Alberto Nepomuceno (July 6, 1864 Fortaleza - October 16, 1920 Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian composer and conductor
Alberto Nepomuceno was born in city of Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceará in northeastern Brazil. His father, Vitor Augusto Nepomuceno was a violin professor and it was with him that Nepomuceno had his first music lessons. In 1888, he was able to leave for Europe to further his musical studies. In Rome he studied with Giovanni Sgambatti. In 1890, he moved to Berlin where he studied composition with Heinrich von Herzogenberg and continued his piano studies with the famous teacher Theodor Lechetitzky. In Lechetitzky?s class, he met a Norwegian student whom he married in 1893. She had been a student and friend of Edvard Grieg and Nepomuceno moved to Bergen after his wedding and lived in Grieg?s house. Grieg, of course, was a proponent of nationalism in composition. Nepomuceno?s friendship with Grieg was instrumental in convincing him to write music which reflected Brazilian culture. Before leaving Europe he visited Paris where he met such luminaries as Saint Saens and Vincent D?Indy.
He subsequently returned to Brazil where he taught at the Institutio Nacional de Musica in Rio de Janiero. Later Gustav Mahler engaged him to conduct at the Vienna Opera but illness prevented this. He eventually returned to Europe in 1910 for a series of concerts in Brussels, Geneva and Paris. During this trip he became good friends with Debussy. Back in Brazil, he fought for the use of Portuguese in opera and song and remained the leading musical personality there until his death. Heitor Villa Lobos was among his many students.
Among his most important works is his third string quartet, subtitled by him ?Brasileiro??the Brazilian. It is dated in his own hand, Berlin 1890. It is probably the first example of the integration of Brazilian folk melody with the Central European romantic idiom. Though performed in Brazil on rare occasions from manuscript copy, String Quartet No.3 remained unpublished until 2005.
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