Koellreutter, Hans Joachim (1915–2005)

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Koellreutter, Hans Joachim (1915–2005)

Hans Joachim Koellreutter (b. 2 September 1915; d. 13 September 2005), German-born teacher and composer, who lived in Brazil from 1937.

Koellreutter's effect on young Brazilian composers has been enormous. In 1939 he formed the group Música Viva Brasil and in 1940 began publishing a magazine of the same name. Through his group and his periodical, Koellreutter set out to introduce new music to Brazilian audiences. He championed the theories and music of Arnold Schoenberg, and encouraged his music students to employ the twelvetone technique when writing music. He had many famous music students, among them Gilberto Mendes, Roberto Sion, and Diogo Pacheco. Koellreutter's modernist agenda prompted Brazil's principal nationalist composer, Camargo Guarnieri, to write the famous "Carta aberta aos músicos e críticos do Brasil" (Open letter to musicians and critics of Brazil), in which he attacked the idea that serial technique could be a suitable means of expression for nationalist music. Composers such as César Guerra Peixe, Claudio Santoro, and others who studied with Koellreutter went on to develop their own individual styles, but the ideas and teaching of Koellreutter made a major contribution to twentieth-century Brazilian music. He died in São Paulo on September 13, 2005.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America: An Introduction (1979).

David P. Appleby, The Music of Brazil (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Brito, Teca Alencar de. Koellreutter educador: O humano como objetivo da educaçao musical. São Paulo: Fundaçao Pieropolis, 2001.

Kater, Carlos. Música Viva en H.J. Koellreutter: Movimentos em direçao a modernidade. São Paulo, SP: Musa Editora: Atravez Associação Artístico-Cultural, 2000.

                                        David P. Appleby