Monday, October 26, 2009


A link to the collection of portraits of composers featured in the blog:

Dominican Republic

October 12, 1492 - Christopher Columbus reportedly becomes the 1st European to set foot on the New World (in what is now the Dominican Republic), which he names Hispaniola, or "Little Spain".

1821 - Uprising against Spanish rule is followed by a brief period of independence.

1822 - Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo.

1844 - Santo Domingo declares its independence and becomes the Dominican Republic.

1861 – Second period of Spanish rule begins.

1865 - The second Dominican Republic is proclaimed.

1930-61 - General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina takes control as dictator, until his assassination on 30 May 1961. He serves four times as president and as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The establishment of an independent Dominican republic led to a flourishing of musical arts, despite chronic political and economic instability. The musicians of this period, although lacking technical training, started composing in a national idiom. One of these musicians was Colonel Juan Bautista Alfonseca (1810-1875). He was called “the father of Dominican music” by his contemporaries. He was the first composer to make use of Dominican folklore. He incorporated the merengue and mangulina folkdance rhythms into the classical ballroom music.

He used the mangulina as the basis for a national anthem he wrote (1844) for the newly free republic (however it was not adopted). At the time he was also leading the first military band established after Santo Domingo’s independence from Haiti. His list of compositions includes 2 masses, a Miserere and numerous band-pieces such as merengues, mangulinas, waltzes, mazurkas and danzas. On November 11, 1846, Alfonseca was appointed music instructor and supervisor of the regimental band at the capital, with the rank of Captain and by December 5th he had been promoted to director of the band with the rank of Lieutenant colonel. By 1852, regular concerts of this band were held on the parade grounds, under Alfonseca’s direction. Some of the songs written by Juan Bautista Alfonseca include "The Jane Aquilina," "Oh Coco," "The Cakes", "The Tortoise", "El Carlito Fell Into the Pit" and others.

Jose Reyes (1835-1905) was primarily a self-taught musician, despite having taken lessons with the military band director, Juan Bautista Alfonseca. He learned to play several instruments, but excelled at the cello. He began composing at an early age, though most of what he wrote would never be premiered to the public at large. He preferred to compose secular and religious music, one of which, Requiem Mass in E flat, was arranged for organ by Master Juan Francisco Garcia.

There’s very little known about his activity as a composer. Some of his works were a round of waltzes which ran on March 18, 1884, and a two-step “hail to progress” (orchestrated by the teacher Ravelo) and composed for the inauguration of electrical lighting.

Despite having such a low profile, Jose Reyes will always be remembered as the composer of the Dominican Republic national anthem, Quisqueyanos Valientes, composed in 1883 using piano vocal and guitar.

Jose de Jesus Ravelo was born in Santo Domingo on 21 March 1876. From 1894 until 1900, Jose de Jesus was Director of the Peacemaker band, and furthermore he taught singing at the Normal School. He was also Professor of music at the College Salome Urena and Aquinas College. H e collaborated with the poet Ramon Emilio Jimenez in the musical portion of the work of school song “La Patria en la Cancion”.

In 1904, with his brothers and a group of friends who love music, Jose de Jesus Ravelo founded the Octet Casino de la Juventud, an institution that became the Orchestra of the Concert Society in 1932. Ravelo was the Director of these groups that contributed greatly to the development of Dominican Music culture, by making public concerts, at no cost to the public, of works of great masters of music.

In 1928, he was President of the First Dominican Congress of Music. In 1931, he was Artistic Director of the official radio station HIX. In 1934, he published an interesting historical work titled “ Historia de los Himnos Dominicanos”.

In his tireless musical works, Master Ravelo was Director of the Municipal Band and Director of high school of music since its foundation in 1908 until 1942, date on which the institution became the National Conservatory of Music and Declamation.

During his 34 years of work at the Academy of Music- the only one in the country witch granted diplomas recognized by the state, he produced a work whose fruits are scattered throughout the country. The high school of music figured prominently in the history of the development of Dominican music culture.

As a composer, he followed the tradition of the classics and was devoted mainly to write religious music, although his vast musical output includes works from all genres: sets of waltzes- works which he started his compositions, romances for vocal and piano, chamber music, music for band, orchestra, motets, masses and oratorios.

