Sambucetti, Luis (Nicolás) (1860–1926)

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Sambucetti, Luis (Nicolás) (1860–1926)

Luis (Nicolás) Sambucetti (b. 29 July 1860; d. 7 September 1926), Uruguayan composer, conductor, violinist, and teacher. Born in Montevideo, Sambucetti first studied with his father, a musician, and later with Luigi Preti, who instructed him in violin, and José Strigelli, in counterpoint. He enrolled at the National Conservatory in Paris in 1885, where he studied violin with Hubert Léonard, harmony with Théodore Dubois, and composition under Ernest Guiraud, Jules Massenet, and Léo Delibes for three years. For two years he was the concertmaster of the Chatelet Théâtre Orchestra under the baton of Édouard Colonne. In 1890 he returned to Montevideo, where he founded the Instituto Verdi, one of the major conservatories of Uruguay. He also started three chamber groups: the Cuarteto Sambucetti (1891), a second Cuarteto Sambucetti (1900), and the Sociedad de Conciertos (1911). As founder, organizer, and conductor of the Orquesta Nacional (1908), he introduced to Montevideo the contemporary symphonic repertoire, especially that of the French impressionists.

As a composer Sambucetti is considered the master of early Uruguayan symphonism. Besides his lyric poem, San Francesco d'Assisi, winner of a first prize and gold medal at the Milan International Fair Competition (1906), his Suite d'orchestre—a symphonic triptych performed at the Teatro Solís on 29 September 1899—has unique shades of orchestral color, particularly in the use of woodwind instruments. It is considered the best Uruguayan symphonic work of the nineteenth century. As a teacher and educator Sambucetti guided a whole generation of Uruguayan composers in the early twentieth century. He also wrote three operettas, orchestral and chamber music, and works for voice and piano and for violin. With his wife, the pianist María Verninck, he translated Reber-Dubois's Harmony Treatise and other didactic music books into Spanish. He died in Montevideo.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Lauro Ayestarán, Luis Sambucetti: Vida y obra (1956); Composers of the Americas, vol. 14 (1968), pp. 140-146.

Susana Salgado, Breve historia de la música culta en el Uruguay, 2d ed. (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Manzino, Leonardo. "La Música Uruguaya en los Festejos de 1892 con Motivo del IV Centenario del Encuentro de Dos Mundos." Latin American Music Review/Revista de Música Latinoamericana 14:1 (Spring, 1993): 102-130.

                                         Susana Salgado