos increasingly devoted himself to performing his own compositions, and eventually he decided to play them exclusively. His compositions are decidedly minimalistic and at the same time bear the stamp of romantic, traditional Spanish, atonal, and 12-tone music. In these years and into the 1980s, he took part in a number of important musical events, including the Festival d'Automne in Paris, the Musicalia in Milan, the International New Jazz Festival in Moers, Germany, the Biennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel in Zurich, the Music Theatre Festival in London, Wintermusik '82 in Karlsruhe, Germany, and New Music America '83 in Washington, DC. In his performances, his goal was to avoid the boredom often caused in the audience by certain avant-garde music.

In the 1980s, Santos began to design scenic musical shows, which he staged in such venues as the Sydney Opera House, the Hebbel-Theater in Berlin, and the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona. His musical shows are marked by extravagance, sexual themes, and deliberate provocation, with the goal of questioning established concepts, albeit with a sense of humor. The notes to the 2006 exhibition of Santos's costumes held in Barcelona at the Museu del Tèxtil i la Indumentaria ("Mariaelena Roqué desvesteix Carles Santos" ["Mariaelena Roqué Undresses Carles Santos"] ), indicate that Santos, through his shows, is expressing his loves and fears and attempting to banish his personal demons.

Santos has been commissioned to compose works for a variety of special occasions, including the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and the opening of the 2001 Biennial of Arts in Valencia.

A major retrospective of Santos's works titled "Visca el Piano" ("Long Live the Piano") was held in 2006 at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. The exhibition included videos of his scenic musical shows, graphic and photographic works, montages, and kinetic sculptures. The last category included a waltzing player piano that whirled around the exhibition hall under its own power while playing music by Bach and somehow avoiding running into the other exhibits.

elected awards and prizes

*1990 Premi National de Composició de la Generalitat de Catalunya
*1993 Premi Ciutat de Barcelona (for best musical composition)
*1996 Premi Ciutat de Barcelona (for international projection)
*1999 Creu Sant Jordi de la Generalitat de Catalunya
*2000 Premio MAX (for best soundtrack)
*2000 Premio de la Critica de Barcelona (for best musical show)
*2001 Premio MAX (for best composition and musical direction)
*2002 Premio MAX (for best musical composition)
*2003 Premio MAX (for best musical direction and musical composition)
*2005 Premio MAX (for best musical show, direction, and composition)
*2006 Medalla de Oro del Circulo de Bellas Artes


*1977 "Piano - Obres de Cowell, Cage, Webern, Stockhausen i Mestres-Quadreny" (Edigsa)
*1981 "Voice Tracks" (R. A. Taylor)
*1984 "Pianotrack" (Linterna Música)
*1986 "Perturbación inesperada" (Linterna Música)
*1988 "Carles Santos: Piano" (Grabaciones Accidentales)
*1989 "Five Voices" - Greetje Bijma/Shelley Hirsch/Anna Homler/David Moss/Carles Santos (Intakt Records)
*1991 "Belmonte" - Banda Simfònica de la Unió Musical de Llíria - Carles Santos (Virgin España)
*1992 "Música para las Ceremonias Olímpicas Barcelona 92" - Fanfàrria de Cerimònies, Banda Simfònica de la Unió Musical de Llíria, Cor de València, cor d'Asdrúbila, Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona - Carles Santos (On the Rocks)
*1993 "Promenade Concert: Músical per a una acció original de Xavier Olivé." 20 d’Abril de 1993 (Fundació Joan Miró)
*1995 "Himne del Segon Congrès Català de Cuina" (Indústria Cultural)
*1995 "La porca i vibràtica teclúria" (Institut d'Edicions de la Diputació de Barcelona)
*1998 "Un dit és un dit" (CD inclós en el número 9 de la revista "Cave Canis", Barcelona 1999)
*2001 "L'adéu de Lucrècia Borja" (Universitat de València)
*2002 "Sama Samaruck Suck Suck (Ópera-Circ)" (K. Indústria Cultural)
*2006 "Amores Cage" (Dahiz Producciones)


Musical composition for full-length films

*1968 "Nocturn 29" (together with Josep Maria Mestres-Quadreny; directed by Pere Portabella)
*1970 "Cuadecuc, vampir" (Pere Portabella)
*1975 "Informe general" (Pere Portabella)
*1977 "L'obscura història de la cosina Montse" (Jordi Cadena)
*1981 "Vértigo en Manhattan (Jet Lag)" (Gonzalo Herralde)
*1981 "Barcelona Sud" (Jordi Cadena)
*1984 "Pa d'àngel" (Francesc Bellmunt)
*1988 "És quan dormo que hi veig clar" (Jordi Cadena)
*1989 "Pont de Varsòvia" (Pere Portabella)
*1998 "El pianista" (Mario Gas)

Musical composition for short films

*1969 "Miró l’altre" (directed by Pere Portabella)
*1970 "Poetes Catalans" (Pere Portabella)
*1971 "Semejante a Pedro" (Francesc Bellmunt)
*1971 "Calidoscopi" (Beni Rossell)
*1972 "Umbracle" (Pere Portabella)
*1972 "Cantants 72" (Pere Portabella)
*1973 "Advocats laboralistes" (Pere Portabella)
*1978 "El barri del Besós" (Carles Durán)
*1979 "Laberint" (Agusti Villaronga)
*1979 "La delinqüència" (Jaume Codina)
*1979 "Setmana de la sanitat" (Jordi Cadena)
*1979 "L'ajuntament" (Georgina Cisquella and Pere Joan Ventura)
*1979 "L'agressió quotidiana" (Carles Durán)
*1981 "L'assemblea de Catalunya" (Carles Durán)
*1982 "Eleccions a Las Cortes 28-10-82" (Isona Passola)
*1989 "Romàntic" (Aurora Corminas)
*1991 "Clara foc" (Judith Colell)
*1992 "Art a Catalunya" (Pere Portabella)

Film direction

*1967 "L'apat"
*1967 "L'espectador. Habitació amb rellotge. La Ilum. Conversa"
*1968 "La cadira"
*1969 "Preludi de Chopin, Opus 28 No. 7"
*1970 "Play-back" (together with Pere Portabella)
*1972 "Acció Santos" (together with Pere Portabella)
*1974 "Preludi de Chopin, Opus 28 No. 18"

*1977 "El pianista i el conservatori"
*1977 "682-3133 Bufalo Minnesota"
*1978 "Peça per a quatre pianos"
*1979 "La Re Mi La"

cenic musical shows

*1983 "Beethoven, si tanco la tapa . . . què passa?"
*1983 "Té fina la fina petxina de Xina?"
*1985 "Arganchulla, Arganchulla Gallac"
*1989 "Tramuntana Tremens"
*1991 "La grenya de Pasqual Picanya"
*1992 "Asdrúbila"
*1995 "L'esplèndida vergonya del fet mal fet"
*1996 "Figasantos-fagotrop: missatge al contestador, soparem a les nou"
*1996 "La Pantera Imperial"
*2000 "Ricardo i Elena"
*2000 "El Barbero de Sevilla"


Ruvira, J. "El caso Santos", Mà d'obra, Valencia, 1996. ISBN 84-7274-221-0

External links

* [ Un dit és un dit (a finger is a finger). 36 minutes piece for Cave Canis number 9. MP3.]
* [ Official website.]
* [ Carles Santos at Youtube.]

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