Jose de Jesus Ravelo most successful and most commented by the national and foreign critics was the oratorio La muerte de Cristo(1939), whose score was printed in New York in 1941 by the Schrimmer House Press. Other works from Master Ravelo were published in 1951 by the Gilprint Company.

On December, 2nd 1951, Jose de Jesus Ravelo died in the city of Santo Domingo.

Juan Francisco Garcia was born in Santiago de los Caballeros on 16 June 1892. from an early age he demonstrated to possess great musical skills, and a great ability on executing various musical instruments. He studied music theory and cornet with Jose Oviedo Garcia, and later, he self-taught to play the cello and piano. The study of the method of Fetis was his guide in the art of composition, which he dominated, and from which he created an extensive and valuable catalog of works of various genres.

All his works are permeated by the Dominican folklore, which is produced to a very high degree in works like the quarteto de cordas No 1(String quartet No 1), which Juan Francisco Garcia composed in 1922 and released in Santiago de los Caballeros in 1929; and la Sinfonia Quisqueyana, which ended in 1935 and was released on 21 March 1941 by the Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo in the Olympia theater.

In 1925, he traveled to Cuba for a tour as a pianist of the Tenor Susano Polanco. On that occasion, Master Garcia met the poet Nicolas Guillen, whom he took the verses to compose the music of their song espejo (mirror). The piece was premiered during that tour and, few years later, in 1930, it was recorded in New York City by Eduardo Brito, making it known to the world.

Master Garcia also composed La Fantasia Simastral in 1947, La Fantasia Concertante for piano and orchestra in 1949, and a large number of nationalistic piano pieces. Among his best known popular genres works are also the song Mal de Amor, el Hymno a la bandera, and la Criolla Margarita del Campo.

Juan Francisco Garcia became a virtuoso of the cornet, which he interpreted from registering its lowest notes to the treble do, which made everyone in the audience burst into applause.

Juan Francisco Garcia died on 18 November 1974 in Santo Domingo.

Luis Emilio Mena was born in Santo Domingo on 12 November 1895. At the age of fourteen he was already playing the fife in the band at Santa Teresita Academy that was led by Don Jose de Jesus Ravelo. A year later, he joined the Casino Octet Youth, and on 29 October 1916, he graduated as a flute professor at the Music Lyceum. In addition to flute, he also played the cello, piano and bassoon.

His first musical piece is dated 1913 and titled La chaquetera Mignon Lucesita, a mazurka which then changed its name to Lucila. In 1926, he won the first prize in the contest for the Columbus Day with a two-step called Alfonso XIII. In 1932, he was one of the founders as an instrumentalist of the Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo. In this institution, he was invited several times to take the podium, as in the HIX radio orchestra in 1934, and the HIN in 1936.

In 1934, his works, Capricho Impromtu and Invocacion, were known in Philadelphia thanks to the author’s own management, who regularly took care of sending his works to other latitudes. On November 20, 1935, a radio station from New York City transmitted a concert that featured the work Gugu, written for flute and piano.

From the catalog of the works composed by Luis Emilio Mena, the highlights goes to Romanza,a work for violin and orchestra; the suite como un sueno(like a dream), for flute and piano; Fantasia Espanhola( Spanish Fantasy) for clarinet and orchestra; Sinfonia Giocosa & Ecos de Libertad(Echoes of Freedom).

Luis Emilio Mena died on November 15, 1964 in Santo Domingo.

Enrique de Marchena Dujarric was born October 13, 1908 in Santo Domingo, capital of Dominican Republic. He took his first piano lessons at the age of ten with Professor Flerida Nolasco. At the Music Lyceum, directed by Master Jose de Jesus Ravelo, he studied music theory and singing practice.

While still a teenager and a student of music, Enrique worked as a cinema pianist in Columbus, where he enlivened up with the piano silent films that were cast there. At age of sixteen, he composed a waltz that he called Ella, first work out of his pen. However, with the outcome of his creative work, it began to appear other top quality parts, so that when composing the Vals in Sol for piano, Marchena himself considered that this was his starting point and cataloged this work with the Op.1.

In 1929, he earned a Bachelor of Law and Political Science degree at the University of Santo Domingo. In 1932, with the creation of the Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo, Enrique de Marchena held one of their stands and served as a horn, an instrument he learned to play on a self-taught manner. In 1937, he was one of the main founders of the society Pro-Arte and with his personal work in international holdings, he made possible to have figures like Jose Iturbi, Andres Segovia and other luminaries of the concert music of his time, go through the halls of the Dominican Republic.

