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García Morillo, Roberto (1911–2003)

García Morillo, Roberto (1911–2003)

Roberto García Morillo (b. 22 January 1911; d. 26 October 2003), Argentine composer and critic. He was born in Buenos Aires and studied at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater Arts under the guidance of Floro Ugarte, José Gil, José André, and Constantino Gaito. Garcia Morillo is noted for the absence of nationalistic elements in his music. His style evolved as atonal music, with modernistic, dissonant harmonies, and very contrapuntal lines but without harshly clashing sounds. Garcia Morillo evoked the Hispanic origins of his ancestors, using renovated archaic forms and textures in his works such as his cantata Marín (1948–1950). The municipality of Buenos Aires awarded a composition prize for his Poema para orquestra (1932) and for Las pinturas negras de Goya (1939). His ballets Harrild (1941) and Usher (1940–1941) were awarded distinctions from the National Commission on culture and the Wagnerian Society, as was his music for the film Juvenilia, which received the Municipal Prize for film music in 1943. In 1938 he began writing music criticism for the newspaper La Nación in Buenos Aires, and also wrote articles for Modern Music, Musical Courier, and the Revista ARS. He is the author of several books: Mussorgsky (1943), Rimsky Korsakoff (1945), Estudios sobre la danza (1948), with Dora Kriner, Siete músicos europeos (1949), and Carlos Chávez (1960).

Some of Garcia Morillo's earlier compositions contain traces of neoclassicism, like his Piano Sonata no. 3, op. 14 (1944–1945). Other works of the same period demonstrate his dexterity with rhythms and the use of engaging and intriguing melodies. Among his important works are Tres pinturas de Paul Klee (1944); El tamarit (1953), a chamber cantata for soprano, baritone, and orchestra; Romances del amor y de la muerte for bass (1959); Música para oboe y orquestra (1962); Cantata de los caballeros for soprano (1965); Música para violin y cuerdas (1967); Symphony no. 1 (1946–1948); Obertura para un drama romántico (1954); Symphony no. 2 (1954–1955); Symphony no. 3 (1961); Divertimento sobre temas de Paul Klee (1967); Ciclo de Dante Alighieri for chamber orchestra (1970); and Variaciones apolíneas for piano (1958–1959).

Garcia Morillo served as president of the Asociación Argentina de Compositores (1992–1998 and 2001–2002) and as president of the Academia Argentina de Música (1995).

See alsoBuenos Aires; Music: Art Music.


Cuarto Inter-American Music Festival (1968), pp. 44, 47, 70; Primer festival internacional de música contemporánea (1970), p. 29.

Rodolfo Arizaga, Enciclopedia de la música argentina (1971), pp. 153-155.

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America: An Introduction (1979), pp. 276-277; New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980).

                                     Alcides Lanza

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