Juan Morel Campos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Juan Morel Campos
Juan Morel Campos, Founder of the Ponce Municipal Band
Juan Morel Campos, Founder of the Ponce Municipal Band
Background information
Born(1857-05-16)16 May 1857
OriginPonce, Puerto Rico
Died12 May 1896(1896-05-12) (aged 38)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Occupation(s)Composer, Founder of the Ponce Municipal Band

Juan Morel Campos (16 May 1857 – 12 May 1896), sometimes erroneously spelled Juan Morell Campos, was a Puerto Rican composer, considered by many to be responsible for taking the genre of danza to its highest level. He composed over 550 musical works before he died unexpectedly at age 38.[1]

Early years[edit]

Morel Campos (full name: Juan Nepomuceno Morel Campos[2]) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to Manuel Morel Araujo, from the Dominican Republic, and Juana de Dios Campos Collazo, from Venezuela.[3][4] He began to study music at the young age of eight in his hometown under the guidance of Antonio Egipciaco.[5] Morel Campos was a student of Puerto Rican composer and pianist Gonzalo de J. Núñez (1850 - 1915[6]), whose students also included the internationally known musicians and composers Manuel Gregorio Tavárez and Arístides Chavier Arévalo.[7] Morel Campos learned to play practically every brass instrument and eventually became one of the founders and directors of the "Ponce Firemen's Band" (La Banda de Bomberos del Parque de Bombas de Ponce). The legendary band was later renamed the Ponce Municipal Band.

First composition[edit]

Later, Morel Campos became a student of the composer Manuel Gregorio Tavárez, "The Father of the Danza". Campos' first danza composition was called "Sopapos". The influence of Tavárez, plus the particular style developed by Morel Campos can be listened to in his music today.

Morel Campos had his own dance orchestra, "La Lira Ponceña." Most of his danzas were written for dancing. He modified his compositions so that they may also be played on piano. Morel Campos is best known for his danza compositions, but he also composed waltzes, operas, symphonies, marches and overtures.

Women and the theme of love inspired most of his musical compositions. His great love was a lady named Mercedes Arias, but her family did not approve of their relationship.[8] It was from that frustrated "love" that many of Morel Campos's beautiful danzas were born, with "Maldito amor" (Damned Love) as an example. Among his other best-known compositions were "Felices días" (Happy Days), "No me toques" (Do Not Touch Me), and "Idilio" (Idyll).

Selection of Danzas by Morel Campos[edit]

External audio
audio icon You may listen to Luciano Quiñones piano interpretation of Morel Campos's "No me toques" here

The following is a list of some of Morel Campos's Danzas:[9]

  • Conversación (Conversation)
  • Felices días (Happy Days)
  • Idilio (Idyll)
  • Maldito amor (Damned Love)
  • No me toques (Do Not Touch Me)
  • Sin tí jamás (Never without you)
  • Sí, te toco (Yes, I will touch you)
  • Sueño de amor (Dream of love)
  • Ten piedad (Have pity)
  • Tormento (Torment)
  • Un conflicto (A conflict)
  • Vano empeño (Trying in vain)

Domingo Cruz "Cocolía" became director of the Firefighters' Band upon the untimely death of Morel Campos.

Later years[edit]

Juan Morel Campos suffered a stroke on 26 April 1896 during a concert in Ponce. He died of the stroke soon thereafter on 16 May, in Ponce. In December 1926, his remains were buried on the pedestal of his statue in Plaza Las Delicias.[10] His wife was Secundina Beltrán Collazo. Their children were Olimpia, Eugenia, Belén, Plácido, and Manuel.[11]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Revive a Morel la Peña Musical. Vangie Rivera. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  2. ^ Juan Morel Campos: un Beethoven boricua que antecedió a la salsa, Fundacion Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Accessed 10 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Juan Morel Campos" Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, Puerto Rico Encyclopedia] Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Repensar a Morel" Archived 25 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine by Federico A. Cordero. El Nuevo Dia: Revista Domingo. 21 May 2006. (in Spanish) Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  5. ^ Musica de Puerto Rico
  6. ^ Music: up close and personal. Archived 2013-05-08 at the Wayback Machine Annie Laurie Cisneros. The Panama News: Panama's Online Newspaper. Vol. 9. Number 20. 19 Oct. – 8 Nov. 2003. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ CHAPTER I, ISLAND LIFE FROM 1898 TO 1922. Jose A. Montalvo. Hector Campos Parsi: The development of 20th Century Music in Puerto Rico. 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  8. ^ Juan Morel Campos. El Hogar de la Danza Puertorriqueña. 2016. Accessed 27 July 2017.
  9. ^ Danzas. El Hogar de la Danza Puertorriqueña. 2016. Accessed 27 July 2017.
  10. ^ Juan Morel Campos Music Institute. Travel Ponce.
  11. ^ Juan Morel Campos: un Beethoven boricua que antecedió a la salsa. Fundación Nacional Para la Cultura Popular. 18 May 2007.
  12. ^ Juan Morel Campos School of the Arts. Accessed 15 December 2020.
  13. ^ Escuela Juan Morel Campos (Elemental). EscuelasdePR.com. 2020. Accessed 15 December 2020.
  14. ^ Escuela Juan Morel Campos. Puerto Rico Department of Education. Accessed 15 December 2020.
  15. ^ Juan Morel Campos Music Institute. Travel Ponce.
  16. ^ Music. Travel Ponce.com. Retrieved 3 October 2013.

External links[edit]