Juan Rodrigo Santaolalla, guitarist, composer and teacher, was born in Malaga, Spain. He started playing guitar at age 13 inspired by rock and blues players, and within a short time, he knew that music was going to be his life.
He moved to Madrid to study music at the ‘Escuela de Musica Creativa’, one of the few schools in Spain that offered a complete program in modern music and jazz. After six years studying in Madrid, Juan Rodrigo got the first professional degree in modern guitar, issued to date, in Spain. He took part in different local bands and was getting more and more into jazz music.
Later he moved to San Sebastian, Basque Country, to study at ‘Musikene’, the conservatory of the city. There he had the opportunity to learn from some renowned musicians, among others: Jordy Rossy, Perico Sambeat, Joaquín Chacón, José Luis Gámez and Guillermo Klein. Juan Rodrigo took part in Heineken Jazzaldia, one of the most important jazz festivals of Spain, playing with his band Juan Santaolalla trio during two consecutive years.
Due to his interest in alternative teaching methods to learn music, Juan Rodrigo moved to Asturias to study a Master of Education in teacher training at the University of Oviedo. He wrote his thesis about how to use the rhythm and music to improve the psychomotor and social development in children. The method was successfully applied and proved at the high school ‘Aramo’, in Asturias.
One year later, Juan Rodrigo decide to dedicate more time to playing and move to Amsterdam to do a Master in Music, specialized in Jazz guitar, at the conservatory of Amsterdam. During these years he attended lessons with Jesse Van Ruller, Maarten van der Grinten and Martijn van Iterson, among others, and began a personal project that included a touch of flamenco and latin music in the compositions, characteristic of his Andalucia homeland.
At the moment, Juan Rodrigo Santaolalla continues with his projects and providing music for events, like programming the music during the successful late Rembrandt exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.