Composer. Regarded as one of the foremost South American musicians of the 20th Century. Much of his work is based on Argentine folk music, channelled through a modernist style. Alberto Evaristo Ginastera was born in Buenos Aires, of Spanish-Italian ancestry. He attended Argentina's National Conservatory from 1936 to 1938 and became professor of composition there in 1941. During an extended stay in the United States on a Guggenheim fellowship (1945 to 1947), he studied with Aaron Copland and absorbed a wide array of musical influences. Ginastera's outspoken political views (notably his opposition to dictator Juan Peron) led to frequent clashes with his country's government; he was ejected from the faculty of the La Plata Conservatory in 1955 and his work was occasionally banned. In 1971 he settled in Geneva, where he died. His second wife was cellist Aurora Natola. Until the late 1940s Ginastera was viewed as a nationalist and his earliest major compositions - the ballets "Panambi" (1940) and "Estancia" (1941), the "Sinfonia portena" (1942), and the String Quartet No. 1 (1948) - are steeped in the spirit of his homeland's native songs and dances. After his sojourn in the US his language grew increasingly complex and atonal and by the 1960s he was considered a leader of the musical avant-garde. Ginastera's international career peaked with his violent, sexually explicit opera "Bomarzo" (1967), which made use of cinematic and stream-of-consciousness techniques. He further developed this approach with the opera "Beatrix Cenci" (1971), written for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He also experimented with electronic and aleatory effects. Towards the end of his life he showed signs of returning to the more consonant idiom of his youth. His other important compositions include a Piano Sonata (1952), the "Variaciones Concertantes" for orchestra (1953), the String Quartet No. 2 (1958), two Piano Concertos (1961, 1972), the Violin Concerto (1963), the opera "Don Rodrigo" (1964), and the Cello Concerto (1968).
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
unknown–2009 (m. 1971)