José Menor has been recognised as a “classical star” (Pianist Magazine), “the great ambassador of Spanish music” (Melómano Magazine) and as a “revolutionary of his instrument” (Hèctor Parra, composer). An award-winning artist and Latin Grammy nominee, José Menor is a pianist and composer, both an acclaimed interpreter of core piano repertoire, and a sought-after performer of new music.
His performance of Goyescas by Granados was declared “magnificent” by Martha Argerich, and was released in July 2017 on the IBS Classical label. The CD was nominated for the 2018 Latin Grammy Awards as best classical album, and was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine (London, December 2017), Choice of the month on Classica France (May 2019), and one of the best classical CDs, internationally, of the year in ABC Cultural (Madrid, 2017), among distinctions and rave reviews in many other international publications and media, including BBC, TVE and RNE (Spanish National TV and Radio), WWFM, and specialized written Press and major newspapers in the UK, Spain, Germany, Canada and the USA.
José’s recent solo recitals include Lille Piano Festival in France, performing the works of Hèctor Parra, Messiaen´s Vingt Regards at the Festival de Arte Sacro in Madrid, Klassik Festival Momentum in Germany, Teatro Municipal Las Condes in Chile, Jacaranda Series in Los Angeles, USA, among many others. Previously, 2016 saw him on a worldwide tour to commemorate Granados’ 100th anniversary, as the Resident Pianist in Granados’ birthplace (Lleida). After opening celebrations with a televised performance of Granados’ complete Goyescas, his tour continued to Carnegie Hall (where his performance was declared “impassioned and eloquent” by New York Classical Review), and then to the ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in China, the ‘Progetto Martha Argerich’ in Lugano, Switzerland, St John’s Smith Square in London, and many others in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus, Switzerland and Italy.
José is also established as a prime interpreter of contemporary piano. His 2-CD set of the complete piano works of Joan Guinjoan was released to high critical acclaim, and he has premiered works by major composers including Benet Casablancas and Hèctor Parra, whose solo piano works he performed at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele in Germany and Barcelona’s Palau de la Música. In 2016 he premiered Parra´s complete cycle Cinq études d’art, dedicated to José, followed by several performances of it in Europe and the USA, and commissioned British composer Sam Hayden to write the cycle Becomings, giving the first complete performance in London in 2017.
His debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in London performing Albéniz’s Concierto Fantástico was highly acclaimed by the international press and launched a series of performance premieres, including a tour in Poland recorded and broadcasted as film by TVC (Television of Catalonia). As a concerto soloist, he has appeared with orchestras internationally including, among others, the Wuhan Philharmonic (China); Montevideo Philharmonic (Uruguay); Redlands Symphony Orchestra (USA); Wroclaw and Bydgoszcz Philharmonics (Poland); Sinfónica de Xalapa (México); and major orchestras in Spain including RTVE, OBC, Simfònica del Vallès, JONDE and JONC. As a chamber musician, José has collaborated with artists including, amongst others, Philip Setzer, Ransom Wilson, Alexander Sitkovetsky and Francisco Fullana.
As a composer himself, his output includes orchestral works, chamber music, songs and piano music. In 2017, José was commissioned by the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical in Spain to compose and premiere a piano étude, New Crossroads, and then performed it in a live broadcast on Spanish national radio (RNE) and on tour throughout Spain. In 2014 he premiered six works for piano and electronics composed in collaboration with videoartist and computer music composer Francesc Martí (at several venues in New York). Other premiered works by José include his string quartet Limits (2001) and his songs in homage to Neruda (2004), for soprano and six instrumentalists. Since 2016 he has developed his ´premiere in progress´ Fragments for Clare, including performances at Spectrum (NYC), Blackheath Halls in London (UK), UCLA´s Ostin Music Center, and live appearances at UK radio. José’s arrangement of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, La petita flauta màgica, has enjoyed runaway success. Written in collaboration with stage director Joan Font (Comediants), it was produced by the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 2001. With almost 150 performances in its first year, the production has now run for 17 consecutive years, touring Spain annually (with versions in Catalan and Spanish), with further tours to France (2003), Chile (2004) and Colombia (2012). A commercial DVD was released in 2002.
Formerly, José was a chamber music professor at the Liceu Conservatory in Barcelona and a Leverhulme Fellow Artist at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London. He has taught in different institutions and offered masterclasses and lecture-recitals in Spain, Italy, Latin America, UK and the USA. His doctorate was awarded at Stonybrook University, USA. José Menor is a Steinway Artist.