Williams, Alberto, important Argentine composer and music educator; b. Buenos Aires, Nov. 23, 1862; d. there, June 17, 1952. He was the grandson of an Englishman, and his maternal grandfather, Amancio Alcorta, was one of Argentina’s early composers. Williams studied piano with Mathias, harmony with Durand, counterpoint with Godard, and composition with Franck and Bériot on a scholarship at the Paris Cons. He returned to Argentina in 1889 and founded the Alberto Williams Cons, in 1893. He also organized branches of the Cons. in provincial towns of Argentina, numbering more than 100, and founded a music publ. firm, La Quena (also a music magazine of that name). The greatest influence in his music was that of Franck, but modernistic usages are found in Williams’s application of whole-tone scales, parallel chord progressions, etc. In many of his works he used characteristic melorhythms of Argentina. He composed a number of piano pieces in Argentine song and dance forms (milongas, gatos, cielitos, etc.). Williams also publ. numerous didactic works and several books of poetry.
9 syms. (all 1st perf. in Buenos Aires): No. 1 (Nov. 25,1907), No. 2, La bruja de las montañas (Sept. 9,1910), No. 3, La Selva sagrada (Dec. 8, 1934), No. 4, El Ataja-Caminos (Dec. 15, 1935), No. 5, El corazón de la muñeca (Nov. 29, 1936), No. 6, La muerte del cometa (Nov. 26, 1937), No. 7, Eterno reposo (Nov. 26, 1937), No. 8 (1938), and No. 9 (1939); several suites of Argentine dances; 3 violin sonatas (1905, 1906, 1907); Cello Sonata (1906); Piano Trio (1907); a great number of piano albums, the last of which was En el parque (1952).
Z. Lacoigne, A. W.: Músico argentino (Buenos Aires, 1942); Homenajes a A. W.(Buenos Aires, 1942); V. Risolía, A. W., Curriculum vitae (Buenos Aires, 1944).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire