Renovation, Rupture, and Restoration

The modernist musical experience in Latin America

Authored by: Alejandro L. Madrid

The Modernist World

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415845038
eBook ISBN: 9781315778334
Adobe ISBN: 9781317696162


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Musical modernism in Latin America is difficult to define. There have been a great variety of aesthetic projects throughout Latin America from the end of the nineteenth to the beginning of the twenty-first century that one could easily understand as responding to a modernist spirit. The music of composers as stylistically different as the Argentine Alberto Williams and the Cuban Leo Brouwer responds to similar modernist concerns, charting fundamental continuities that even divergent aesthetic, geographic, and temporal contexts cannot wholly obscure. Taking its impetus from these continuities, this chapter provides a narrative based on stylistic and aesthetic tendencies that cross national boundaries, instead of focusing on national affiliations or styles. By attending to the presence of women, from Carmen Barradas – who stopped composing in the 1930s, discouraged by her male colleagues’ lack of interest in her work – to female composers throughout Latin America at the end of the twentieth century (Adina Izarra, Hilda Paredes, Ana Lara, Diana Arsimendi, Gabriela Ortiz), musical modernism also offers a glimpse into one of modernization’s central features: women’s advancement into mainstream Western social and cultural life.

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