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Heitor Villa-Lobos
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    (March 5, 1887-November 17, 1959)
    Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Composer and conductor
    Composed twelve symphonies
    Composed the fourteen-part 'Choros' series (1920-29) and nine 'Bachianas Brasileira' suites (1930-45)
    Composed the operas 'Jesus' (1918), 'Magdalena' (1947) and 'Yerma' (1955)
    He favored loud checked shirts and cigars.
    He dashed off compositions hastily and rarely went back to revise or correct his work, resulting in numerous errors in the printed scores.
    'Time' wrote that his two idols were 'Bach and Villa-Lobos.'
    When the audience booed one of his more demanding pieces, he said 'I am still too good for them.'
    A Brazilian critic wrote, 'The maestro has written about 2,000 works. I would throw 1,950 of them away.'
    When he was twelve, his father died from smallpox, and he began playing cello in cafes and theaters to help support the family.
    He was largely self-taught as a composer and said, 'You don't have to understand music. You feel it.'
    His works combined Brazilian folk songs and European classical music.
    After his 'Choros' premiered in Paris, 'Le Monde' wrote, 'It is an art to which we must now give a new name.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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