Antonio José

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Antonio José Martínez Palacios (12 December 1902 – 11 October 1936), professionally known as Antonio José, was a Spanish composer. Maurice Ravel apparently said of Antonio José: "He will become the Spanish composer of our century", however, his music lay forgotten until the 1980s.


Born in Burgos, Antonio José became a music teacher at a Jesuit school and conducted the city choir in Burgos. The sheer volume of his work (he died at 33) was prodigious. He penned his first composition when he was 14. He was hired as a director of a musical review in Burgos at the age of 18. He wrote extensively for voice in his quest to present the melodies of his native Burgos to the world. His compositions, especially the Sinfonía castellana and Suite Ingenua, put his orchestration on a par with anything at the time in the twentieth century. His most famous work is a sonata for guitar.

His harmonic understanding put him in the forefront of post-impressionist composers, and though a disciple of Ravel, his particular voice and choice of medium set him distinctly apart. His chief biographer, Miguel Ángel Palacios Garoz, points out that Antonio José was not only a prolific composer but a writer with an intellectually facile mind that was open to influences from all fronts of contemporary music.

He met the same fate as Federico García Lorca: he was executed by a Falangist firing squad in 1936 at Estépar (Burgos).


  • Gilardino, Angelo (1990). Introduction to Antonio José 'Sonata'. Ancona: Berbèn.
  • Palacios Garoz, Miguel Ángel (2002). En tinta roja: cartas y otros escritos de Antonio José. Burgos: Instituto Municipal de Cultura.