Enrique de Marchena left a catalog of over ninety works, including his very prominent Debussyenne, Claro de Luna, and Reverie for piano; the symphonic poem Arco iris, a work that premiered at the Centennial Music Competition of the Republic in 1944; the Divertimento para cordas y harpas and El Concertino for flute and orchestra.

In his creations for voice of enormous relevance are his twenty-seven Canciones de Amor, twelve of which were laid by him for consideration to the Premio Nacional de Musica Jose Reyes in 1979, earning the top prize. He obtained this prize again in 1982 with his suite concertante Hebraicum.

All his work, particularly since 1929, is structured around the aesthetic of music impressionism. Veiled or explicit, his identification with the works of Claude Debussy is unmistakable.

Marchena served also as a Diplomat representing Dominican Republic in different missions; wrote critical texts, such as Del areito de Anacaona al poema folklorico(1942). He taught and practiced Law.

Enrique de Marchena died on February 25th, 1988 in Santo Domingo. He was an outstanding musician, writer and diplomat.

Jose Dolores Ceron was born on 29 June 1897. He was a man of great instruction. In addition to musical studies, he also graduated as a Doctor. Although his real name was Pedro Pablo, by the decision of his grandparents, he was named Jose Dolores, in honor of his father, who died when he was very young.

Jose Dolores, as a child, studied under Professor Arturo Senior, who was an outstanding teacher, and he gained the knowledge of an instrument that would help him a lot as a musician and composer. He was also taught composition and harmony by the eminent Jose de Jesus Ravelo and Esteban Pena Morell. Candido Castellanos, a Spanish musician living in Santo Domingo for many years, taught Jose Dolores Ceron to play cello and bass.

At 22 years old, Jose Dolores founded his first orchestra, which he was the Director, composer and cellist. This group became well known due to their frequent appearances at the Club de Artesanos. The appointment to the post of deputy director of the band from the National Army in 1925 and Director in 1930 started his race in terms of musical achievements. He raised the quality of the musical institution, who he led for several years, to levels previously unknown to the country.

He added to the band bells and bass which gave the possibility of putting in the stands of the Band from the National Army, works never heard before in an orchestra of its kind, in the country. Thus, it began to be interpreted in military land some of the most universal representative of the symphonic repertoire, and this made the band a real military concert band.

As a composer, Master Ceron has given us valuable musical works, including symphonic poems such as A la Caida de la Tarde (In the late afternoon), Iguanona, Enriquillo and Las Virgens de Galindo (Galindo’s Virgins). To describe his work, the Dominican singer and musicologist Inchaustegui Aristides said:” José Dolores Ceron has been one of the finest melodists the country had.”

Jose Dolores Ceron, like most of Dominicans composers who have dedicated themselves to create the so-called classical music, composed a number of works in the most popular language. Among those works, the romance Prodigio is still remembered in two of its most outstanding versions: one done by the baritone Guarionex Aquino, and the other by the tenor Rafael Sanchez Cestero. In the country discography, it is included many of his songs; among them, one of the best known: Como tu Besabas (As you kiss), which was recorded by Edward Brown and his wife Rosa Elena Bodilla.

Jose Ceron died in Santo Domingo on 22 March 1969.

Luis Alberti was born on April 19, 1906 in La Vega, Dominican Republic. He descended from a family where the musician office was not strange. He was the great-grandson of Juan Bautista Alfonseca. At the age of seven, he played the cymbals in the municipal band of his hometown before moving with his family to Santa Cruz de Mao, where he received formal violin training and started a professional career. After that, the musician went to Santiago de los Caballeros and attended several courses of violin perfection. He later accompanied silent films in theaters and played with the orchestra Symphonic de Santo Domingo in 1932, year of its foundation.

In 1936, Alberti led a highly original merengue jazz band that often emphasized advanced harmonies and lyrics over the merengue tipico, known like perico ripiao, and played by the usual performing group of folk merengue (accordion, tambora and guira). Alberti gave the merengue a greater urban appearance, and he took it to the high society ballrooms. He composed songs such as Luna sobre el Jaragua, Tu no Podras olvidar, Estampas criollas and specially Compadre Pedro Juan, which became an international hit recorded by dozens of performers, including Billo’s Caracas Boys, Xavier Cugat, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Wilfrido Vargas, Angel Viloria y Su Conjunto Tipico Cibaeno, and Alberto Naranjo & El Trabuco Venezolano.

