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NIÑO RUBÉN

Professional Bassoonist & Composer

Known by his pseudonym, Niño Rubén (in English, Child Rubén) was born in Doña Mencía, south of Spain, in 1997. He is one of the most transgressive artists within the music panorama. Courage, elegance, youth or virtuosity are just a few terms that assure the unquestionable recognition on the part of the audience. His constant research is endorsed by several awards, as well as having the unanimous applause of international critics.


Bassoonist and composer, he possesses an overwhelming style that is born from the flamenco essence. His artistic work stands out for containing an unexpected creative discourse, full of nuances that put some light into his most intimate truth. Rubén is considered to be the creator of flamenco bassoon and the discoverer of a whole universe of new sounds. Thanks to his concerns, he has been able to include the bassoon in spaces where it has never been seen before, revaluing one of the most unknown symphonic instruments.


His inquisitiveness have led him to perform in places such as the Marenostrum Music Castle Park Festival (Málaga), the Cazorla Flamenco Festival (Jaén), the Cartuja Center Cite Auditorium (Seville), the Alquería de Bormujos Flamenco Festival (Seville), the Cordoba Mosque, the Episcopal Palace of Astorga (León), the EDP Gran Vía Theater (Madrid), the International Flamenco Festival of Cante de las Minas (Murcia) or the international conferences of the IDRS. Throughout his career, he has worked with high figures of flamenco such as José Mercé, Alicia Morales, Araceli Campillos, Dorantes, Luis Calderito or David de Arahal; in addition to several collaborations with other prestigious names.


Rubén was born in Doña Mencía, south of Spain, on March 25, 1997. He debuted as a soloist at thirteen, moment in which he began to compose his first works in a totally intuitive way. His artistic sensitivity can be appreciated in several recitals and competitions related to the classical world, from which he will gradually move away. In 2014, he obtained his first recognition, the Special Jury Award of the 1st Seville Double Reed Society Competition, awarded for his «outstanding performance and musical talent». In 2016, one of the most important American publishers dedicated to double reed instruments, TrevCo Music Publishing, published his compositional work as «something totally different, original and challenging». That same year, after participating in the TVE program Virtuosos, Rubén said goodbye to everything which is considered to be orthodox and started an unprecedented enterprising career in the history of music, combining both facets with the fascinating world of flamenco. According to the interpreter himself, the main objective that his music will always pursue is «the absolute freedom».


He began his musical learning at the age of nine in the Conservatory of Music in Lucena, where he finished his studies as one of the winners of the Germán Romero Bellido Award, with one of the best records in his year. During this decade, he learned with numerous instrumental chamber formations and orchestras from all over the national territory. He continued his higher studies in the Conservatory of Music in Navarra, north of Spain, where he received honors in 2016. Simultaneously, he began to sketch his first compositions, instinctively looking for the completely unexplored. Both the lyrics and the music of all of them are mainly influenced by the culture of his homeland, Andalusia. In 2013, he presented his first composition, an intimate “Song without Words”, composed after the death of his «angel from heaven». The next year, the “Pasión según San Lucas” and “Adagio & Burlesque” were premiered in Doña Mencia and Lucena respectively. These first pieces already characterized his unmistakable style, including melodies derived from folklore, rhythms from flamenco music and a constant search, typical of contemporary art. During that year, he got a scholarship from the European Community which allowed him to travel to Turkey and to study his traditional music as a member of a project called “Music, Universal Symbol in Communication”. Thus, he began to increase his discourse through other oral traditional music, being also interested in the own aesthetic of contemporary music. In 2016, his piece “Andante Appassionato & Eight Variations” was proposed for the prestigious Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox International Competition. That same year, his work “Rustiques” was premiered at the Museo Oteiza in Navarra, commissioned by the bassoonist José Lozano, soloist in the Symphony Orchestra of this region. This composition stood out for being one of the first ones to encompass the entire bassoon family, including the quint bassoon (tenoroon) and the contrabassoon. Both are currently distributed by TrevCo Music Publishing.


