Born in 1968 in Algeciras (Spain), in the years 1986–94 he studied composition, conducting and musicology at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música and the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid. He continued his composition studies under Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (1992) and Hans Zender at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt (1996–1999, as a grant-holder of the DAAD and the La Caixa Foundation).
In 1997 he was composer-in-residence at the Spanish Academy of Fine Art in Rome. He has received a number of awards and grants in Spain and abroad, including the Cristóbal Halffter Composition Prize (1994), three awards from the Spanish Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE; 1996, 1997), the composition prizes of Ciutat d’Alcoi and Ciudad de Burgos, 1st Prize Prize from the INAEM/Colegio de España (1998) and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (1999), the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation’s Förderpreis in Komposition (2000), the State Prize of the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2003) and the Antara Prize at the International Contemporary Music Festival in Lima (2007).
Since 2001 he has taught composition at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf. He publishes, lectures and runs composition courses in a number of European institutions of higher education, including the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Cátedra de Composición Manuel de Falla in Cadiz, Mozarteum in Salzburg and Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.
The widespread esteem for his music can be gauged, for example, by monographic concerts given in Munich (in the Klangspuren series, 2005), Madrid (Museo Reina Sofía, 2006), Cadiz (Festival de Música Española, 2006) and Saragossa (2007). In addition, he has received many commissions, including from the Biennale für Neue Musik in Hanover, the German Pavilion at Expo 2000, the State Opera in Berlin (for a chamber opera, 2005), the Teatro Real in Madrid (an opera, 2007), numerous institutions and organisations, in Spain, Germany and Italy, and also the Prague Spring and the Lincoln Center in New York.
Sánchez-Verdú plays an active part in musical life as a conductor of contemporary music orchestras and ensembles in Spain, Italy and Germany, at the Hamburger Ostertöne (2011) and Schlossmediale Werdenberg in Switzerland (2012). He lives in Berlin.
Selected works (since 2005): Inscriptio (Deploratio IV – Wolfgang Stryi in memoriam) for clarinet (2005), String Quartet No. 8 with baritone voice, to words by Björn Kuhligk (2005), Abyad-kamoon for symphony orchestra (2002–05), Istikhbar for symphony orchestra (2002–05), Kitab al-alwan (Libro de los colores) for symphony orchestra (2000–05), Deploratio III (Joaquín Homs in memoriam) for piano (2005), Silence, chamber opera to a libretto by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005), Arquitecturas de la sombra for percussion (2005), Arquitecturas del límite for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2005), Volaverunt for guitar (2005), Tres caprichos for guitar (2003–05), La rosa y el ruiseñor for soprano, baritone, three violas da gamba and symphony orchestra, to words by St. John of the Cross (2005), Gramma (Jardines de la escritura), chamber opera to an own libretto after Homer, St. Augustine, Ovid, Hugo of St. Victor, Jacopone da Todi (attrib.), Dante and the Bible (2004–05), Tres interludios for violin (2006), Aura-Studien for de pico flute, bass flute and string quintet (2006), El viaje a Simorgh, opera in two acts after Juan Goytisolo’s Las virtudes del pájaro solitario (2007), Elogio del horizonte for clarinet and orchestra (2006–07), Elogio del aire for violin and orchestra (2006–07), Nada for guitar and cello (2007), Estudio No. 2 for piano (2007), Libro de glosas (2007), Arquitecturas del eco for three percussions (2007–08), Libro del frío for countertenor and orchestra (2007–08), Piano Trio No. 4 (Hekkan II) (2008), Engel-Studien for five voices and auraphone (2008–09), Lux ex tenebris (Goya-Zyklus) for guitar, clarinet and string trio (2003–09), Arquitecturas del vacío for oud and orchestra (2009), Aura, chamber opera (2007–09), Libro de las estancias for countertenor, Arab voice, two vocal groups, two string ensembles, auraphone, live electronics and lights (2007–09), Mural for orchestra (2009–10), Hekkan IV for chamber orchestra (2009–10), Qualia (Jardí blau) for soprano, baritone, clarinet, choir, orchestra and lights (2004–10), Elogio del tránsito for bass saxophone, auraphone and orchestra (2010), Hekkan III for guitar quartet (2010–11), Scriptura Antiqua for five vocalists (2010–12), Oxide for saxophone, electric guitar, percussion and piano (2011), Exitus for string quartet, tape and auraphone (2011), Memoria del agua for chamber ensemble and orchestra (2011), Jardín azul for accordion and piano (2011), De processione mundi for oboe and ensemble (2010–11), Castillo interior for five voices, baroque violin, theorbo and harpsichord (2012), String Quartet No. 9 “Paraíso cerrado” (2012), Transitus for bass saxophone (2012), Paraíso cerrado II for soprano and orchestra (2012), Concerto grosso for strings (2012), Memoria del espejo for trombone and orchestra (2011–12), Atlas (Islas de Utopía / Inseln von Utopie), music theatre (2011–13).