In addition, Alberti wrote a Metodo de tambora y guira, a collection of infantile songs, and a work on musica, musicos y orquestas bailables dominicanas that stood out during the first half of the XX century.

Luis Alberti died in Santiago de los Caballeros at the age of 69, on January 26, 1976.

Rafael Ignacio was born in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. At the age of ten, he was already part of a children’s band that his hometown founded. His teachers were father Requena, who taught him his first lessons in music theory and cornet, and Luis Betances, who instilled in him the knowledge of the bass. With this knowledge, he joined the members of the Philharmonic Orchestra Beethoven, also in his hometown.

After moving to the capital, he joined the municipal band, which was then directed by the teacher Jose de Jesus Ravelo. In that institution, he played the tuba, an instrument he had learned on a self-taught. Years later, he joined the band of the National Army, first as an assistant-director, and then as the head of that important institution.

With the foundation of the symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo Rafael Ignacio took a music stand on it. In 1941, when the National Symphony Orchestra was created, he was summoned to be a part of that group of pioneers.

His work as a musician and educator spread to other cities. In Azua, he directed a music Academy, the municipal band, and formed his dance orchestra. In Santiago de los Caballeros, he was director of the military band, with which he came to play a repertoire of high technical requirements, in works such as Sinfonia Militar by Haydn, and Los Preludios by Liszt, among others.

His taste in works closest to the popular music art was of great importance, since with their knowledge, he could compose and arrange pieces with folk dancing with more complex instruments, more advanced harmonies, giving new life to titles like Todas las Mujeres tienen mala mana and merengues as Vironay, with new air and other audio means.

La Suite Folklorica was his biggest work. Written first for band and then re-orchestrated for symphony orchestra, it is based on themes emerging from the roots of Dominican song.

Rafael Ignacio also wrote Fantasia Sinfonica; work in which he elaborate popular subjects of Dominican music. He composed a lot of dance music, among which includes waltzes, polkas and merengues.

Rafael Ignacio died in 1984 in Santo Domingo.

Enrique Salvador Mejia Arredondo was born December 24, 1901, in Santo Domingo, Capital of the Dominican Republic. He was grandson of the glorious and lavish Dominican composer Jose Maria Alfonseca. Mejia Arredondo began his academics musical studies at the age of eight. Even though he choose piano as his preferred instrument, he also played violin. He studied harmony and counterpoint with the great master, Jose de Jesus Ravelo. He came to own his own orchestra at the age of 16 to write music to silent films, and accompanied musically important zarzuela and opera companies visiting the country. He was a founding member of the Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo. He was also a chairman and founder of the Society of Authors and Composers Dominicans, an organization founded in order to promote new musical values, investigate and raise awareness of Dominican music, and protect the Dominican composers. In 1941, with the creation of the “National Symphony Orchestra”, Mejia Arredondo was appointed as Deputy Director, a position he held with brilliance and talent until months before his death.

During a concert by the National Symphonic Orchestra in the city of La Vega, he suffers the first collapse of the heart, which will later be the cause of his death. Enrique Mejia Arredondo died on February 5th, 1951.

His Discography includes:

· Overture for Orchestra July 12

· Spring (waltz)

· I

· Mountain Flower(premiered in NYC by CBS, touched by NYC symphony orchestra)

· Two invocations: Landscape and Ritual in the Temple of Yocari (performed and broadcasted by the Americans stations CBS and NBC)

· Rebirth (Symphonic poem)

· Story Night

· Little Suite for Orchestra (consists in three parts: Prelude, Andante and Finale)

· Quisqueyana Dance

· Reverie for Violin and Orchestra

· Andante Cantabile

· Fugue y capriccio para piano

· Symphony No1 in A major

· Symphony No2 in C major

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cuban Art Music/Composers

Cuban art music, straightforwardly enough, is music from the island of Cuba that is “classical” and was not written for commercial purposes. Throughout the course of this blog, I will provide a timeline for the nation of Cuba that includes the important dates in the nation’s history, including significant musical events, as well as the life spans of the important art musicians (biographies and discographies will follow).

