Help! New Music Service Organizations Answer the Call

Composer and musicologist Juan Orrego-Salas founded the Latin American Music Center (LAMC) in 1961. Since then it has established the largest library of Latin American music in the world, promoted collaboration between scholars from Latin America and the U.S., and has commissioned, performed, and recorded a large amount of work.

Based at Indiana University, LAMC offers concerts, educational programs, and collaborations both nationally and internationally. Staff members offer information services, recordings of music and copies of scores (for perusal only), and keep a database of Latin American music that is available to the public. Gerardo Dirié, a coordinator of the LAMC, tells me that the center receives “scores and compositions from Latin American composers. Once we receive the materials we store those in the library of Indiana University. We announce that we have received the materials to the performing community, both here on campus and worldwide through our website and our newsletter.”

“We have a very long career in providing information and consultation services to performers and performing organizations throughout the world,” according to Dirié. “For example if the American Composers Orchestra wants to make a festival of the music of Mexico they contact us and we provide contact addresses for repertoire.”

The LAMC library houses scores, recordings, rare manuscripts, anthologies of colonial musicians, photographs, and other miscellaneous documents. Some of the more important parts of the collection include the collection of Guillermo Espinosa‘s work (founder and director of the Inter-American music festivals). The Antonio Ramírez Collection includes twenty-two works by the Puerto Rican composer. The Carlos Teppa Collection has the music of Argentinian composer César Franchisena and the scores of Horacio López de la Rosa. The library also includes scores of various composers donated by Guatemalan composer/pianist Carlos Armando Colón Quintana. The LAMC also publishes LAMúsiCa: The Latin American Music Center Newsletter.

LAMC is dedicated to educating people about Latin music. “Inside the university we have an education program. We have a class on Latin-American popular music, and a number of smaller seminar classes on topics of Latin American music in general, that means not only on popular music but particularly on classical music.” Dirié reminds me that although Latin music has become extremely popular lately, this music is actually “related to Latin jazz or some Afro-Caribbean genres, but not music from Latin America, which is so large – there are so many genres that [it is] hard show them or to listen to all of them. Our classes are intended to expand that notion that what they market in the United States called Latin music is just the tip of a big iceberg.”

From Help! New Music Service Organizations Answer the Call
by Karissa Krenz
© 1999 NewMusicBox