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Underlying every one of our objectives as an organization is the presumption that a performer, educator or scholar has access to the classical music of Latin America. However, Michael Zuraw is correct (see above) when he says that music publishing in South America — and honestly, we should expand this term to include all of Latin America — is very insubstantial. But not only are there very few companies in that region that publish classical music, the situation is further complicated by how difficult it can be to obtain scores and parts from companies who are simply not set up to function in an international marketplace. In other words, filling out a contact form or navigating an online shopping cart usually ends up being a waste of time.

So why should this even matter?

First, there’s the issue of the “incomplete picture,” that is, in those cases in which not one single printed score can be examined or performed, we are oftentimes left with rough generalizations about a particular composer’s music. Take Chilean composer Carmela Mackenna (1879-1962), for example. Until recently, much of her music remained unpublished, and therefore, unperformed. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop people from making characterizations of her music that were of little or no value. Nevertheless, even “well-known” Latin American composers are not immune. For example, Zuraw also states in the Houston Chronicle that Ginastera’s music “is technically dazzling and unmistakably Argentinean.” Though this may be true for many of his earlier works, such as the music from his 1941 ballet, Estancia, how can this characterization even be remotely applied to Ginastera’s compositions from the 1960s and 1970s, in which traditional elements were increasingly expressed in abstract forms and procedures, such as aleatoricism and serialism?

And sadly, if a composition cannot be performed, then of course it cannot be recorded. Hence, except for a small cluster of Latin American composers, such as Alberto Ginastera, Carlos Chávez, Heitor Villa-Lobos and a few others, when compared to European composers, the number of Latin American works that have been recorded is pathetically small. For all intents and purposes, a vicious circle has taken over, in which the very existence of these compositions is essentially neutralized by the fact that they can neither be seen nor heard. In other words, except for scholarly works or other similar publications, there is almost no manner by which one might become aware of the richness and diversity of Latin American classical music.


Although we can’t always address the problem of rough generalizations or cursory characterizations, since founding Cayambis Music Press (CMP) in 2013, we have been working to not only increase the amount of printed music by Latin American composers, but also, to make it as available as possible. Indeed, starting with just a handful of living composers, today CMP (an important part of the Cayambis Institute) publishes nearly 600 compositions in representation of over 80 composers. And although our focus has always been on living composers, through arrangements with institutions, national libraries, heirs and descendants, we are proud to offer the finest classical music from Latin America from about the mid 19th century to the present day.

Finally, you should know that the profits generated by the sale or rental of CMP publications are used to support CILASiM programs and services, such as the Cayambis Sinfonietta.