7 Latina Composers To Have on Your Radar


Photo: Unsplash/@betteratf8

Photo: Unsplash/@betteratf8

Beethoven. Mozart. Bach. These are often the first names that come to mind when talking about composers, especially of orchestral music.  But what about women? Latina composers? In an effort to highlight and celebrate the diversity present in the composition of music, we are taking a look at seven Latina composers and interpreters of music (past and present) who should be on your radar.

Gabriela Ortiz

Gabriela Ortiz is considered the leading woman composer of orchestral music in Mexico today, and one of the major classical composers in the world. The music educator has received major commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Kronos Quartet, and will be composing a new symphony, themed on El Camino Real, that will premier in the Bay Area in 2019.


Marisa Canales

Grammy-nominated producer and flute player Marisa Canales is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Urtext Digital Classics, considered to be Mexico’s leading record label of classical, folk and jazz music. She recently served as a cultural advisor on the film Coco.


Margarita Luna de Espaillat


Dominican Republic-born Margarita Luna de Espaillat was a composer, organist, and pianist. In addition to teaching music, she served as the Dominican Republic’s Director of the National Conservancy of Music.


Calcida Borges Barbosa

Brazilian composer Calcida Borges Barbosa was also a pianist, conductor, and music educator. She is considered one of the pioneers of electronic music in Brazil.


María Grever


Maria Grever (born Maria Joaquina de la Portilla Torres) was a successful Mexican composer who penned hundreds of songs, including the classic “What a Diff’rence A Day Makes” (“Cuando vuelva a tu lado”), which won a Grammy in 1959. She also wrote music for Paramount Studios and 20th Century Fox.


Violeta Parra


Chilena Violeta Parra (Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval) was a folk icon, composer, activist, singer, guitarist and visual artist. She was part of the Nueva Cancion Chilena (New Chilean Song) Movement, and created the classic “Gracias a la vida” (“Thanks to Life”).


Teresa Carreño

María Teresa Carreño García de Sena was a Venezuelan composer, pianist, singer, and conductor. She was nicknamed the “Valkyrie of the Piano.”

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composer culture latina latina musicians latino music
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