Fernandez, Oscar Lorenzo (1897–1948)

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Fernandez, Oscar Lorenzo (1897–1948)

Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez (b. 4 November 1897; d. 27 August 1948), Brazilian composer, best known for his art songs. His first works, written between 1918 and 1922, were principally songs and piano compositions, but in the early 1920s he became interested in the nationalist movement and began to write works based on Brazilian subjects. In 1924 he was appointed professor of harmony at the National Music Institute and in 1936 established the Brazilian Conservatory, which he directed until his death in 1948.

In 1946, in recognition of the importance of the work of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Fernandez wrote an article, "A contribuição harmonica de Villa-Lobos," which stressed the innovative quality of the harmonic practices of Villa-Lobos. Fernandez shared with him an interest in the Indian melodies collected by explorer Roquette Pínto and in the use of native percussion instruments in orchestral composition. Fernandez's principal contribution to the emerging nationalist movement in music in Brazil was his ability to capture authentic elements of the Afro-Brazilian tradition in art songs and operas based on folk songs. He is best known as the composer of "Batuque," a movement from the suite "Malazarte," taken from an opera of the same title. This piece has been frequently arranged for various band and orchestral ensembles.

See alsoArt: Folk Art; Education: Overview; Music: Art Music.


Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez, "A contribuição harmonica de Villa-Lobos," Boletín latino-americano de música 6 (April 1946).

Vasco Mariz, A canção brasileira, 5th ed. (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Igayara, Susana Cecília. "Oscar Lorenzo Fernández." Revista do Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros 42 (1997): 59-73.

Wolff, Marcua Straubel. Modernismo nacionalista na música brasileira: Camargo Guarnieri e Oscar Lorenzo Fernândez nos anos 30 e 40. Rio de Janeiro: Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Departamento de História, 1991.

                                     David P. Appleby

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Fernandez, Oscar Lorenzo (1897–1948)

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