Biographical Data on Alejandro Garcia Caturla
He was the son of Diana Victoria and Silvino. Alejandro Evelio Garcia Caturla was born in Remedios, Villa Clara, on March 7th, 1906. Since he was very small, barely could reach the keyboard and sitting on the legs of his black handler, he reproduced on the piano the melodies he listened. During his youth he demanded knowledge, while participating in Afro-Cuban ritual festivals in his hometown. His passions for music was evident since then and so he reached easily master the technique of the violin. He began composing at the age of fifteen. With only sixteen, in 1922, he took place between the second violins New Symphony Orchestra of Havana, which was concertmaster by Amadeo Roldan. He composed in his teens, while studying music and law. From his youth he was attracted by Afro-Cuban rhythms something that would mark his compositions. From 1925 to 1927 he continued his musical studies in Paris as a student of Nadia Boulanger. Alejandro Garcia Caturla lived in an era marked by a society divided into classes and which confronted all the time with singular passion. With the same passion and with great courage he faced the reactionary limitations. He always was very independent in all acts of life. He was a man of a very forward thinking. He dared to challenge the bourgeois prejudices of the time and married a black woman, to whom he professed a special love. At the end of his days as a student Caturla returned to his small hometown, from where he began working as a lawyer to support his growing family.
Alejandro Garcia Caturla and his Musical Career
His “Three Cuban Dances” for symphony orchestra premiered in Spain in 1929. “Bembe” premiered that year in Havana. In 1932 he founded the Concert Society of Caibarien, which would lead in many evenings and made known works of Falla, Ravel and Debussy. His “Cuban Overture” won first place nationally in 1938. It was also interpreter of several instruments and a baritone of a certain quality. Alejo Carpentier wrote for him especially the libretto of the opera in one act “Little Hand on the Ground”. Caturla is considered, along with Amadeo Roldan, as the pioneer of modern Cuban symphonic music. However, economic necessity did not allowed him to leave his professional dedication to right, first as a lawyer and later a judge. The work of Alejandro Garcia Caturla is recognized both in Cuba and abroad. It was defined by the writer Alejo Carpentier as the richest and generous musical temperament that has appeared on the island. His art is a synthesis of nationality and universality, tradition and modernity. He wisely mixed postulates of European musical vanguard with Cuban rhythms. Caturla’s symphonic works have been performed by significant orchestras from different countries under the direction of prestigious directors.
Relevant Data on Alejandro Garcia Caturla
Beyond the environment of his native Remedios, Alejandro Garcia Caturla was one of the Cuban symphonic composers of greater importance. He was fully inserted in the musical area of Spain, France, Germany, North America and other nations. He escaped unharmed from first shot attack in Palma Soriano. A second attempt at the hands of a young man who had to be judge the same day took took his life in his hometown on November 12th, 1940, when he was only 34 years old. In his short life he also cultivated journalism as a social historian and art critic and left work on musical pedagogy and the new music of its time. His concern for justice led him to important works, among which an essay on juvenile delinquency. He worked legally in several municipalities and maintained an intransigent conduct in the exercise of his profession. In 1929 he was appointed Municipal Judge of Caibarien and Eminent and Distinguished Son of Remedios City. In 1933 he was appointed Municipal Judge of Ranchuelos. He presented the Laredo Bru Project on the new criminal code and took office of Municipal Judge of Palma Soriano. In 1937 he took over the new position as municipal judge in Quemado de Guines and in 1938 took office as Judge of Remedios.