by Daniel Hautzinger
courtesy of Oberlin News Center
As fascism and other forms of dictatorship engulfed Europe in the 1930s and ’40s, the United States began to fear that the whole world would be consumed by such regimes. To prevent totalitarianism’s spread to Latin America, the federal government enacted a “Good Neighbor” policy, in which the U.S. encouraged solidarity between the Americas.
One aspect of that policy was a cultural-exchange program that sent North American composers to Latin America and vice versa. “It had fantastic musical consequences,” says Director of Oberlin Orchestras Raphael Jiménez, citing Latin-inspired works created by Aaron Copland and friendships that blossomed between U.S. composers and their Latin counterparts such as Alberto Ginastera and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Jiménez and the Oberlin Orchestra will celebrate that spirit of musical solidarity on Saturday, September 27, with an 8 p.m. concert in Finney Chapel showcasing composers of the Americas.
Prior to the performance, Carol Hess, a music professor at the University of California, Davis, will present a talk about the Good Neighbor policy and the state of Latin American classical music in the U.S. Part of Oberlin’s Richard Murphy Musicology Colloquium series, Hess’ talk will take place at 4 p.m. in Stull Recital Hall. >>read on