Marco Socías was born in Malaga (Spain) on June 6th 1966 into a family of pianists. His father, Horacio, has been professor at the Conservatoire Superior –at that time, he was the youngest professor in Spain; Maestro Joaquín Rodrigo was in the jury at the examinations-. His mother, Julia, has been piano teacher for forty years, and his sister Paloma is nowadays piano teacher and headmaster at the Conservatoire “Manuel Carra” in Malaga. Marco Socías considers these circumstances as a privilege, a gift for his musical development.
He began learning the guitar at the age of ten at the Conservatoire Superior in Malaga, with Carmen Gallardo, who initiates him in mastering the instrument and tirelessly encourages him to keep up practising. From fifth grade on, he takes lessons from Prof. Antonio Company, with whom he obtains his final Diploma.
Already at the age of sixteen, Marco Socías begins to attend many master classes, receiving advices from many Maestros: José Miguel Moreno, Narciso Yepes, Pepe Romero, David Russell, José Tomás and Manuel Barrueco among many others.
At the age of eighteen, he gets a seat as a teaching assistant at the Conservatorio Superior de Malaga; at the age of twenty he passed a public competitive examination for a post as a guitar teacher, and when he was twenty-one he became the youngest professor for guitar in Spain –funny coincidence to his father’s career-.
Always eager for learning, Marco did not want to close himself at that young age into a teaching seat at his hometown, and he decided to go on studying abroad. So, when he was twenty-four he entered as a student at the Musikhochschule in Cologne (Germany) to take lessons from Hubert Käppel, with scholarships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Junta de Andalucía.
He stayed in Cologne for seven years (from 1990 to 1997), moving afterwards to Berlin. In that period he lived from his concerts and master classes, which gradually were increasing in number and importance.
From the beginning of his stay in Germany –and till today-, his friendship to the Italian composer and Berliner citizen Carlo Domeniconi has brought another important impulse to Marco Socías’ musical development.
Not very keen on taking part at guitar competitions –he has been to very few of them throughout his career – Marco has obtained the first prize at the International Guitar Competition “Infanta Cristina” (Fundación Guerrero, Madrid), and the second prize at “Le Printemps de la Guitare” (Namur, Belgium) and Concorso Internazionale di Gargnano (Italy), among others.
His international career begins during his Cologne days (being prizewinner would not bring practically any advantage in this sense), and since then he has performed as a soloist in the following countries:
Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, Algeria,Angola, United States, Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, China, Korea and Japan.
He has performed at renowned halls, such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Symphonic hall and Chamber hall), Philharmonie Berlin, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid (Symphonic hall and Chamber hall), Konzerthaus Vienna, Birmingham Concert Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin (Symphonic hall), Frankfurter Alte Oper, Auditorio de Salamanca, Kursaal (San Sebastian), Baluarte (Pamplona), Manuel de Falla (Granada), among many others.
He has played as a soloist with many orchestras, such as Radio Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and Orquesta National de Cuba, just to mention a few.
Among many conductors he has played under, it is worth to highlight Sir Neville Marriner, Josep Pons, Víctor Pablo Pérez, Odon Alonso and Leo Brouwer.
These are some important musical events in Marco Socías’ career:
- At the age of sixteen he was chosen by Andrew Lawrence-King (renowned renaissance and baroque harpist) to perform duo recitals –when Mr. Lawrence-King was still singing as a countertenor-.
- His first performance of Concierto de Aranjuez was in Montreal (Canada, 1992), with the Montreal Chamber Players, under Francisco de Gálvez. Since then, Marco has played this piece more than sixty times.
- He took part at the Homage to Joaquín Rodrigo at his centenary, playing “Fantasía para un Gentilhombre” at the Konzerthaus Berlin, under Víctor Pablo Pérez. Pianist Joaquín Achúcarro took also part at this event.
- He performed “Concierto de Aranjuez” for 7.000 people at the Berlin Festival “Klassik Open Air”.
- Chamber music concert at the Chamber music Hall of Philharmonie Berlin, with Atheneum Quartet, musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic.
- Trio concerts, with Laurentius Dinca (first violin of the Berlin Philharmonic) and Cornelia Gehlmann (flute).
- First performance of “Concierto de Gibralfaro” for two guitars and orchestra by Antón García Abril, with guitarist Gabriel Estarellas and conductor Aldo Ceccato, in Malaga.
- Composer Carlo Domeniconi has written for him the pieces “Incontro”, “Sonata quasi una sinfonia” and the Concerto for guitar and strings n.13 “Cuento Oriental”.
