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Ricardo Dal Farra

Latin American Electroacoustic Music Collection

Opening the box

Bolaños is shown teaching composition with electroacoustic media, 1965.
Almost every recording and piece of information I have collected since the mid '70s was obtained by searching for and contacting each composer directly. Over time, I began to build a small but growing personal archive that included electroacoustic music recordings on open reel tapes, analog cassettes and a few vinyl LPs. I decided not only to share this music and related information with colleagues and students, but to explore other ways of making it widely available, knowing there might be many others interested in it. Lectures, concert series and (South American) activity reports published during the early '80s in Array, the newsletter of the International Computer Music Association (then known as the Computer Music Association or CMA), were just a few of the early initiatives I took to share these recordings and related information. The next step: more than 10 years of radio broadcasts (the "Música electroacústica y por computadora," "Electromúsica" and "Música y Tecnología" series on the National Radio of Argentina and the Buenos Aires City radio station) and CD artistic productions published by Leonardo Music Journal, oodiscs and the Computer Music Journal.

I had been thinking about how best to organize and make available the materials I had gathered over more than 20 years. At the same time I was looking to delve deeper into this research about musical creations using electroacoustic media by Latin American composers. Then, a few years ago, a opportunity presented itself. I was invited by UNESCO to participate in the first international Digi-Arts meeting held in Paris in March 2002, when the project was still at an early planning stage. UNESCO commissioned me to research and write several reports about electroacoustic music and media arts. The resulting two key reports were Historical Aspects of Electroacoustic Music in Latin America: From Pioneering to Present Day and La música electroacústica en América Latina, published online in 2003 on the UNESCO Digi-Arts Knowledge Portal. These are not English and Spanish versions of the same text, but rather complementary texts on the historical aspects of the electroacoustic music development in Latin America, with extensive references to composers and their work.

The research was conducted by searching and analyzing hundreds of letters, thousands of emails, concert program notes, books, newsletters, magazines and journals, scores, recording sleeves and other documents, as well as through personal interviews and communications. Table 1 lists the number of composers named in the English report and their related countries, i.e. where they were born or pursued a portion of their professional careers.

Table 1: The number of composers per country cited in the research text Historical Aspects of Electroacoustic Music in Latin America: From Pioneering to Present Day.

Argentina: 191
Bolivia: 14
Brazil: 90
Chile: 39
Colombia: 39
Costa Rica: 5
Cuba: 44
Dominican Republic: 3
Ecuador: 11
El Salvador: 5
Guatemala: 6
Mexico: 73
Panama: 3
Paraguay: 4
Peru: 15
Puerto Rico: 12
Uruguay: 27
Venezuela: 35

Ricardo Dal Farra © 2004 FDL