José Serrano (1873-1941)
Jose Serrano was born in Valencia and had his first music lessons with his father who was conductor of the town band. Later he enrolled at the conservatory in his home town in order to study with Salvador Giner. His interest in the theatre eventually took him to Madrid where he was able to continue his studies with Ruperto Chapí and Tomás Bréton, two leading composers of that uniquely Spanish form of operetta, the zarzuela. While in Madrid, Serrano was also employed as assistant to the composer Manuel Fernández Caballero, who had recently gone blind. Serrano's first great success as a composer in his own right came in 1900 with a short work entitled El motete and, before long, he was being hailed as one of the most popular zarzuela composers of his day. During the year 1907, Madrid saw the premieres of two zarzuelas by Serrano, La suerta loca in June at the Teatro Apolo and Alma de Dios on 17 December at the Teatro Comico. In 1930, following the death of his son, Serrano composed La dolorosa, a work of suitable seriousness. Although he was to live for another eleven years he composed very little more. He died in Madrid on 8 March 1941.
© 2000 Peter Avis
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