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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the place of Argentine pianist Miguel Ángel Estrella in the politics of Latin American music, focusing on the Dirty War, the wave of repression and violence by military regimes during the 1960s and 1970s. It begins with Estrella’s recital in September 1987 as a tribute to Nadia Boulanger, who died in October 1979 and was one protagonist in Estrella’s story. It then considers Estrella’s political activities in Argentina and his being formally charged with subversion, sedition, and terrorist activities, as well as his promotion of the masterworks of the Western canon. It also contextualizes Estrella’s experience in light of a number of broader issues, relating Estrella and his traditionalist repertory to the ongoing debate among composers and critics over socially engaged music (música comprometida); the historical antecedents of this debate and how they inform present-day reactions to the status of either the avant-garde or the Western canon in música comprometida; and how scholars in the United States might understand Estrella’s story.

Keywords: Miguel Ángel Estrella, politics, Latin American music, Nadia Boulanger, Argentina, subversion, sedition, Western canon, composers, música comprometida

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