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Heitor Villa-Lobos

Born: 1887

Died: 1959

Nationality: Brazilian

Publisher: AMP

Photo © Fundação Biblioteca Nacional

"I learned music from a bird in the jungles of Brazil, not from academies." Primarily self-taught, the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos spent his early years absorbing the styles of Brazilian popular music as a guitarist in street "choros," or village bands. During an expedition along the Amazon to the interior of Brazil, he pursued an interest in native chant, rites, and music. Later, established as an educator and prolific composer, he traveled widely and lived in both New York and Paris, though he remained immersed in the spirit and culture of Brazil. His love of Bach and of Brazilian folk music are manifest in several works, particularly his works for cello orchestra, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 and Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.
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