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This organization was formed to increase the awareness and appreciation of Latin American classical music by encouraging its performance and study. However, underlying each of these objectives is the presumption that a performer, educator or scholar has access to this music. Michael Zuraw is correct 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 publishers 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, the spaces that are filled in with rough generalizations for those instances in which for a large number of Latin American composers there is not a one single printed score that can be examined or performed. 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 Until recently, much of her music remained unpublished, and therefore, unperformed.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 scholars and others from publishing characterizations that were of little or no value. However, even “well-known” Latin American composers are not immune. For example, Zuraw also stated 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 his 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, apart from a small group of well-known Latin American composers, such as Alberto Ginastera, Carlos Chávez, Heitor Villa-Lobos and a few others, when compared to European compositions, the number of Latin American works that have been recorded is pathetically small. For all intents and purposes, a vicious cycle has taken over, in which the very existence of these compositions is practically 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 in which one might become aware of the richness and diversity
by the way, an appropriate description of Latin American classical music.


Although we can’t directly address the problem of rough generalization or cursory characterization, 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 this subordinate company (an important part of the Cayambis Institute) publishes over 500 compositions in representation of over 80 composers. And although our focus has always been on living composers, through arrangements with institutions, national libraries and 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, it’s important to note that profit generated by the sale or rental of CMP publications is used to support CILASiM programs and services.