Zumaya, Manuel de (c. 1678–1756)

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Zumaya, Manuel de (c. 1678–1756)

Manuel de Zumaya (b. ca. 1678; d. between 12 March and 6 May 1756), Mexican composer and the first Mexican-born chapelmaster of the cathedral of Mexico City. Zumaya was a choirboy at the cathedral and became a pupil of the chapelmaster, the composer and organist Antonio Salazar. At sixteen he began lessons with the principal organist, José de Ydíaquez. Zumaya was ordained a priest in 1700 and a few years later was appointed one of three organists of the cathedral and polyphony teacher of the choirboys; he served as assistant to and substitute for Salazar. At Salazar's death in 1715, Zumaya was designated his successor as cathedral chapelmaster. To celebrate his twenty-four years at the cathedral, a new great organ was installed, considered the best of its kind in the Americas; its inauguration (15 August 1735) was commemorated with lavish festivities.

As a church composer Zumaya followed the traditional Spanish religious music style, but in some of his villancicos and in all his stage works he was strongly influenced by Italian opera. The music of the church at that time was not only for organ; strings and wind instruments accompanied the choirs with embellished melodic lines, strongly resembling operatic arias. In 1708 Zumaya had composed the music for Don Rodrigo [El Rodrigo], a play performed at the viceroyal palace; the manuscript, however, has been lost. The duke of Linares, the viceroy, made possible the performance of Zumaya's opera La parténope at the palace in May 1711. After Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco's La púrpura de la rosa, this opera was the second premiered in the New World and the first written by an American-born composer. In 1739 Zumaya moved to Oaxaca, where he became chapelmaster in 1745. He remained in that position until his death in Oaxaca.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Robert Stevenson, Music in Mexico (1952), and "Mexico City Cathedral Music, 1600–1750," The Americas 21 (1964): 130; New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 20 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Dean, Michael Noel. Renaissance and Baroque Characteristics in Four Choral Villancicos of Manuel de Sumaya: Analysis and Performance Editions. Ph.D. diss. Texas Tech University, 2002.

                                   Susana Salgado