Paco Peña embodies both authenticity and innovation in flamenco. As guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer and artistic mentor he has transformed perceptions of this archetypal Spanish art form.
Born in the Andalucian city of Córdoba, Paco began learning guitar from his brother at the age of six and made his first professional appearance at the age of 12.
In 1995 The New York Times declared that: ‘Mr Peña is a virtuoso, capable of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man. He combines rapid-fire flourishes with a colourist’s sense of shading; this listener cannot recall hearing any guitarist with a more assured mastery of his instrument.’ It should come as no surprise that readers of America’s Guitar magazine judged him as best flamenco guitarist of the year for five consecutive years.
Since 1970 Paco Peña has performed regularly with his own hand-picked company of dancers, guitarists and singers in a succession of groundbreaking shows. The Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company has taken flamenco into the realm of music-theatre, with regular seasons in London (Royal Festival Hall, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Barbican) and festival appearances in Edinburgh, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Athens, Istanbul, Singapore and Hong Kong etc.
In 1997 Paco Peña was proud to be named Oficial de la Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil, and in May of 2012, he was thrilled to be awarded the Gold Medal in the Arts by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington - these honours were both bestowed by King Juan Carlos of Spain.