Alejandro García Caturla

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Alejandro García Caturla

Alejandro García Caturla (7 March 1906 – 12 November 1940) was a Cuban composer of art music and creolized Cuban themes.


Born in Remedios, at sixteen García Caturla played second violin with the newly formed Orquesta Sinfonica de La Habana, of which Amadeo Roldán was concertmaster (first-chair violin). He also began composing while studying music and law. Despite his Spanish descent, he was fascinated by Afro-Cuban folklore,[1] whose themes became characteristic of his compositions at a time when the division between art music and popular music did not influence Cuban composers.[citation needed]

After his student days, García Caturla lived all his life in the small central town of Remedios. He practiced law while continuing to compose music. His Tres Danzas Cubanas for symphony orchestra was first performed in Spain in 1929. Bembe premiered in Havana the same year. In 1932 he founded the Caibarien Concert Society, whose orchestra he conducted on many occasions. His Obertura Cubana won first prize in a national contest in 1938. García Caturla was also a multi-instrumental performer and a baritone of some quality.[citation needed]

García Caturla left two legacies. One as a universal musician who happily combined classical and folkloric themes with modern musical ideas. His career paralleled that of Amadeo Roldán, and the two men are considered pioneers of modern Cuban symphonic art. His other legacy is one of serving justice, first as an attorney and later as a judge. While presiding over a criminal case, García Caturla was murdered at thirty-four by the young gambler he was about to sentence to prison.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ Nicolas Slonimsky, Music of Latin America (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1945): 184.
  2. ^ Carpentier, Alejo 2001 [1945]. Music in Cuba. Minneapolis MN.
  3. ^ Orovio, Helio 2004. Cuban music from A to Z. Revised by Sue Steward. ISBN 0-8223-3186-1 A biographical dictionary of Cuban music, artists, composers, groups and terms. Duke University, Durham NC; Tumi, Bath. p90–91 gives more details of his career.
  4. ^ On the record Sydney Morning Herald (17 October 2010).

Further reading[edit]

  • White, Charles W. 2003. Alejandro Garcia Caturla: a Cuban composer in the twentieth century. Scarecrow Press, Lanham MD. Accompanied by audio CD.

External links[edit]