Orrego-Salas, Juan (1919--) By Quevedo, Marysol
Juan Orrego-Salas was a Chilean composer and musicologist. Born in Santiago, Chile on January 1919, he began his music education in Santiago, while also pursuing a career in architecture, obtaining a diploma in architecture in 1943. He studied composition with Humberto Allende and Domingo Santa Cruz, while also teaching music courses at the Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica de Chile. By 1949 he dedicated himself fully to music composition, abandoning his career as an architect. Under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, he studied music composition with Aaron Copland in Tanglewood and with Randall Thompson at the University of Virginia and University of Princeton. Orrego-Salas also studied musicology with Paul Henry Lang and Georg Herzog at Columbia University. He returned to Chile in 1947 joining the faculty of the Universidad de Chile as full professor, and as choral conductor at the Universidad Católica de Chile. During 1949 he traveled through Europe, conducting the world premiere of his Canciones castellanas, Op. 20, selected for the XXIII Festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) in Palermo and Taormina, Sicily. Upon returning to Chile he assumed the editorship of the Revista Musical Chilena. These years were followed by a prolific compositional career, completing commissions for new works for a variety of ensembles including orchestras and chamber groups.