Federico Chueca was a Spanish composer of zarzuelas and author of La gran vía along with Joaquín Valverde Durán in 1886. Chueca was one of the most prominent figures of the género chico. Born in Madrid, Chueca entered the conservatory at eight years old, but his family later obligated him to abandon music to study medicine. He was arrested in 1866 as a participant in the student demonstrations against the Narváez government. While he spent three days in the prison of San Francisco in Madrid, he composed several waltzes that he entitled Lamentos de un preso ("Lamentations of a Prisoner"). Later, Francisco Asenjo Barbieri helped orchestrate and direct the works, and their success helped Chueca leave medicine and devote himself once more to music. He worked as a pianist and directed the orchestra of the Teatro Variedades. He is considered a self-taught musician. In fact, he was more schooled in the sciences than in music, however Chueca had an intuitive talent and grace with melody and rhythm that produced many works. He worked with several collaborators like Barbieri, Tomás Bretón, and especially Valverde, in many of his works.