On June 2, 2017 "Al Toque del Fagot Flamenco" came to light, a work in which Rubén exposed his new playing technique, which was developed for the incorporation of the bassoon into the world of flamenco. This research aims to expose the particular architecture of this art, becoming the first methodology for flamenco instrumentalists related to aesthetics and the interpretation of the genre. After its publication, TrevCo Music Publishing awarded him the distinction of Creator of the Flamenco Bassoon. The singular sound of his flamenco bassoon was not heard until a month later, on July 2nd, through an intimate show in the Doña Mencía Castle (Córdoba), in tribute to the death of the flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla. For the first time, the audience witness the bassoon within this new framework. Surprised by the result, Rubén not only manages to be the first —and currently the only one— flamenco bassoonist in history, but he also manages to start defending it as the protagonist that has rarely been throughout his historical evolution. A few days after showing his innovation, he received one of the Cruzcampo Foundation awards that supports Southern Spain Talent. This recognition allowed him to collaborate in some symphonic shows together with the flamenco singer José Mercé. 


The presentation of his flamenco bassoon continued in front of double reed instrumentalists, within the activities of the XLVII Congress of the International Double Reed Society in 2018. Bassoonists and oboists from all over the world saw him off with a great acclaim and several international critics placed him as one of the most innovative bassoonists so far. Among others, he was sponsored by the Slovak craft workshop of bassoon reeds, called Mikhalchuk Bassoon Reeds. The Australasian Double Reed Society specialized magazine, called Reeding Matter, selected his participation as one of the most representative ones in these international conferences. During his famous recital, he premiered his work "Al Toque del Fagot Flamenco", running out of all the stock of the second edition of the work that same day.


In 2019, he ended his debut in front of the flamenco audience at the Cathedral of Cante during the LIX International Festival of Cante de las Minas in La Unión (Murcia). With all this, he finished the production of the short film "El Nacimiento del Fagot Flamenco" (in English, The Birth of Flamenco Bassoon), also recording at the Lucena Peña Flamenca —the third oldest one in the world— a tribute to Juanito Valderrama with the guitarist Luis Calderito. The president of Peña Flamenca de Lucena reviews: He publishes the documentary with which he launches his innovation to the world. In it, he summarizes his creative conception and how the realization of this original premiere has been. This is the first audiovisual to be shared publicly, because, in the following years, the young musician wanted to be sure that no one heard his innovation. This way, as ExpoFlamenco reviews: «The young musician from Córdoba places this instrument in the front line of Flamenco» (Luis Pérez). On September 7, 2019 he closed the IV Alquería de Bormujos Flamenco Festival (Seville) with a special performance right after the participation of the flamenco singer Esperanza Fernández.


Beyond his dedication as a soloist, he is frequently invited to participate as a teacher or speaker in several projects. His activity as a flamencologist is specialized in the field of composition and contemporaneity of this genre.


His vocation for teaching also started from an early age in his professional career, interacting with children and young people through different educational workshops, transmitting his passion for music. At the age of nineteen, he became a professor of harmony and composition at the University of Granada thanks to the educational support program of the Young Society of Musicology. Since 2016, he has carried out his initiative called "Get a Hundred Percent out of You": they are several master classes aimed at instrumentalists and composers interested in entering or delving into the world of flamenco. The main objective, as its name suggests, is none other than to investigate the personal voice of each attendee. The development of these workshops starts, firstly with a series of collective classes, delving into issues related to the understanding of language and the musical organization of the genre, as well as in its particular interpretative aesthetics. This series of concepts will allow students to compose small musical ideas and work on them later individually, thus being able to range from the most basic to the most advanced levels, and from the most traditional to the most contemporary aspects os this art.


Rubén contributes to make the bassoon increasingly known and valued. His artistic work focuses on the development of the bassoon's scarce repertoire, where he proposes several extended resources and new unprecedented possibilities for this instrument; techniques which are nowadays used as a reference for different contemporary composers. Currently, he works with several international publishers such as TrevCo Music Publishing; although all his flamenco works are self-published and exclusively sold through the platform www.lulu.com. As a curiosity, all the titles of this latter are written in Andalusian according to the EPA proposal.

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