Alberto Nepomuceno (July 6, 1864 – October 16, 1920) was a Brazilian composer and conductor.


Alberto Nepomuceno (July 6, 1864  – October 16, 1920) was a Brazilian composer and conductor.


Nepomuceno was born in the city of Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceará in Northeastern Brazil. His parents were Vitor Augusto Nepomuceno and Maria Virginia de Oliveira Paiva. He began to study music with his father, a violinist, organist, teacher and chapel-master at the Fortaleza Cathedral. In 1872, he and his family moved to Recife, also in Northeastern Brazil, where he initiated piano and violin studies. He went on to become an outspoken defender of Republican and Abolitionist causes in Brazil, and was active in campaigns that ultimately led to the overthrow of the Monarchy and the establishment of the First Brazilian Republic in 1889. At the age of eighteen, he became director of the Clube Carlos Gomes (Carlos Gomes Club) in Recife.

In 1885, a series of songs in Portuguese by Nepomuceno was premiered at the Brazilian Musical National Institute. The concert was intended at defying those who thought Portuguese was inappropriate for the bel canto. As criticism poured, he embarked on a battle against newspapers and music critics. His struggle on behalf of nationalism in classical music led him to work at the Popular Concert Association from 1896 to 1906, where he pushed for the recognition of several Brazilian composers.

In 1888, he left for Europe in order to further his musical studies. In Rome, he took lessons from Giovanni Sgambati. He moved to Berlin in 1890, where he studied composition with Heinrich von Herzogenberg and continued his piano studies with Theodor Leschetizky at the Stern Conservatory. In Leschetizky's class, he met Norwegian student Walborg Bang, whom he ended up marrying in 1893. Bang had been a student and friend of Edvard Grieg's. After the wedding, Nepomuceno moved to Bergen and lived in Grieg's house. As Grieg was also an advocate for nationalism in composition, the friendship was instrumental in convincing Nepomuceno to write music which reflected Brazilian culture. Before leaving Europe, he visited Paris, where he met Camille Saint-Saëns and Vincent d'Indy.

Upon his return to Brazil, he taught at the Instituto Nacional de Música (National Music Institute) in Rio de Janeiro. Later on, Gustav Mahler engaged him to conduct at the Vienna Opera House, but illness prevented the deed from taking place. He went again to Europe in 1910 for a series of concerts in Brussels, Geneva and Paris. During this trip, he became friends with Claude Debussy. Back in Brazil, he championed the use of Portuguese in opera and song and remained the leading musical figure in the country until his death at age 56. Heitor Villa-Lobos was one of his students.

Among his prominent works is his String Quartet No. 3 "Brasileiro" (Brazilian). According to Nepomuceno's handwritten note, it was composed in Berlin in 1890. It is probably the earliest example of the integration of Brazilian folk melody with the Central European romantic idiom. The "Brasileiro" String Quartet remained unpublished until 2005, and was only rarely performed before then.

Also notable are the operas Abul (1905), Artemis (1898), Electra (1894) and O Garatuja (unfinished), the Orchestral Pieces (1888), the Sinfonia in G minor (1893) and the Serenata (1902).

Info: Brazilian composer
Index: 6.3
Type: Person Male
Period: 1864.7.6 - 1920.10.16
Age: aged 56
Area :Brazil
Occupation :Composer
Periods :Romantic Music / Modernist Music


Update Time:2021-10-09 15:47 / 3 months, 1 week ago.