José Ribas



Born: Burgos, Spain 16th July 1796. Died: Oporto, July 1861. Ribas first studied the flute and clarinet with his father who was a bandmaster in a Spanish infantry regiment.  He served in the band of the regiment and was taken prisoner by the French during the Peninsular War. Rescued from the island of Funen by the British, he then served under Wellington and was present at the Battle of Toulouse (1814).


On leaving the army he settled in Oporto and studied the flute with Parado, a Portuguese flautist of some merit. He soon became a well known player in Spain and Portugal performing on both flute and clarinet and in the 1820’s took up the position of principal flute at the Lisbon Opera and that of first clarinet with the Philharmonic Society of Oporto.

By 1826, Ribas was in London where he continued to perform on both flute and clarinet. He was received well by London audiences and in 1835 was engaged as second flute to Charles Nicholson at the King’s Theatre.


Two years later, on the death of Nicholson, he became principal. He continued to occupy prestigious positions in London including that of principal flute at the Philharmonic Concerts (1838-1851), alongside William Card, and at the Royal Italian Opera (1847-1851) with John Clinton.


Ribas played a Farewell Concert on August 7th 1851 and left England soon after in order to retire but not before making a tour of Spain and Portugal. He then settled back in Oporto and spent his time teaching until his death in 1861.




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