Gaito, Constantino (1878–1945)

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Gaito, Constantino (1878–1945)

Constantino Gaito (b. 3 August 1878; d. 14 December 1945), Argentine composer and teacher. Born in Buenos Aires, Gaito began his musical studies with his father, a violinist. At age eleven he began to compose. He received a scholarship from the Argentine government and went to Italy, where he enrolled at San Pietro a Maiella in Naples, studying under Pietro Platania (composition) and Simonetti (piano). He traveled to Milan to meet Giuseppe Verdi, who helped the young Gaito in his career by conducting a concert of his music at the Milan Conservatory. Initially influenced by the Italians, Gaito returned toward the nationalist style upon his return to Argentina in 1900. He wrote eleven operas, among them Flor de nieve (1922), Ollantay (1926), and Sangre de las guitarras (1932), all of which premiered at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He also wrote two ballets, an oratorio, chamber music, and vocal and piano works.

Gaito was the most renowned music professor of his time, and taught a generation of eminent Argentine composers. He founded a conservatory and taught harmony at the National Conservatory in Buenos Aires. He was also director of the Teatro Argentino in La Plata. Gaito died in Buenos Aires.

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Composers of the Americas, vol. 12 (1966), pp. 50-54.

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America (1979); New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 7 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Ficher, Martha, Martha Furman Schleifer, and John M. Furman. Latin American Classical Composers: A Biographical Dictionary. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

                                        Susana Salgado

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Gaito, Constantino (1878–1945)

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