Cuban/Cuban Art Music Timeline

1492 - Christopher Columbus “discovers” Cuba and claims the land for Spain.

1513 – The first of many African slaves are known to be present in Cuba. This is significant because the slaves have a major influence on Cuban music for many years to come. (

1570’s - "Son de la Má Teodora," the oldest known Cuban Son (The most popular Cuban music and dance style of the 20th century. It is the oldest national form and is the precursor to Salsa), is composed. (

1762 - Britain invades Havana and occupies it for ten straight months. During this time British instruments, to include pianos, clavichords, flutes, and string instruments which have an influence on shaping Cuban art music.

1780’s – Large influx of African slaves, who bring their music traditions with them.

1791 – Haitian Revolution leads to an influx of African-Haitian immigrants.

1803 - "San Pasqual Bailón," the earliest surviving contradanza appears in Cuba.

1810’s – Importation of over 100,000 African slaves.

1836 – The earliest published Habanera (The musical descendant of the contradanza, the habanera or contradanza habanera (Havana-style contradanza), the habanera's distinguishing musical feature is its short, repeating 2/4 rhythmic figure in the bass line). The title is "La Pimienta". (

1870’s – Rumba and Danzon become popular in Havana.

1888 – Cuba outlaws slavery.

1890 – Gonzalo Roig (d.1970)

1896 – Ernesto Lecuona (d.1963)

1900 – Amadeo Roldan (d. 1939)

1906 - Alejandro Garcia Caturla (d. 1940)

1920 – Son style of music becomes popular in Havana.

1925 - Julian Orbon (d.1991)

1953 – Chachacha rises to popularity in Cuba.

1959 – Fidel Castro takes control of Cuba.

1970’s – Nueva Trova and Songo become popular in Cuba.

Gonzalo Roig was born on July 20, 1890 and lived until June 13, 1970. A pivotal figure for the founding of many Cuban orchestras, he began his musical career studying at the Havana Conservatory where he played the piano and took music theory. He co-founded the Symphony Orchestra of Havana and also served as its music director and in 1927 he was appointed director of the Municipal Music Band of Havana, fulfilling the role until his death. In 1929 he founded the Orchestra of Ignacio Cervantes, and he was instrumental in creating the National Theater in 1931. He went on, in 1938, to establish the National Opera in Havana. Further, he would found the Society of Cuban Authors, the National Federation of Authors of Cuba, the National Union of Authors of Cuba and the National Society of Authors of Cuba.


The author was unable to locate a discography for this composer, but it was clear that his two most famous works were as follows:

Cecilia Valdes


Ernesto Lecuona was born August 7, 1896 and died November 29, 1963. He was an excellent pianist and who wrote his first song at the age of eleven. Lecuona was first taught by his sister and went on to be formally trained at the National Conservatory in Havana (he would also study under the well-known Joaquín Nin). Upon completion of his studies, he graduated with a gold medal for interpretation. He was the band leader of the popular Lecuona’s Cuban Boys that traveled all over the globe. He moved to New York and wrote music for film and theater and was nominated in 1942 for an Oscar for best song. Dismayed by the way Castro was running the country, Lecuona left Cuba for good in 1960, settling in Florida until his death.


He wrote between four and six hundred pieces of music, making a complete discography beyond the scope of this blog. Please see the following link for the most comprehensible list of his works located by the author:

Amadeo Roldán Though born in Paris, he is undeniably a Cuban composer, emigrating there in 1919 after having studied at the Madrid Conservatory (which he had graduated in 1916). He was concert-master of the newly formed Orquesta Sinfonica de La Habana, in 1922, then moving on to be concert-master of the Orquesta Filarmonica of Havana in the mid-1920’s. Also as part of his short career, he founded the Havana String Quartet. He was known as being a pioneer in the afrocubanismo movement that incorporated afro-Cuban percussion instruments into classical Cuban music. Roldán was professor of composition at the Havana Municipal Conservatory and its director from 1935 until his death (it went on to be renamed in his honor after the Castro revolution). Roldán died of facial cancer at the peak of his career. He was 38.


