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Carmen Linares and María Pagés

Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts 2022

Having become two of the most important figures of flamenco in recent decades, Carmen Linares and María Pagés unify the spirit of several generations that, from a sense of respect for tradition and the depth of the roots of flamenco, have managed to modernize and adapt its essence to the contemporary world, elevating it even more so to the category of universal art. With their work, both have opened paths with artistic as well as social ramifications and have become an example of hard work, talent and dedication for future generations.

Carmen Pacheco Rodríguez

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Carmen Pacheco Rodríguez, known as Carmen Linares, was born on 25th February 1951 in Linares (Jaén). She began singing in companies such as those of Paco Romero and Carmen Mora and in popular Madrid tablaos, such as Torres Bermejas and Café de Chinitas. According to experts, she is one of the most important voices in cante flamenco, on a par with figures such as Enrique Morente, Camarón or La Niña de los Peines. She was the first flamenco singer to perform at the Lincoln Center in New York, invited by the city’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed on the world’s leading stages, such as the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Sydney Opera House, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris, the Barbican Centre in London and the Teatro Royal in Madrid. Prominent in her discography are the albums Cantaora (1988), Canciones populares antiguas (1993) –with texts by Federico García Lorca–, Antología de la mujer en el cante (1996), Que no he muerto (2003) –with texts by Juan Ramón Jiménez–, Oasis Abierto (2011) and Verso a verso (2017). She has also participated in stage projects with artists such as Manolo Sanlúcar and Blanca Li, as well as with Spain’s National Company of Dramatic Art. She is currently on tour with a show celebrating her more than forty years on the stage. On 8th March 2022, she was one of the nine women chosen by the Instituto Cervantes (2005 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities) to deposit symbols of her legacy in the institution’s Caja de las Letras time capsule. Linares is the only female flamenco artist to have won Spain’s National Music Award in the performance category (2001). She has also received the French Record Academy Award (1991), the National Association of Flamenco Art Critics Award (1995), the Silver Medal of Andalusia (1998), the Gold Medal of Fine Arts (2006), the Gold Medal of Madrid (2019), the Master of Mediterranean Music Award from Berklee College of Music (USA, 2019), the Terras sem Sombra International Award from the Portuguese festival of the same name (2019), and the Meridiana Award from the Andalusian Women’s Institute (2022), among other distinctions. In 2011, she received the Lifetime Music Award from the Spanish Academy of Music and in 2012 was awarded the Medal of Honour at the Granada International Music and Dance Festival.

María Jesús Pagés Madrigal

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María Jesús Pagés Madrigal, known as María Pagés, was born on 28th July 1963 in Seville. She began dancing in the Antonio Gades Company and was prima ballerina with the Mario Maya Company, the Rafael Aguilar Spanish Ballet and the María Rosa Spanish Ballet. She created her own company in 1990 with which she has produced numerous shows and, according to the critics, has renewed the forms of flamenco dance by blending tradition and modernity. This work has gained her international recognition and has led her to perform at the world’s leading venues, such as Radio City Music Hall (New York), the Théâtre National de Chaillot (Paris), the Parco della Musica Auditorium (Rome), the Roman Theatre (Verona), the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden (Germany), the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Tokyo International Forum, the Fall for Dance Festival in New York, the Chekhov Festival in Moscow and Seville’s Bienal de Flamenco, among many others.

She has worked with artists of the stature of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carlos Saura, Tamara Rojo –2005 Prince of Asturias Laureate for the Arts– and Ángel Corella. Her most noteworthy productions include Sol y sombra (1990); Self-Portrait (2008), the result of her residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center; Soleá pas de deux (2010); Mirada (2010); Utopía (2011), premiered at the Niemeyer Centre in Avilés; Casi divina, leve (2012); La alegría de los niños (2013); Siete golpes y un camino (2014); Visages (2016), Una oda al tiempo (2017); and the Trials of Sinbad project, a programme of creative-participatory workshops carried out at the María Pagés Choreography Centre during 2021 with groups of people with disabilities. In May of 2022, she premiered her new show entitled De Sheherazade at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and has prepared another new production, Oda a la flor del naranjo, which staged at the Pentecost Festival in Salzburg in June. Pagés also carries out important charitable and educational work through her association ARTEDEA (Art and Dignity in Action Association). She has received the Léonide Massine Prize (Italy, 2004), the Community of Madrid Culture Award (2007), the Medal of Andalusia (2011), the Spanish Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts (2014), the Award for the Best International Dance Show (Chile, 2015), the Medal of the City of Seville (2019) and the Seville Biennial Critics Award (2018), among many other distinctions.

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