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3 Brazilian Composers Who Aren’t Heitor Villa-Lobos

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Brazilian musical titan Heitor Villa-Lobos created over 1,000 works in his lifetime and many consider him to be the greatest composer from Brazil. Along with his substantial work, Villa-Lobos also had a big personality that overshadowed many great composers from his country. But there are other Brazilian composers that deserve their moment in the sun, including the three below.


  1. Edino Krieger
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    Born in 1928, Brazilian, Edino Krieger received a well-rounded education as a young man. Studying with Edith Reis and Hans-Joachim Koellreutter in Brazil, Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, and Peter Mennin at Julliard. He became a major force in Brazilian contemporary music holding many leadership roles in music institutes and cultural programs in South America. Outside his native Brazil, Edino Krieger is mostly known for his substantial work for the piano. But he was also a very imaginative orchestrator, as you can hear in his 1955 piece Abertura Brasileira (Brazillian Overture).

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  2. Camargo Guarnieri
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    Camargo Guarnieri (1907-1993) was born in São Paulo and his birth name is actually Mozart Camargo Guarnieri. He studied piano and composition at the São Paulo Conservatório and subsequently worked with Charles Koechlin in Paris. He received important prizes in the United States in the 1940s, which gave him the opportunity to conduct them in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.

    A distinguished figure in Brazilian music, he served as conductor of the São Paulo Orchestra, was a member of the Academia Brasileira de Música, and was director of the São Paulo Conservatório, where he taught composition and conducting. In his Sinfonia No. 5, you can hear him use a variety of textures within the orchestra.

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  3. Antônio Carlos Gomes
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    Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836 –1896) was one of the first New World composers whose work was accepted in Europe. His opera Il Guarany was successful in its premiere at La Scala. Verdi said his work was an expression of “true musical genius”. Liszt said that “it displays dense technical maturity, full of harmonic and orchestral maturity.” Later, La Scala produced two additional operas by Gomes, Fosca and Maria Tudor. Listening to the overture to Il Guarany, it’s easy to understand why he such a success in Italy.

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Learn more about the music of Brazil on Fiesta, and tell us your favorite Brazilian composers in the comments!

  • Lisa Dell Tiffin

    Marcos Balter!