Please refer to the following link to view the most comprehensive list of works the author was able to locate. (

Alejandro Garcia Caturla began his musical trainings at the age of eight when he learned how to play the violin and the piano. He continued his musical studies in Havana under the instruction of Pedro Sanjuán for composition and Arturo Bovi for his vocals from 1926-1927. He also trained with Boulanger in Paris for the greater part of 1926. Interestingly, he also studied law in Havana from 1924-1927. In 1932, he founded the Caibarien Concert Society, an orchestra he would conduct on many occasions. His “Obertura cubana” also won first prize in a Cuban national contest in 1938. Caturla was murdered at the age of 34 while he was a practicing attorney.

The author was unable to locate a reproducible and comprehensible discography. Please click on the following link to reference a partial works list for this composer.

Julian Orbon, though born in Spain, was an accomplished Cuban composer and essayist. He began his musical studies in 1935 at the Conservatory of Oviedo (Spain), which he continued upon moving to Havana, where he studied under José Ardévol while beginning to compose. In 1946 he came to the United States to study with the renowned American composer Aaron Copeland at the Tanglewood Musical Festival, in western Massachusetts. He returned to Cuba to lead the Orbon Conservatory until 1960 which had been founded by his father. He would later return to the United States to be a university professor. He received two Guggenheim fellowships (1959, 1969) and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1967).


  • Sonata Homenaje al Padre Soler
  • Prelude and Dance, for solo guitar (1950)
  • Canción para nuestro niño
  • Romance de Fontefrida
  • Capricho Concertante
  • El Pregón
  • Clarinet Quintet
  • Symphony in C (1945)
  • String Quartet (1951)
  • Three Symphonic Versions (1954)
  • Himnus ad Galli Cantum (1956)
  • Symphonic Dances (1957)
  • Concerto Grosso (1958)
  • Tres Cantigas del Rey (1960)
  • Monte Gelboé, Cantata(1962)
  • Partitas 1, 2 and 3 (1963)
  • Fantasía Tiento
  • Liturgia en tres días
  • Homenaje a la Tonadilla

Friday, October 23, 2009

Composers of Puerto Rico

Felipe Gutiérrez Espinosa was the foremost 19th-century Puerto Rican composer of operas and sacred music. Espinosa was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 26, 1825 and died in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Nov 27, 1899. His father, Julián Gutiérrez, gave him his first music lessons, but he was mainly self-taught. In 1845 he was appointed músico in the Iberia battalion, and wrote the first opera based on a Puerto Rican subject, Guarionex (1856), as well as two other operas, a zarzuela and a large quantity of religious music. He composed memorable melodies clothed in a rich orchestral fabric, and was able to achieve moments of drama and grandeur.

In 1858 he won the post of “maestro de capilla” for the San Juan Cathedral. Over the next few years he conducted the orchestra in the Teatro Municipal during its opera seasons. Among his achievements are winning a gold medal for his third opera, Macías, and his Teoria de la música, published in San Juan for pupils of his free music academy, reached a third edition in 1875. His life changed its course though, when in 1898, he lost his cathedral post, and in the last year of his life existed on a pittance earned as a concierge.


El amor de un pescador

El Bearnés

Gozos de la Inmaculada Concepción - 1878
Guarionex (3, A. Tapia y Rivera) - 1876

Macías (3, M. Travieso y del Rivero, after M.J. de Larra) - 1877

“The Father of the Danza” Manuel Gregorio Tavarez was Puerto Rico's first renowned classical and danza composer. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a French father and a Puerto Rican mother, Tavarez studied under the guidance of Jose Cabrizas, Domingo Delgado, Auber and D'Albert. He became an accomplished pianist at an early age, and was given the opportunity to study at the Music Conservatory of Paris at the age of 15 when he was granted a scholarship by "The Economic Society of Friends of Puerto Rico.”

While in France Tavarez suffered a stroke which left his hand partially paralyzed, and suffered a loss of hearing. Tavarez returned to Puerto Rico because of his health problems where he settled down in Ponce and gave piano lessons. As he overcame his health problems he was able perform in concerts of his own music.

Tavarez is considered to be Puerto Rico's first Romantic era composer and his works have been recognized as an integral part of Puerto Rican culture. He has been honored by the Government of Puerto Rico with the naming of public buildings and institutions after him, among them, a theater in San Juan.


