Juan Bautista Plaza

Juan Bautista Plaza was one of the most important musicians in the history of Venezuela. In addition to composing in a variety of genres and styles, he was the leading figure in Venezuelan music education and musicology at a time when his compatriots were seeking to solidify their cultural identity. Plaza's compositions in the emerging nationalist style and his efforts to improve musical institutions in his home country parallel the work of contemporaneous Latin American musicians including Carlos Chavez of Mexico, Amadeo Roldan of Cuba, and Camargo Guarnieri of Brazil. Plaza filled numerous roles in Venezuela's musical infrastructure, including researcher, performer, teacher, composer, promoter, critic, chapel master, and director of national culture.

Juan Bautista Plaza's most important compositions include El picacho abruptoPoema SinfónicoCantata de NavidadLas campanas de PascuaLas horasLa fuente abandonada,soprano y orquestaPoema lí­rico VigiliaFuga criolla and Fuga románticaElegí­a para orquesta y timbal, and Elegí­a para corno inglés and cuarteto de arcos. He also wrote notable religious music (e.g., Misa en faMisa de la esperanzaRequiem a la meoria de su madre) and music for the piano (e.g., Sonatina venezolanaCuatro ritmos de danza). His popular song El Curruchá is a well-known example of joropo.