General Information on Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier Balmont was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 26th, 1904. He was the son of a French architect Julien Georges Carpentier and a Russian professor Catherine Balmont or Blagoobrasoff.
Being very small he moved to Havana where he enjoyed a good education combined with a bilingual education, the passion for reading and a great musical vocation.
In 1910 Carpentier began his studies in the capital CandlerCollege.
At seven years old he plays on the piano Chopin preludes and makes games in the pedals with pieces by Debussy.
His first small prose written was about the importance of the cyclone in the Caribbean life.
He also writes novels and readings influenced by tales of Emilio Salgari and Anatole France.
Alejo decides to abandon his project of studying at the University to find work and then he began to publish articles in the Havana press under the pseudonym Lina Valmont, since he was not old enough to be hired.
On November 20th, 1922 he signed for the first with his name.
Notes on the Versatile Artistic Work of Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier dabbled in journalism, poetry, narrative, music (lyrics) and many other genres that made him a universal writer.
He practiced worship journalism form and with a deep knowledge of history, classical architecture and modern, ethnology, geography, philosophy and politics, he demonstrated his extraordinary qualities as a critic of literature, theater, painting, sculpture and film.
A very small sample of his virtuosity – because its total work comprises more than 4000 articles – can be found in his Chronicles, published in Havana in 1976, which was published in two volumes and gathers 146 articles.
Another significant example is Letter and Sol-fa, published in Caracas in 1975. All this confirms the varied and profound culture and refined journalistic style he had.
He wrote the scripts of the Yamba-O Cantatas in 1928, The Black Passion in 1932 – both with music by Marius François Gallard – and The Doors of the Sun 1970 with music by Michel Pung.
Alejo Carpentier after the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution
With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Alejo Carpentier is appointed general manager of the Cuba and the Caribbean Popular Books Editorial.
He published in the Nueva Revista de Cuba (New Magazine of Cuba) a version of chapters I to III of El Siglo de las Luces (The Enlightment Century).
He collaborated in Cuban periodic printings such as The World, Revolution, Granma, La Gaceta de Cuba( The Cuban ….), Union, Cuba, Islands, Casa de las Americas (Americas House), Bohemia and Revolution and Culture.
In 1960 he was appointed by the revolutionary government as vice president of the Culture National Council.
The following year he was appointed vice president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba. He represents the Island in the Mexican Seventh Book Festival and participates in the First Congress of Cuban Writers and Artists.
From 1962-1966 he was appointed Executive Director of the National Publishing House of Cuba.
He also taught Cultural History at the School of History at the Havana University.
He was one of the responsible persons for the Union magazine along with Nicolas Guillen and Roberto Fernandez Retamar.
In 1968 he published Hero of America, a tribute to Ernesto Che Guevara and in 1969 the essays Literature and Political Awareness in Latin America.
He dies in Paris on April 24th, 1980. His body was exposed at the base of the Monument to Jose Marti in the Revolution Square, where a moving funeral tribute was paid to him and in which revolutionary government and the full Havana people representing all Cubans participated.