Aguirre, Julián (1868–1924)

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Aguirre, Julián (1868–1924)

Julián Aguirre (b. 28 January 1868; d. 13 August 1924), Argentine composer and pianist. Born in Buenos Aires, Aguirre spent his formative years in Spain. At fourteen, he enrolled in the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where he studied composition with Emilio Arrieta, piano with Pedro Beck, harmony with José María Aranguren, and fugue with Cató. He was awarded first prize in piano, harmony, and counterpoint. In Madrid the celebrated Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz heard his music and predicted a brilliant career for the young musician. Aguirre returned to Argentina in 1886 and made a name for himself by giving concerts around the country. He spent a year in Rosario studying and experimenting with folk music before settling in Buenos Aires, where he played an important role in the artistic and musical life of the city. His early works drew their inspiration from European styles and forms, but from 1889 on, when he joined with Alberto Williams and others to create a distinctive nationalist style, his compositions for voice and piano—especially the tristes for piano—are based on the folk tunes, rhythms, and harmonies of his native Argentina.

Considered one of the best Argentine composers of his generation, Aguirre was also active in the field of music education, holding administrative and academic positions (professor of harmony) at Williams Conservatory. He founded the music department of the Athenaeum of Buenos Aires (1892) and the Argentine School of Music (1916). He wrote more than sixty piano pieces, two of which, the popular Huella and Gato, were orchestrated and performed by Ernest Ansermet in 1930. The remarkable Rapsodia criolla for violin and piano is a seminal work in the development of an Argentine nationalist style. Aguirre's output of nearly a hundred works includes chamber pieces, voice and piano works, and numerous songs and choral works, many for children. He died in Buenos Aires.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


J. F. Giacobbe, Julián Aguirre (1945).

Rodolfo Arizaga, Enciclopedia de la mú sica argentina (1971).

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America (1979); New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 1 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

García Muñoz, Carmen. Julián Aguirre. Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Cultura y Educación, 1970.

                                        Susana Salgado

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Aguirre, Julián (1868–1924)

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