Heitor Villa-Lobos

Villa-Lobos, Heitor (āˈtôr vēˈlä-lôˈbôs) [key], 1887–1959, Brazilian composer, educated in Brazil but self-taught in composition. He developed an interest in Brazilian folk music, which became the strongest influence on his works. A series of compositions which he called Chôros, ranging from an instrumental solo to an orchestral work, employ a synthesis of the different modes of Brazilian folk and popular music. Outstanding are Chorôs No. 7 (1924), for strings and woodwinds, No. 10 (1926), for orchestra and chorus, and No. 11 (1928; premiere, 1942), for piano and orchestra. He visited Paris (c.1923–26), conducted various orchestras in Europe, and became well known there; but it was not until his music was played at the New York World's Fair (1939–40) that he became known in the United States. In 1932 he was appointed director of musical education in Brazil. He came to the United States (1944–45) to conduct various orchestras in performances of his works. His compositions, including five symphonies, several operas, concertos, chamber music, and songs, number about 2,000. Although these are of uneven quality, his best works, such as Bachiana's brasileira's No. 1 (1930), written in homage to Bach, display great originality and vitality.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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