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Ariel Ramírez (born September 4, 1921), is an Argentine composer, pianist and music director.

Development and influences

Composer Ariel Ramírez, 1968.

Ariel Ramírez was born in Santa Fe, Argentina. He began his piano studies in Santa Fe, and soon became fascinated with the music of the gauchos and creoles in the mountains. He continued his studies in Córdoba where he met the great Argentinian folk singer and songwriter Atahualpa Yupanqui. Following a suggestion from Yupanqui, he visited the North East of Argentina and deepened his research into the traditional rhythms of South America. At the same time continuing his academic studies as a composer at the Conservatorio Nacional of Buenos Aires. In 1946 he made his first recording, with RCA.

Ramírez went on to study classical music in Madrid, Rome and mainly in Vienna, from 1950 to 1954. Back in Argentina, he collected over 400 folk and country songs and popular songs and founded the Compañía de Folklore Ariel Ramírez.


In 1964, Ramírez' composition Misa Criolla marked the beginning of a period of high musical productivity which also saw the composition of Navidad Nuestra (1964), La Peregrinación (1964); Los caudillos (1965); Mujeres Argentinas (1969), and Alfonsina y el Mar (1969), all produced in collaboration with writer Félix Luna.

Misa Criolla and Alfonsina y el Mar are probably his best known compositions. The Misa, a mass for tenor, chorus and orchestra, is based on folk genres such as chacarera, carnavalito and estilo pampeano, with Andean influences and instruments. It is also one of the first masses to be celebrated in a modern language - being contemporary to the Second Vatican Council. Ramírez wrote the piece in 1963-1964 and it was recorded in 1964 by Philips Records, directed by Ramírez himself with Los Fronterizos as featured performers (Philips 820 39 LP, including Navidad Nuestra, remastered in 1994 and released by Philips as CD 526155-2). It was not publicly performed until 1967 in Düsseldorf, Germany, during a European tour which eventually brought Ariel Ramírez before Pope Paul VI. Equally famous are the recordings with the solo voices of George Dalaras (1989), José Carreras (1990), and Mercedes Sosa (1999). Plácido Domingo recorded the Kyrie (i.e., the first movement of the Misa) with Dominic Miller on guitar (2003).

Albeit not sharing the same worldwide success, Alfonsina y el Mar enjoys great popularity in Latin America and Spain, being one of the most regarded songs in Argentinian folk music. The piece pays homage to poet Alfonsina Storni, evoking her tragical suicide in 1938, when she walked into the sea at La Perla beach in Mar del Plata, and the poem she wrote as a goodbye message, I Am Going to Sleep. Artists of the stature of Mercedes Sosa, Violeta Parra, Alfredo Kraus and José Carreras (with Pasión Vega) have made recordings of the song, as well as many other popular singers including Shakira, Miguel Bosé, Andrés Calamaro and Paloma San Basilio.

Today, Ariel Ramírez is president of the Society of Authors and Composers of the Republic of Argentina (SADAIC).

Other major compositions by Ramírez include the Cantata Sudamericana (again with text by Félix Luna, 1972) and another mass: Misa por la paz y la justicia (with liturgical texts by Félix Luna and Osvaldo Catena, 1980).

External links



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