Paco Peña in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Córdoba. Photo: Paul Magnussen
|Birth name||Francisco Peña Pérez|
|Born||June 1, 1942|
|Genres||Flamenco, Instrumental music|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, Guitarist, Dramatist, Mentor|
|Associated acts||John Williams (guitarist), Inti-Illimani, Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company, Eduardo Falú|
Born in Córdoba, Spain as Francisco Peña Pérez, Paco Peña began learning to play the guitar from his brother at age 6 and made his first professional appearance at 12. Encouraged by his family, he left home and began performing throughout Spain as part of a government-sponsored folk music and dance program. This led to calls from professional Flamenco companies in Madrid and the Costa Brava, where Peña established himself as a highly regarded accompanist to Flamenco dance and singing.
Seeking a new challenge, he moved to London he become a soloist in the late 1960s. Initially the star attraction in the Restaurante Antonio in Covent Garden, Peña got so much interest that he soon found himself sharing concerts with stars. He made his solo debut at Wigmore Hall in 1967. It was not long before Peña was touring the world, both as a soloist and an accompanist with performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
He founded the world's first university course on flamenco guitar, at the Rotterdam conservatory of music. In 1984 Peña was interviewed by Julian Bream for the Channel 4 television series Guitarra! which traces the development of the guitar in Spain.