Latinoamérica: Women Composers
Loin de toi Far away from you
Yuri Saenz, soprano
Charbel Yubaile, piano
María Grever (1885-1951)
Ema Ortiz (1891-1974)
Ángela Peralta (1845-1883)
Lasciati Amare Let me love you
Luisana Rivas, mezzo
María del Refugio Ponce (1880-1956)
Dolores Castegnaro (1900-1979)
Solo a ti te quiero I only want you
Noches de amor Love nights
Jorge Garza, tenor
Ernestina Lecuona (1882-1951)
Un títere escondido Hidden puppet
Canción de cuna para el corazón solitario Lullaby for a lonely heart
Modesta Bor (1926-1998)
Irma Urteaga (1929-)
Te quiero dijiste I love you, you said
Cachito Little piece
Canto de nodriza Song of a nursemaid
Capullito Little bud
Consuelo Velázquez (1916-2005)
Di que has dejado en mi ser Tell me what you have left in me
Júrame Swear to me
Yuri Saenz & Jorge Garza
IRMA URTEAGA (b.1929) Born in San Nicholas, Buenos Aires. She began her studies in Paraná (Entre Ríos) and continued in Buenos Aires with Lucrecia María Madariaga Gilardi, Josefa Hernandorena and Jorge Fanelli for piano and Beatriz Gilardo Henandorena y Gilardi for harmony. Urteaga began composing as a student at the National Conservatory, and she has been the recipient of a number of composition and achievement awards. After ending her studies, Urteaga performed as a concert musician and taught harmony at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música Carlos López Buchardo and operatic repertoire, vocal analysis, and opera at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón.
ERNESTINA LECUONA (1882-1951) Born in Matanzas, Cuba into a musical family. Her brother was pianist and composer Ernesto Lecuona. Leo Brouwer, a classical guitarist, is her grandson. In 1937 she founded a women's orchestra in Cuba, which debuted at the Teatro Alkazar. In 1938 performed in concerts at the National Theatre. In 1939 she toured Mexico, Chile and Argentina and in 1940-42 traveled to South America again. She traveled with her brother on tour, and sometimes played with him as a duo for four hands at radio stations and concert venues including Carnegie Hall in 1948. She died in Havana, Cuba.
DOLORES CASTEGNARO (1900-1979) Daughter of the pianist and composer Alvise Castegnaro, who immigrated to Costa Rica from Italy in 1883. Castegnaro took lessons with her father, before continuing her studies at the Milan Conservatory and the Bologna Academy. Singers such as Toni Rossi and Montserrat Caballe premiered her songs during her eight-year stay in Paris. Castegnaro moved back to Costa Rica in the 1940s, and then moved to Mexico where she spent the last three decades of her life.
EMA ORTIZ (1891-1974) Born in the city of La Serena in Chile. She took piano lessons with professor Fabio Petris, and then traveled to Berlín to continue her studies at the Stern Conservatory. Besides her compositional activities, she was a singer and professor at the Conservatorio Nacional de Chile. Her output consists of mostly compositions for voice and piano, such as the Canciones de Cuna, which contain poems by Gabriela Mistral.
MODESTA BOR (1926-1998) Born in Juan Griego, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela. She studied in Caracas with Elena Arrarte, Juan Bautista Plaza and Vicente Emilio Sojo, graduating with a degree in composition in 1959. In 1960 she won her first National Music Prize with Sonata for violin and piano. After completing her studies, Bor returned to Venezuela to work as a composer, teacher and choir director, becoming head of the music department in the Central University of Venezuela’s Culture Department. She also served as director of the musicology section of Folklore Research of the National Service. She died in Mérida. Bor was a significant figure in Venezuelan music history, and a composer well known to performers and audiences in that country. Modesta Bor exhibited nationalist influences during her youth and continued her studies with Aram Kachaturian in the Soviet Union, as she incorporated compositional techniques of the twentieth century.
ANGELA PERALTA (1845-1883) Operatic soprano of international fame and a leading figure in the operatic life of 19th-century Mexico. Called the "Mexican Nightingale" in Europe, she had already sung to acclaim in major European opera houses by the age of 20. Although primarily known for her singing, she was also a composer as well as an accomplished pianist and harpist. Her most well-known work is Álbum Musical de Ángela Peralta, which includes songs as “Loin de toi” (Away from you).
MARÍA GREVER (1885-1951) María Joaquina de la Portilla Torres was the first female Mexican composer to achieve international acclaim. She was born to a Spanish father (Francisco de la Portilla) and Mexican mother (Julia Torres) in León Guanajuato, Mexico. For the first six years of her life she lived in Mexico City, moving to her father's natal city, Sevilla, Spain in 1891. She studied music in France, with Claude Debussy and Franz Lenhard among her teachers. In 1900 she moved back to Mexico and continued her musical studies at her aunt's solfège school. In 1907, the then 22-year-old de la Portilla married Leo A. Grever, an American oil company executive, and in 1916 became a U.S. citizen and moved to New York City, where she lived for the rest of her life. Grever wrote more than 1000 songs — the majority of them boleros — and her popularity reached audiences in Latin America, Europe, and the United States.
MARÍA DEL REFUGIO “Cuquita” PONCE (1880-1956) Born in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico. She was the first music teacher of the renowned Mexican composer Manuel M. Ponce, who was her younger brother. “Cuquita” lived in Aguascalientes during most of her life, where she taught generations of piano students at her “Beethoven Studio”. As a pianist, she performed in Mexico and the United States. Maria del Refugio composed several songs and short piano works, which were sometimes performed at her studio recitals, along with compositions by her brother and works from the standard repertoire.
CONSUELO VELÁZQUEZ (1916-2005) A Mexican concert pianist, songwriter and recording artist. She was the composer of famous Mexican songs such as “Bésame mucho", "Amar y vivir", and "Cachito." She started her professional career as a concert pianist at the National Conservatory of Music, performing at Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Mexican broadcasting station XEQ Radio. She later became a singer, composer, and recording artist.