Alberto Ginastera

Alberto Evaristo Ginastera (Buenos Aires, April 11, 1916 – June 25, 1983 Geneva) was an Argentine composer of classical music. He is considered one of the most important Latin American classical composers.


Ginastera was born in Buenos Aires to a Catalan father and an Italian mother. He preferred to pronounce his surname in its Catalan pronunciation, with an English J sound (IPA2|dʒinaˈsteɾa "JEE-nah-STEH-rah") rather than a Spanish H sound.

He studied at the conservatory in Buenos Aires, graduating in 1938. After a visit to the United States in 1945–47, where he studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, he returned to Buenos Aires and co-founded the League of Composers. He held a number of teaching posts. He moved back to the United States in 1968 and from 1970 lived in Europe. He died in Geneva at the age of 67.

Among his notable students were Ástor Piazzolla (who studied with him in 1941), Waldo de los Ríos, and Rafael Aponte-Ledée.


Ginastera grouped his music into three periods: "Objective Nationalism" (1934–1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948–1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958–1983). Among other distinguishing features, these periods vary in their use of traditional Argentine musical elements. His Objective Nationalistic works often integrate Argentine folk themes in a straightforward fashion, while works in the later periods incorporate traditional elements in increasingly abstracted forms.

The progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer brought Ginastera attention outside of modern classical music circles when they adapted the fourth movement of his first piano concerto and recorded it on their popular album "Brain Salad Surgery" under the title "Toccata." They recorded the piece not only with Ginastera's permission, but with his endorsement. In 1973, when they were recording the album, Keith Emerson met with Ginastera at his home in Switzerland and played a recording of his arrangement for him. Ginastera is reported to have said, "Diabolical!". Emerson misunderstood Ginastera's meaning: Ginastera spoke almost no English and meant that their interpretation was frightening, which had been his intent when he wrote it; Emerson, being British, took it to mean "awful". Emerson was so upset that he was prepared to scrap the piece until Ginastera's wife intervened saying that he approved. Ginastera later said, "You have captured the essence of my music, and no one's ever done that before." This experience is detailed in the liner notes to "Brain Salad Surgery". Emerson would later go on to release an adaptation of one of the pieces from Ginastera's "Suite de Danzas Criollas" entitled "Creole Dance". "Toccata" also gained fame as the theme to the New England cult TV show "Creature Double Feature".



*"Don Rodrigo" (1964)
*"Bomarzo" (1967), banned in Argentina until 1972
*"Beatrix Cenci" (1971)


*"Panambí", Op. 1 (1937)
*"Estancia", Op. 8 (1941)


*Harp Concerto, Op. 25 (1956)
*Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28 (1961)
*Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 39 (1972)
*Violin Concerto, Op. 30 (1963)
*Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 36 (1968)
*Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 (1980)

*Argentine Concerto / "Concierto Argentinos", for piano and orchestra (1937)


*"Danzas Argentinas" Op. 2 (1937)
*Milonga for piano Op. 3
*Three pieces "Tres Piezas" Op. 6 (1940)
*Malambo Op. 7 ( 1940)
*"Little Dance" for piano from Ballet " Estancia " Op. 8
*Twelve American preludes "Doce preludios americanos" Op. 12 (1944)
*Suite of Creole dances "Suite de Danzas Criollas" Op. 15 (1946)
*"Rondo" on Argentine children's folk-tunes "Rondó sobre temas infantiles argentinos" Op. 19 (1947)
*Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 22 (1952)
*Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 53 (1981)
*Piano Sonata No. 3 Op. 54 (1982)
*"Piezas Infantiles" (1934)
*"Danzas Argetinas para los ninos"
**I. Moderato for Alex
**II.Passage "Paisaje" for Georgina
*Toccata for piano (1970)
*:Ginastera's arrangement of an "Organ Toccata" by Domenico Zipoli.


Toccata, Villancico y Fuga (Barry & Cia #1004)

Vocal/choral orchestral

*Two songs, " Dos canciones "Op. 3 (1937)
*Psalm 150 Op. 5 (1938)
*"Cinco canciones populares argentinas" Op. 10 (1943)
*"Las horas de una estancia ( Ocampo )" op. 11 (1943)
*"Lamentaciones de Jeremias Propheta" Op. 14 (1946)
*Cantata para América Mágica, for dramatic soprano and percussion orchestra, Op. 27 (1961?)
*"Bomarzo" Op. 32 (1964), a cantata described as "distinct from the opera" by the "Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music"


*Duo for flute and oboe Op. 13 (1945)
*Piano Quintet Op. 29 (1963)
*String Quartet No. 1 Op. 20 (1948)
*String Quartet No. 2 Op. 26 (1958)
*String Quartet No. 3 Op. 40 (1973)
*Sonata for violoncello and piano, op. 49 (1979)
*Guitar Sonata [Guitar Sonata] , Op. 47 (1976)
*"Pampeana No. 1", for violin and piano Op. 16 (1947)
*"Pampeana No. 2", for cello and piano Op. 21 (1950)
*"Pampeana No. 3", for orchestra Op. 24 (1954)

External links

* [ Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 22 - Ruvido Ed Ostinato] streaming file performed by Dr. Willis G. Miller III.
* [ Danza de la Moza Donosa] streaming file performed by Andrys Basten.
* [ Chronology of Ginastera's works]
* [ Sonata, Alberto Ginastera]

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