Roldán, Amadeo (1900–1939)

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Roldán, Amadeo (1900–1939)

Amadeo Roldán (b. 12 July 1900; d. 2 March 1939), Cuban composer, conductor, and violinist. Born in Paris of Cuban parents, Roldán settled in Havana in 1921 after studying with A. F. Bordas and Conrado del Campo in Spain. He continued his studies with Pedro Sanjuan in Cuba and established the Society of Chamber Music in 1921. First appointed concertmaster of the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra in 1924, he rose to conductor in 1932. He served as director and taught at the Havana Conservatory from 1934 until his death.

Among the first to bring elements of African Cuban folklore to the concert hall, his works are filled with African Cuban mythology and his collaboration with Alejo Carpentier brought forth the first African Cuban ballet on the island. Associated with the group of intellectuals who invigorated Cuban artistic life in the 1920s and 1930s, he was a guiding spirit for the younger generation of Cuban composers.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Roldán's best-known works are Overture on Cuban Themes (1925) and Motivos de son (1934). For information on his life, see Composers of the Americas, edited by Pan American Union (1955), p. 77; L. Argeliers, "Las obras para piano de Amadeo Roldán," in Revista de música i/4 (Havana, n.d.): 112; Oscar Thompson, ed., International Cyclopedia of Musicians and Music, 11th ed. (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Carpentier, Alejo. La música en Cuba. La Habana: Letras Cubanas, 2004.

Henríquez, María Antonieta, and José Piñeiro Díaz. Amadeo Roldán: Testimonios. La Habana: Letras Cubanas, 2001.

                                    Jacquelyn Briggs Kent

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Roldán, Amadeo (1900–1939)

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