Grupo de Renovacion Musical (1942–1948) By Quevedo, Marysol
The Grupo de Renovacion Musical was a school of Cuban composers that emerged out of the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana during the 1940s. The young composers were pupils of Spanish-born composer José Ardévol, who served as the leader and mentor of the group. After the premature deaths of Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro García Caturla (1939 and 1940 respectively), Ardévol took over some of their duties as music professor at the Conservatorio Municipal. Ardévol and his pupils saw a need for Cuban composers to focus on compositional techniques and strongly believed that all composers should master traditional compositional methods, such as traditional counterpoint, sonata form, and fugues (most commonly used by composers of the Baroque and Classical periods) in order to fully develop their music-writing abilities. They also rejected the obvious nationalism that Roldán and Caturla had popularised and that was also found in the works of many other Latin American composers from the previous generation. Instead, they preferred the neoclassical trends of Europe—mostly of France and Spain—with composers Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla serving as their models. However, they never denied the importance of the legacy established by Roldán and Caturla for future generations of Cuban composers. The group acknowledged that Roldán and Caturla were visionaries in their own time, influential through their compositions, which brought Cuban music up to date with contemporary music developments in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, and for introducing the use of traditional Cuban music elements to contemporary art music—particularly the use of rhythm and percussive instrumentation.