Amenábar, Juan (1922–1999)

views updated

Amenábar, Juan (1922–1999)

Juan Amenábar (b. 22 June 1922, d. 3 February 1999), Chilean composer. Born in Santiago, Amenábar was introduced to music by his father, a cellist and member of the Bach Society. At age thirteen he entered the Catholic Conservatory, where he studied harmony with Lucila Césped and choral techniques with Luis Vilches. In 1940 he enrolled at the University of Chile to study civil engineering. He attended the composition classes of Jorge Urrutia Blondel from 1948 to 1952 at the National Conservatory of Santiago. Amenábar joined the National Society of Composers (1953) and while chief of the music programs at Radio Chilena (1953–1956) he promoted contemporary Chilean composers and started to experiment with electronic music. From 1954 to 1957 he organized the concerts of the music department at the Catholic University in Santiago, where he founded the experimental sound workshop. His Los peces (1957), a study on the Fibonacci series, was the first tape composition made in Latin America. In 1958 he took electronic music courses given by Werner Meyer-Eppler at the University of Bonn. Upon his return to Chile, he worked with José Vicente Asuar in the creation of an electronic music studio at the University of Chile.

Amenábar taught composition and served as president of the National Association of Composers. In addition to electronic music, he wrote religious choral music, incidental music for theater and films, chamber music, and piano and organ pieces. He also wrote and published musicological essays about new musical techniques, music for movies, folk music, and more.

See alsoMusic: Art Musicxml .


John Vinton, ed., Dictionary of Contemporary Music (1974); New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 1 (1980).

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America (1979); Composers of the Americas, vol. 17 (1971), p. 15.

Additional Bibliography

Dal Farra, Ricardo. "Something Lost, Something Hidden, Something Found: Electroacoustic Music by Latin American Composers." Organised Sound 11 (2006): 131-142.

                                       Susana Salgado