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Rios, Waldo de los

Rios, Waldo de los

Rios, Waldo de los , Argentine composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist; b. Buenos Aires, Sept. 7, 1934; d. (of a self-inflicted gunshot wound) Madrid, March 29, 1977. He studied in Argentina with his mother, Martha de los Rios, a prominent Argentine folksinger, then had piano, composition, and conducting lessons at the National Academy of Music (graduated, 1954). He served in the Argentine military; concurrently made his first folk recordings with Columbia Records (1955). This and subsequent recordings of indigenous folk tunes arranged for sym. orch. were not well received, since Argentina was experiencing renewed interest in its folk music and was intent upon authenticity. In 1962 he emigrated to Spain, where he subsequently made it his mission to popularize the classics for the enlightenment of the masses; this he accomplished by selecting outstanding movements from large-scale, well-known works and, after condensing them to 3–5 minutes, arranging them for symphonic forces augmented by pop ensembles which included saxophone, drums, and Spanish and/or Latin percussion instruments. His rendition of Mozart’s Sym. No. 40 became particularly popular. During the 1970s he was conductor-director of the Manuel de Falla Orch. and Chorus, with which he made numerous recordings, including Sinfonias (1971), Operas (1974), Sinfonias for the 70’s (1975), Concertos for the 70’s (1976), and Corales (1978). Among his legitimately original works was South American Suite (1957), based upon primitive melodies and rhythms of Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru, and scored for orch. augmented by guitars, Indian harp, and various native wind and percussion instruments.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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