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Juan Morel Campos Johanny Navarro Armando Luis Ramírez
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A Brief History of Music in Puerto Rico.


As a result of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States by treaty in 1898. Nevertheless, the musical trends that had been established on the island continued into the 20th century, but musical activity suffered somewhat because of economic depression and the change in sovereignty. Band concerts in the city parks remained popular during this period; many new bands were formed, particularly during the first decade of that century, such as the “Juventud del Comercio” band that was organized in 1903 by Manuel Tizol Márquez. One of the most notable figures during this period was Braulio Dueño Colón (1854-1934). Also an accomplished flutist, a number of his works for contralto and orchestra and were performed constantly. Other composers active during the first half of the 20th century include José Ignacio Quintón (1881-1925), José Enrique Pereira (1904-59) and Augusto Rodríguez (1904-93).
Musical activity began to recover after World War II as the government established many new educational and cultural agencies. A number of important musical institutions were created, such as the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture
(1955), the Puerto Rican Symphony Orchestra (1958) and the Conservatory of Music (1960). Most of the art music composed during this decade was deliberately nationalistic, as composers sought to create a distinctively Puerto Rican music. Since about 1960, composers have adopted a more eclectic viewpoint; today it is not uncommon to find many examples of seralistic, aleatoric, post-Romantic or mixed-media styles. Some of the more important composer of the modern period are Héctor Campos Parsi (1922-98), Rafael Aponte Ledée (1938-), Ernesto Cordero (1946-) and Roberto Sierra (1953-). In addition to Armando Luis Ramírez (1970-), some of the most outstanding of Puerto Rico’s youngest composers are Alfonso Fuentes and Manuel Ceide.

For more information about the music of this country, including links to conservatories, university music departments and other institutes and organizations, please see our country resource page for Puerto Rico.

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