31st July 1847
29th April 1905
Ignacio Cervantes Kawanagh was a Cuban pianist and composer. He was influential in thecreolization of Cuban music.
A child prodigy, he was taught by pianist Juan Miguel Joval, later by composer and tutor Nicolás Ruiz Espadero in 1859, and by the visiting American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Gottschalk encouraged Cervantes to study at the Conservatoire de Paris (1866–1870) underAntoine François Marmontel and Charles-Valentin Alkan, where he was awarded first prizes in composition (1866) and harmony (1867). He also performed with Christina Nilsson and Adelina Patti.
In 1875 Cervantes and José White left Cuba when warned by the Governor-General: he had found out that they had been giving concerts all over the country to raise money for the rebel cause in the Ten Years' War. In the USA and Mexico Cervantes continued to raise money by giving concerts until the Pact of Zanjón brought a lull in conflict. He returned in 1878 and left again in 1895 when the Cuban War of Independence started.