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Castro, Juan José

Castro, Juan José

eminent Argentine composer and conductor, brother of José Maria Castro and Washington Castro; b. Avellaneda, near Buenos Aires, March 7, 1895; d. Buenos Aires, Sept. 3, 1968. After study in Buenos Aires, he went to Paris, where he took a course in composition with d’Indy. Returning to Argentina in 1929, he organized in Buenos Aires the Orquesta de Nacimiento, which he conducted; in 1930 he conducted the ballet season at the Teatro Colón; conducted opera there from 1933; also became music director of the Asociación del Profesorado Orquestal and Asociación Sinfónica, with which he gave first local performances of a number of modern works. In 1934 he received a Guggenheim Foundation grant. From 1947 to 1951 he conducted in Cuba and Uruguay; from 1952 to 1953 he was principal conductor of the Victorian Sym. Orch. in Melbourne, Australia; from 1956 to 1960 he was conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Buenos Aires; from 1959 to 1964 he was director of the Puerto Rico Cons, in San Juan. Castro was proficient in all genres of composition, but his works were rarely performed outside South America, and he himself conducted most of his symphonic compositions. His most notable success outside his homeland came when he won the prize for the best opera in a La Scala competition in Milan with his Prosperpino e lo straniero (in Spanish as Prosperpina y el extranjero) in 1952.

Works

DRAMATIC: Opera: La Zapatera prodigiosa (Montevideo, Dec. 23, 1949); Prosperpina e lo straniero (Milan, March 17, 1952); Bodas de sangre (Buenos Aires, Aug. 9, 1956); Cosecha negra (1961). ballet:Mekhano (Buenos Aires, July 17, 1937); Offenbachiana (Buenos Aires, May 25, 1940). orch.:Dans le jardin des morts (Buenos Aires, Oct. 5, 1924); A una madre (Buenos Aires, Oct. 27, 1925); La Chellah, symphonic poem (Buenos Aires, Sept. 10, 1927); 5 syms.: No. 1 (1931), No. 2, Sinfonía biblica, for Chorus and Orch. (1932), No. 3, Sinfonía Argentina (Buenos Aires, Nov. 29, 1936), No. 4, Sinfonía de los campos (Buenos Aires, Oct. 29, 1939), and No. 5 (1956); Allegro, Lento y Vivace (1931); Anunciación, Entrada a Jerusalem, Golgotha (Buenos Aires, Nov. 15, 1932); Piano Concerto (1941); Corales criollos No. 3, symphonic poem (1953); Suite introspectiva (1961; Los Angeles, June 8, 1962); Violin Concerto (1962). chamber: Violin Sonata (1914); Cello Sonata (1916); String Quartet (1942). keyboard: piano:2 sonatas (1917, 1939); Corales criollos Nos. 1 and 2 (1947). vocal:Epitafio en ritmos y sonidos for Chorus and Orch. (1961); Negro for Soprano and Orch. (1961); songs.

Bibliography

R. Arizaga, J. J. C.(Buenos Aires, 1963).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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