Venezuela Music and Cinema

By | December 16, 2021

Music. – Until the mid-sixties the musical movement in Venezuela remained linked to the nationalistic current, which arose during the twenties with VE Sojo (1887-1974) and JB Plaza (1898-1965), and developed in the second quarter of the century through the work of the younger composers who had trained at their school.

During the Thirties some students from Sojo dominated the music scene, among which C. Figueredo (b.1910), JC Laya (b.1913), E. Castellanos (b.1915), A. Lauro (b. 1917), I. Carreno (b. 1919), M. Bor (b. 1926) and G. Castellanos (b. 1926). Some composers of the older generation began to look with interest at the avant-garde techniques already in the 1950s: among these A. Estévez (b.1916), author of compositions for electronic music such as Cosmovibrafonia I and Cosmovibrafonia II (both from 1970), R Hernandez-Lopez (b. 1918), one of the first, together with the younger A. Planchart (b. 1935), to introduce the serial technique in his country; A. Rago (b. 1920), winner in 1968 of the ivMusic Festival of the Two Americas held in Washington with the composition Musica de Sueños y Cosmogonia, and JL Muñoz (b. 1928), author of Moviles for orchestra (1967), in which he uses random techniques.

However, it was only in the 1960s that there was a more general renewal of the musical life of the country, promoted above all by the Instituto Nacional de Cultura Y Bellas Artes (INCIBA), whose activity was particularly aimed, in the music sector, to protect and encourage the production of the young composers. On the initiative of INCIBA, the Electronic Music Laboratory was founded in Caracas in 1965, directed by the Chilean composer JV Asuar, one of the most important centers in Latin America in this sector. The following year, the Caracas Music Festival, dedicated to new music, is inaugurated. For Venezuela political system, please check

Among the younger composers who have established themselves in recent years, we remember among all A. Del Monaco (b. 1938) and LM Bance (b. 1945).

Del Monaco is the author of compositions for electronic music, including Cromofonías I (1967), Tres Ambientes Coreográficos (1970), Synus-17/251271, electronic music with computers (1972), Estudio Electrónico II (1970) and III (1974) ; for traditional instruments he composed, among other things, Encuentros del eco, for 2 pianos and percussion (1976), and Tupac Amaru, for orchestra (1977). Bance is the author of music that embraces the symphonic, chamber and vocal genres: remember Himnos, Tropos y Secuencias, for 10 instruments (1975), Tiento, Protesta, Coral y Danza, for five trumpets, five horns, trombones, tubas, percussion and double bass (1975), Trio para cuerdas, for violin, viola and cello (1977), and Tríptico, for violin (1977).

Particularly significant during the seventies was the work done by the Greek composer Y. Ioannidis (b. 1930), residing in Caracas between 1968 and 1976, director of the INCIBA chamber orchestra and teacher at the Caracas conservatory, whose influence on the young Venezuelan composers proved to be very fruitful. Some of the most significant works by J. Benzaquén (b. 1945), author of Relieves (1975), for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, viola, cello and double bass, date back to these years ; by R. Delgado Estévez (b. 1946), director of the Institute of musical phonology, and author of Primelectropus concrete music (1975), for piano, flute and synthesizer; ST Marin (b. 1947), lecturer at the Instituto de phonologia, author of Poema para orquesta (1977), written for the First Latin American Contemporary Music Festival Ciudad de Maracaibo; F. Ruiz (b. 1948), one of Sojo’s last pupils, director of the polyphonic vocal group ” Quinteto Cantaclaro ”, author among other things of the symphonic-vocal poem Evocación (1976); A. Rugeles (b.1949), author of Polucion, for violin, viola, cello and piano (1976).

A few years younger, M. Guinand (b. 1953) has recently established themselves, who presented Miniaturas for violin and piano at the first International Festival of Contemporary Music in 1977 in Caracas ; D. Pérez (b. 1955), author of Nota (1976), for voice and violin; and C. Duarte (b. 1957), author of Micron, for piano and orchestra (1973). Thanks above all to the activity of R. Delgado Estévez and ST Marin, a new generation of composers has been formed at the Instituto de fonologia musical: the members of the Grupo Nueva Musica are part of it., such as M. Maduro, O. Pinto, J. Jiménez and L. Leal, also generally oriented to recovering the forms of traditional music using modern techniques such as electroacoustics.

Cinema. – Made in 1909, Carnaval en Caracas by A. Gonzales Vidal and MA Gonhom marked the birth of cinema in Venezuela; but despite the success of this short film, the film industry will be destined to go down a path full of difficulties, so much so that for some decades cinema will always lag behind the development achieved in other countries. As proof of this, just think that the first sound film – the short film Taboga by R. Rivero – made its appearance in 1937. Not even the presence of sound was able to exert a propulsive thrust: industrially, cinema remained marked by a poor technical quality. level, and even from the thematic point of view he could not overcome the folkloristic or awkwardly melodramatic characters.

We have to wait until the 1970s for Venezuelan cinematography to enter a pre-industrial phase, definitively leaving improvisation and craftsmanship behind. It is no coincidence that it is from this moment that, with the expansion of the socio-political genre, works capable of transcending national borders begin to be produced: from La quema de Judas (1974) and El pez que fuma (1977) by R. Chalbaud a Fiebre (1976) by J. Santana, from El cabito (1977) by D. Oropeza to Juan Topocho (1977) by C. Bolivar, from Amerika, terra incognita (1987) by D. Risquez to Con el corazón en the hand (1990) by M. Walerstein, while the commitment of documentary makers is remarkable, thanks also to the creation of the Fondo de fomento cinematographic, in País portatil (1977) by J. Feo and A. Llerandi. The highest international results were achieved by director F. Torres, winner of the Caméra d’or in Cannes in 1985 for the film Oriana, and by D. Suárez for Disparen a matar, inspired by the 1992 coup; but the attention of the critics has also stopped on Th. Urgelles (La boda, 1982; Los platos del diablo, 1993) and on C. Oteyza (Roraima, 1993); to which we must add at least Pequeña revancha (1985) by O. Barrera, La oveja negra (1985) and Cuchillos de fuego (1990) by R. Chalbaud and Jericó (1989) by LA Lamata. A co-production with Italy, Terra Nova by C. Salvo (1991), starred M. Laurito. A. Arce (Wanadi, 1981) is worth mentioning among the authors of animated films.

Venezuela Music and Cinema