In 2020, Marco Mezquida unveiled Beethoven Collage, an homage to the celebrated German composer on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
Two years earlier, in his work Ravel’s Dreams, Mezquida offered us a very personal interpretation of the repertoire of French composer Maurice Ravel. Accompanied by cello and percussion, the work earned him unanimous recognition and admiration from critics and the general public alike, as well as an endless list of concerts across Spain, the USA and Europe.
In 2020, Mezquida forays into the musical universe of the genius that is Ludwig van Beethoven, reimagining it with his unassailable creativity. A work born from his profound love for the original masterpieces, but developed from within the prism of a 21st-century improviser and composer, with an impressive background and unrivalled knowledge of myriad musical styles, complemented by the spectrum of resources for which the Mallorcan pianist is so revered. The final result is a modern and contemporary Beethovenian collage, a perfect harmony between might, subtlety, beauty and love.
Beethoven's music, already admired worldwide, teams up with free improvisation, popular rhythms, the world of jazz, Latin music and flamenco in a way that is both organic and suggestive.
Beethoven Collage was presented at the Teatro Principal de Maó on July 4 of this year and at Jazzaldía (Donostia), on the 26th.
The press, concert programmers, the general public and his contemporaries share the consensus that Marco Mezquida Mateos (born in Mahon [Menorca], 1987) is one of the brightest and most promising up-and-comers in the world of music that Spain has seen in decades. He is widely considered as an artist destined for greatness, whichever stage he finds himself on. A testament to this is that the Jazz Music Association of Catalonia has already selected him as the Musician of the Year, not just once, but four times. He has performed his piano solos at the imposing Palau de la Música Catalana—a privilege that is generally reserved for elite and world-renowned pianists—. And he has been hand-picked by countless top-class musicians to record albums and share the stage with them throughout the world.
He has forged a reputation as a prodigious composer, pianist, improviser and bandleader, equal parts eclectic and chameleonic. Jarrett, Schubert, Ravel, Gesualdo and Blay, to name just a few, are all distinct sources of inspiration and their influence runs deep in Mezquida's musical DNA. At only 31 years of age, he has recorded albums with some of the country's most pre-eminent musicians and, thanks to his unrelenting stamina, he already boasts hundreds of concert performances at some of the most prestigious auditoriums, festivals and clubs across thirty countries and four continents.
Born on the 11th of March 1987 in Mahon, Menorca, the son of two teachers, began displaying an affinity for music at just three years old, demonstrating a gift for rhythms and melodies. By the time he was seven years old, he had compelled his parents to push him to study piano at the Municipal School of Music in Mahon, alongside Tomé Olives and Ricard Ramisa. Years later, he studied jazz piano with Suso González, classical piano with Isabel Fèlix and the organ with Tomé Olives.
Since graduating from the Catalonia College of Music (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya, ESMUC) in 2009, Mezquida has become one of the most highly praised and in-demand jazz and improvisation musicians in Spain. His professors included Agustín Fernández, Lluís Vidal, Albert Bover and Luca Chiantore. Lauded for his incredible musical versatility, personality and magnetism, he is now one of the most complete and expressive artists of his generation.
Don't let his work rate deceive you. Since 2015, he has performed an average of 180 concerts per year. He has recorded more than 50 albums with some of the country's most celebrated musicians, including 15 as a group leader or co-leader while recording his original musical pursuits, and 36 as an accompanying or collaborating artist on a wide range of artistic projects.
Some of his most noteworthy projects include Chicuelo & Marco Mezquida; Marco Mezquida & Ravel's Dreams; MAP (Mezquida-Aurignac-Prats); his trio Pieris with Danes Bodilsen and Andersen; his duets with Manel Fortià, Pablo Selnik, Albert Bover, Ramon López and Félix Rossy; and his much-admired solo piano concerts. The style of his performances has gained him the reputation of being a magician of the piano. Also, they allow him to fully show off his aesthetic and creative freedom thanks to his mastery of classical, contemporary, pop, jazz, free improvisation and flamenco musical styles, all of which are evident in his releases between 2015 and 2018.
His love of popular music is apparent in his duos with a vast host of singers. The acclaimed duo with Sílvia Pérez Cruz, the decade-long collaboration with singer Celeste Alías and the duet with composer and singer Alfonso de Vilallonga which pays homage to chanson stand out most.
He has performed and recorded with some of jazz’s most legendary figures such as Lee Konitz, Bill McHenry, Carme Canela, Gorka Benítez and Jordi Rossy, and has formed part of a dozen more groups, including the Giulia Valle Trio, Michael Olivera Group, Albert Cirera & Tres Tambors, Guillermo McGill, Joan Vidal Sextet, Gonzalo del Val Trio and the Marc Miralta Quartet. Besides, he has forayed into the world of dance, regularly performing duets with some of the greats of dance like Sol Picó (winner of the 2016 National Dance Award), Laia Molins and Joan Taltavull.
His projects have adorned the stages of the most famous auditoriums and festivals in 30 countries across four continents, with some of his most notable concerts being at the jazz festivals of Tokyo, Jazzaldia in San Sebastián, Madrid, Montreal, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, London and Buenos Aires, as well as his performances at the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Peralada Castle and the Musikverein in Vienna, among many others. Also, he has played in some of the most iconic and symbolic jazz clubs in the world like Blue Note in New York, SFJAZZ in San Francisco, Unterfahrt in Munich, Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Pizza Express in London, Sunset/Sunside in Paris, Moods in Zurich, Porgy and Bess in Vienna, Jamboree in Barcelona, BMC in Budapest, Montmartre in Copenhagen, Café Central in Madrid and Sometime in Tokyo.
Between 2015 and 2017, he collaborated with and recorded the music for four theatre productions: two successful and award-winning productions directed by Julio Manrique, including 2015’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, produced by Teatro Libre; EVA by the company T de Teatro; and an adaptation of The Little Prince. What’s more, he recorded two episodes of the Catalan television programme Jazz a l’Estudi. He has performed the music of Chopin, Gershwin, Mingus and Amargós, to name but a few, with several classical orchestras and jazz big bands. These include the Balearic Symphony Orchestra, directed by S. Brotons; the Penedès Chamber Orchestra, directed by M. McGuiness; OCIM from Menorca, Classijazz Big Band, directed by Ramón Cardo; and the ESMUC big band, led by J. A. Amargós. His dazzling career is punctuated by a dozen awards. Among them the Altavoz award in 2015, two Enderrock awards and four Musician of the Year awards from the Jazz Musician Association of Catalonia, all of which combine with his teaching positions at the Upper Conservatory of the Liceu in Barcelona and the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC).