Alicia de Larrocha's greatest contribution as a musician was her unrivaled advocacy of Spanish and Catalonian piano music. Her interpretations of the music of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Mompou (a lifelong friend who dedicated several works to her), and Montsalvatge were universally described as brilliant, authentic, and masterful in tonal color, texture, and rhythm. She was also highly regarded for her recordings of Mozart and French Impressionist music. She began her career before the age of six with a solo recital, followed by her orchestral debut at the age of 11 performing Mozart's "Coronation" Concerto (K. 537) with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. She studied with Frank Marshall at his Academia Marshall and also studied music theory with Ricardo Lamote de Gignon.
Her adult career began in 1940, but she did not make any international tours until 1947, when she first toured Europe. In 1953, she premiered Montsalvatge's Concierto breve, which is dedicated to her, and also made her first visit to England. Her first appearance in the U.S. was in 1955 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After that, she began performing around the world, working with such artists as Victoria de Los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, the Guarneri and Tokyo String Quartets, Sir Colin Davis, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Kent Nagano, and Gerard Schwarz. She even performed Poulenc's Concerto for two pianos with the composer at the second piano. In addition to her performing, she took on the directorship of the Academia Marshall in 1959.
Her recordings, particularly of Albéniz and Granados, have received numerous prizes, including Grammys, the Edison Prize, the Grand Prix du Disques, and the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. She herself was awarded the Paderewski Memorial Medal and the Principe de Asturias prize, among others, and was recognized for her talents by the city of Barcelona, the Spanish and French governments, and UNESCO. She continued to perform until her 80th year. After breaking her hip in 2007, she suffered an overall decline in health, and died in 2009.