Heitor Villa-Lobos

Heitor Villa-Lobos

(1887-1959) was the first South American composer to become internationally famous. As a young man he was an orchestral player: on a fellowship from the Brazilian government he visited Paris from 1922 to 1926; and in 1931, he became superintendent of Musical Education in schools of Rio de Janeiro, and was founder of Orfeao de Professores, a teacher s training college. Owing to the huge number of his works, his devotion to his country s folk music, and his reform of Brazilian music education, Villa-Lobos became his country s leading composer of the first half of the twentieth century. His compositions reflect the influence of French impressionism and other contemporary French styles (introduced to Villa-Lobos by Darious Milhaud, who lived in Brazil for two years), as well as the styles of Brazilian popular and folk music (itself influenced by African, Portuguese and native Indian sources) and jazz. It is from such material that he composed MAGDALENA, the musical. His body of work includes chamber music, choral works, piano solos and songs. Among his most interesting works are the fourteen CHORUS which use the basic rhythmic and melodic elements of native Brazilian music. He also attempted to link Brazilian rhythms with baroque counterpoint in his BACHIANAS BRAZILEIRAS of which the best known is no.5, for soprano voice and eight cellos.

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