- Amadeo Roldán
Amadeo Roldán y Gardes (
June 12, 1900, in Paris– March 7, 1939, in Havana) was a Cuban composerand violinist. Born in France to Cuban parents, he studied music theory and violin at the Madrid Conservatory, graduating in 1916. Around the turn of the decade he moved to Cuba. In the mid-1920s he was appointed concertmaster of the Orquesta Filarmonica of Havana (he would assume the position of conductor in 1932) and founded the Havana String Quartet.
During this period, Roldán, one of the leaders of the "Afrocubanismo" movement, wrote the first symphonic pieces to incorporate Afro-Cuban percussion instruments. [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761569844_4/Cuba.html#p414 >] The fifth and sixth of his "Rítmicas" (1930) appear to be the first works in the Western classical music tradition scored for percussion alone.
Roldán's best known composition is the 1928 ballet "La Rebambaramba", described by a critic of the era as "a multicolored musicorama...depicting an Afro-Cuban fiesta in a gorgeous display of Caribbean melorhythms, with the participation of a multifarious fauna of native percussion effects, including a polydental glissando on the jawbone of an ass." [http://www.americancomposers.org/rel20010121.htm >]
His work was regularly featured in concerts sponsored by the Pan-American Association of Composers, founded by
Henry Cowell, including the inaugural, March 1929 performance in New York.
Amadeo Roldán Theater
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