Award-winning Spanish pianist José María Villegas is a native of Seville. He began his piano studies at the age of 6 attending private lessons with Ms. María José Fernández, professor at the Manuel Castillo Music School in Seville. Starting in 2005, he studied with the Georgian pianist Alexander Kandelaki–who has been the biggest influence in his career–graduating from his class with the highest honors.
After studying with Jerome Lowenthal at The Juilliard School in New York, he received his Masters Degree from the Hochschule für Musik, Teather und Medien in Hannover, with Markus Groh and Beatrice Berthold. He has participated in master classes with Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. José Maria has been mentored by piano legends such as Nino Kerezelizde, Josep Maria Colom, and Bruno Canino. During his time at Juilliard, he was part of the M.A.P. Project, in which he taught talented underprivileged children.
José María has appeared in concert halls all over the world, in festivals such as the Beebersee Festival in Berlin, Music Academy of the West in California, and Animatto Festival in France, offering several recitals in Paris.
He has won numerous awards, receiving First Prizes at the ‘Eugenia Verdet’ and ‘Vicente Scaramuzza’ International Competitions, as well as the “María Paula Alonso de Ruiz Martínez” Award for his musical qualities and his promising talent. He has also received top prizes at the prestigious ‘Ricard Viñes’ and ‘Marisa Montiel’ Competitions, and was the winner of the ‘First Palau’ Competition, which resulted in Villegas making his acclaimed debut recital at the iconic Palau de la Música in Barcelona.
José has remained close to Extremadura, Spain, where he feels a special bond that is reflected in his music. Since 2013, he has lived in Plasencia, where he teaches as Professor of Piano at the García Matos Conservatory.