- Tour around the United Kingdom with Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, conductor Jacques Kantorow.
- He has played in the performance of “Vasos Comunicantes” –modern dance on music by J. S. Bach, and choreography by Goyo Montero- in the Symphonic Hall Kursaal (San Sebastian) in duo with renowned dancer Tamara Rojo, Teatro Maestranza (Sevilla), Festival de las Cuevas de Nerja (Malaga) and Festivales de Granada.
- He takes part of the performances of “Gaku 2B” –guitar music giving accompaniment to several ancient Japanese arts, as Noh Drama, Ohtsusumi and Waka Chant- with Ken Maeda as artistic director. It has been performed in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto), Luxemburg, Germany and France.
Marco Socías has recorded eight Compact Discs:
- “Concerto n. 1, Op. 30”, by Mauro Giuliani, with the National Orchestra of Belgium, recorded live at the final session of the competition “Le Printemps de la Guitare” in 1988. It is the complete version (no cuts, as often played), and the instrumentation includes the wind instruments as well.
- “Música para Guitarra” (1993), with music by Emilio Pujol, Miguel Llobet and Federico Mompou, for the label “Ópera Tres”, Socías’ first solo recording. His teacher Hubert Käppel was the sound engineer. He prepared Mompou’s “Suite Compostelana” with Horacio Socías, Marco’s father, as he was Mompou’s favorite student during the Piano Master classes in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
- “Concerto Mediterraneo” (“Akdeniz Guitar Concerto”) for two guitars and orchestra, by Carlo Domeniconi. Socías plays together with the composer and the Istanbul Sinfonietta. The world premiere of this piece and the recording of this Compact Disc were done under pretty special circumstances, in 1995: due to the sudden impossibility that those events were carried out by the Amadeus Guitar Duo, as scheduled, it was determined (five days before the performance in Istanbul!) that Marco Socías and the composer learn the piece and bring out the whole project.
- “Elogio de la Guitarra” (1997), with solo guitar music by Joaquín Rodrigo, for the label “Ópera Tres”. In this period, Marco Socías played these pieces for Maestro Rodrigo at his home in Madrid. As a result of this meeting, and after hearing the Maestro Marco’s recording, is the following comment:
“A new recording of my guitar works is always a cause of satisfaction. But in the case of this young Spanish performer, that satisfaction becomes delight. Marco Socías offers a profound and emotional journey through some of my most emblematic works with genuine musicality and a powerful technique.”
Joaquín Rodrigo, January 1998.
- “Álbum de Colien”, a project by Cecilia Colien Honneger, for which she commissioned thirty pieces for solo guitar to the same number of Spanish and Portuguese composers, written for poems by women from old civilizations (Chinese, Greek, Japanese). Marco Socías’ work with the composers meant a very interesting learning for him, as well as another step further on his musical development. The recording was done in Italy in 1997.
- “Cantares”, with songs by Manuel de Falla, Federico García Lorca and Roberto Gerhard, together with Colombian soprano Juanita Lascarro. Recorded for the label “Ópera Tres”, in Berlin in 1999. The transcriptions of Falla’s and Lorca’s pieces are by Marco Socías.
- “Complete Works for Guitar by Joaquín Rodrigo” for the label EMI. Marco performs around forty-five minutes more of Rodrigo’s music than what already recorded for the label “Ópera Tres” back in 1997. Recorded in London in 2001, these Compact Discs are completed with solo pieces performed by guitarist Ignacio Rodes.
- “Concierto de Aranjuez” and “Fantasía para un Gentilhombre” by Joaquín Rodrigo, with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada conducted by Josep Pons, for the label “Harmonia Mundi”. It is recorded in 2001 at the Auditorio Manuel de Falla in Granada (Spain), using only two microphones for the whole orchestra, guitar included. Marco was placed in front of the conductor , among the orchestra musicians, without any amplification or extra take for sound mixing-. Thus was intended to recreate the Chamber-music-style sound, original in the composer’s mind.
Marco Socías is also acclaimed as a pedagogue at Master Classes and Guitar Festivals in many countries throughout the world. He carries out this activity with interest and pleasure, getting fully involved in the lessons, with affability and profundity.
His actual place of residence is Malaga, and he is professor at the Centro Superior de Música del País Vasco “Musikene” in San Sebastian (Spain), where he teaches since its creation in 2001. Students from all over the country, as well as foreign students through the European exchange program “Erasmus”, move to San Sebastian to receive lessons from Marco Socías.