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Composition Award: half a century in favor of Latin American music

Published: 2017.04.24 - 15:53:54   /  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

During the sixties the great and persevering Cuban composer Harold Gramatges, who worked for those years in the Casa de las Américas, proposed to the director of the institution, Haydée Santamaría, the idea of creating a music award that would stimulate and disseminate the musical creation of contemporary Latin America.

That commitment of the Casa de las Américas with the region's avant-garde music would come to fruition in the 1966-1967 period, in which the then Musical Composition Competition took place and the first two calls were dedicated to choral and chamber works.

During the first meetings, judges and contestants such as Chilean Gustavo Becerra-Schmidt, Enrique Rivera, Gabriel Brncic and Sergio Ortega met in Havana, as well as Argentine Leopoldo Hurtado and Eduardo Kusnir, and the Cuban Carlos Fariñas and Manuel Duchesne Cuzán.

Later on, the award did not continue for a number of reasons. However, that initiative would be resumed later, in late 2004, and on that occasion it was under the label of the Casa de las Américas Composition Award, whose award-winning works would be part of the multimedia collection Composition Award.

Under this perspective, the Casa de las Américas Composition Award held its seventh annual edition between April 10-14, and it remains faithful to its history and tradition of half a century ago.

"It seems to me that the fact that the Casa de las Américas Composition Award is 50 years old, thus pursuing continuity is important. Half a century ago, the Casa de las Américas committed to the creation of Latin America, and although it had to recess for so many years it remained a pending task until in 2004, we resumed the award as a purpose and we have carried out these seven editions, said María Elena Vinueza, vice president of the Casa de las Américas and director of its Music Department.

Parallel to the award the fifth Latin American Composition and Performance Workshop, which is jointly organized by the Casa de las Américas and the Association of Musicians of the Association of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), was held and his president Guido López-Gavilán stressed:

"We are really happy that this initiative, which emerged amongst us ten years ago, has become a beautiful reality. We have been able to enjoy the presence of great maestros, and I can say with full responsibility, of the music of our continent in all the editions."

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