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Alberto Evaristo Ginastera (Buenos Aires, April 11, 1916 – Geneva, June 25, 1983) was an Argentine composer of contemporary academic music, considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Latin America, and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Musical Sciences of the Argentine Catholic University from 1959 to 1964.
He studied at the Williams Conservatory in Buenos Aires, where he graduated in 1938.
Between 1945 and 1947 he studied in the United States with Aaron Copland in Tanglewood. When he returned to Argentina, he founded with other musicians the League of Composers, the Faculty of Music of the Catholic University, of which he was its first dean and the School of High Musical Studies of the Di Tella Institute, which he directed until his emigration. / p>
He also created the Conservatory of La Plata in 1949 and in 1951 its No. 1 subsidiary, later called Conservatorio Julián Aguirre, in the town of Banfield. He returned to the United States in 1968 and moved to Europe two years later, where he stayed until his death, which happened in Geneva.
Among his works are three operas: Don Rodrigo (1964), Bomarzo (1967) -with a libretto by Manuel Mujica Láinez and based on the homonymous novel by this writer, object of censorship by the government of General Onganía and forbidden at the Teatro Colón, to then be released in 1972, replaced in 1984 and 2003 and filmed in Italy with the title of Bomarzo of 2007-, and Beatrix Cenci (1971). This last opera, based on the tragic history of the Italian Renaissance noble of the same name, composed it with the poet Alberto Girri.
He also wrote several concerts (two for piano, two for cello, one for violin and one for harp), other orchestral pieces, ballets (for example, Panambí, 1940), chamber music and a relatively large number of pieces for piano.
Ginastera grouped his music into three periods – objective nationalism, subjective nationalism and neo-expressionism – a division that has been questioned and relativized by some specialists. His most famous student was the famous tango bandoneonist and composer Astor Piazzolla.
Ginastera was known outside the academic world when the progressive-symphonic rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer adapted the fourth movement of his First Piano Concerto and recorded it on his popular album Brain Salad Surgery with the name of Toccata. The recording not only had the approval of Ginastera, but its support. In 1973, when the album was recorded, the band visited the composer at his home in Switzerland and showed him the arrangements. It is said that Ginastera commented: “Wow, nobody has ever been able to capture my music that way! It’s the way I imagine it!”
In 1942 he composed the music of the film Malambo (1942) by Alberto de Zavalía. He was named a member of the National Academy of Fine Arts, and for his career and contribution to classical music in Argentina, he received the Konex Honor Prize in 1989 after his death.
He died on June 25, 1983.
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