Francisco José Debali (July 26, 1791 – January 13, 1859) was a Hungarian-born composer who emigrated to Uruguay in 1838. He authored the national anthem of Uruguay and, possibly, the tune to Paraguayos, República o Muerte, which became the Paraguayan anthem.
He was an Austrian subject born in "Kinséen", a place in Oltenia.
He played the oboe. In 1820, he went abroad to pursue his musical career in the Kingdom of Sardinia. There, in Alessandria, he married Magdalena Bagnasco, from Genoa. They had several children, some of which were born in Uruguay.
After a short stay at São Paulo, Brazil, which he fled because of a yellow fever epidemic, Debali arrived in Uruguay in 1838. Here he was the director of the orchestra at the Sala de Comedias in Montevideo from 1841 to 1848.
National Anthem of Uruguay
In 1845 he composed what would be adopted three years later as the Uruguayan national anthem, to a text by Francisco Acuña de Figueroa. It was played for the first time in public on July 19, 1845. Fernando Quijano, his assistant, who had submitted the composition to the government's selecting contest, was credited with the authorship because of Debali's failure to grasp the content, in the Spanish language, of the governmental decree that adopted his composition as the country's anthem.
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