La Ausencia

La Ondina

La Sensitive

Margarita 1870 the danza (considered his greatest work)

Me Amás?

Pobre Corazon

Recuerdos de Antaño

Rendencion (Redemption) – Funeral March dedicated to José Campeche

Souvener de Puerto Rico, the Rhapsody

Un Recuerdito, danza capricho

Juan Morel Campos was a Puerto Rican composer considered by many to be responsible for taking danza to its highest level. Born in Ponce (May 16, 1857), Campos began studying music at the age of 8 under the guidance of Antonio Egipciaco and Manuel Gregorio Tavarez, with whom he learned to play nearly every brass instrument. Campos was one of the founders and directors of the “Ponce Firemen’s Band” known in Spanish as “La Banda de Bomberos del Parque de Ponce. Campos had his own orchestra (La Lira Poncena) for whom he wrote most of his danzas.

Though he is most recognized for his danzas, he also wrote symphonies, waltzes, marches, and overtures. Campos wrote 550 compositions, of them, over 300 were danzas. His inspirations were primarily women and love. On April 26, 1896, Campos suffered a stroke during a concert in Ponce, and died soon after, on May 16. Puerto Rico, as well as, New York has honored Campos with the naming schools after him, and erecting his statue. In 2001, Campos was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.


Alma Sublime 1915

Ausencia 1916

Bella Illusión, for cello & piano

Felices Dias (Happy Days)

Idilio (Dammed Love)

Maldito Amor

Mis penas

No me Toques (Do Not touch Me)

Sopapos - First danza


Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 26, 1854, Braulio Dueno Colon began learning the foundations of music at a young age from his father. He then studied under the “Maestro” Aruti, with whom he learned about composition and harmony. Whenever an Opera or Zaruela company visited Puerto Rico, Dueno would often be hired to play the flute for the orchestras.

In 1879, he composed the music for the Zaruela “ Los Baños de Coamo” (The Baths of Coamo.” Dueno won many prizes and honors for his compositions, including his overture “La Amistad” in 1877; “Sinfonia Dramatica”; “Noche de Otoño” and “Estudio sobre la Danza Puertorriqueno” (1914). His contribution to “Canciones Escolares in 1912” was what earned him lasting recognition as one of Puerto Rico’s greatest composers, and it was also honored at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901.

Braulio Dueno Colon lived most of his life in the city of Bayamon where he died on April 4, 1934. Bayamon honored his memory by naming a school, a suburb, and the municipal cemetery after him.


Belia y Belen

La Criolla

La Jibara alegre


Seis Chorreao

Jose Ignacio Quinton was born to be a musician. He was the son of Juan Bautista Quinton y Luzon (a Frenchman, a composer and an organist). Quinton took lessons with his father as well as with Ernesto del Castillo who taught him how to play the piano. At the age of 9 he performed his first concert, and when he was 11 he played the accompaniment for the famous violinist Brindis de Salas, who lauded the boy’s performance. Quinton was the conductor of his school’s band, and in his spare time would give piano and violin lessons.

By 1917, Quinton had taught himself enough English to be able to study the styles and compositions of Debussy and Ravel, among others. He won a number of awards for his compositions, including his “Cuarteto para instrumentos de cuerdas,” and “Varaciones sobre un tema de Humel”. As a tribute to the late composer of danzas Angel Mislan, he wrote “Misa de Requim”. His greatest composition was the danza “El Coqui,” in which he simulated the sound of the coqui – a tiny frog found only in Puerto Rico – with the band’s instruments.

Jose Ignacio Quinton died on December 19, 1925 in Cuamo where he is burried. The town honored Quinton by naming one of its principal avenues in his honor, and conserving the house where he lived as a historical landmark. He left behind a conservatory of music, which can also be found in Cuamo.


Amor imposible


Cuarteto para instrumentos de cuerdas

El coqui

Mi Estrella

Misa de Requim

Varaciones sobre un tema de Humel

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello; 1st post

This is the blog for Webquest Group 1 for the course MUSIC268 (Fall 2009). This blog will feature content about the art music of the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico) as reported on by Edmund, Damaris and Jose. Photos provided by photojournalist Myrlande; content gathered and edited by myself -- Talia. To the rest of the class, we hope you find all of the material in this blog to be useful, and we hope it is prepared in an interesting manner. Thank you in advance for any and all feedback.