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Gonzalo Curiel (composer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gonzalo Curiel Barba[1]
Born10 January 1904
Died4 July 1958[2]
Years active1934-1958 (film)

Gonzalo Curiel Barba (commonly Gonzalo Curiel; 10 January 1904 – 4 July 1958) was a Mexican film composer.[3] He was active during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.


Early life

Gonzalo Curiel was born in Guadalajara, Mexico to Juan N. Curiel and María de Jesús Barba Riestra.[4] Curiel had 2 siblings, Juan Luis Curiel Barba, and María Elisa Curiel Barba.[1]

Curiel learned many instruments at a young age, was taught piano at 6, and learned guitar and the violin. However, after a 5-year stay in Los Angeles to escape the Mexican Revolution from 1917 to 1922 while studying music under Zez Confrey,[4] Curiel unwillingly studied in medicine due to the pressure of his father, but by 1927 Curiel had stopped studying medicine to start a career as a pianist.[5]

Piano career

To start his career, Curiel moved to Mexico City and started to record piano rolls.[5] Soon, he played professionally in the XEW-AM radio station, this got the recognition of the opera singer Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, who in 1931, hired Curiel as an accompanist for one year.[6]

During the tour, Curiel attempted to gain fame and a status by performing in many other radio stations, as well as playing in the vocal quartet "Los caballeros de la harmony" (or just "Los Caballeros quartet").[4]

After the tour, Curiel successfully gained recognition, soon he created a musical group called "Grupo Ritarmelo", this group originally contained Emilio Tuero, Gil Calderon and Ciro Calderón, later on Pablo and Carlos Martínez Gil would also join this group.[7][1], this group, along with some others, became famous in Mexico and made Curiel well-known. This collection of groups created a Mexican music society called "Escuadrón del Ritmo", the Escuadrón del Ritmo performed many compositions of its members (including Curiel's) and toured countries like Mexico, America, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.[1] It was particularly successful with the XEW Radio station and had many collaborations, such as the singers "The Aguila sisters" (also known as "Las Hermanes Águila").[8]


In 1939, Gonzalo Curiel, members of the Mexican Association of Authors and Composers (AMAC), members of the Escuadrón del Ritmo orchestra, some publishing companies, and other individual artists created the "Sindicato Mexicano de Autores, Compositores y Editores de Música" or SMACEM, the creation of the group was to strengthen the economic stability of writers and artists of Mexico, basing its purpose of collecting Author's right from the 8th title of Civil code of 1928. On 22 February 1945, the members wrote an agreement under "Civil entity code" that created the Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico, or SACM. The objective was to protect the rights of artists, primarily authors and composers, from publishing companies and to keep financial ties with the copyrights of their works, this objective was finally reached a month later on 22 March 1945.[9] Curiel was President of the Board of Directors for 2 periods.[1]


On 4 July 1958, Curiel died of a myocardial infarction at age 54 in his home, he was buried in the Panteón Jardín de San Ángel, in Mexico City.[1]

Achievements and legacy

Due to Curiel's contributions to Mexican film culture, he was nominated for his film music. Most significantly, the 1954 Ariel Award for Best Original Score for the film Eugenia Grandet, he was also nominated in 1958, however did not win.[1]

After his death, in the Compositores Mexicanos neighbourhood in Mexico City, a road is named after him.[10]

SACM awarded Curiel with the 2009 "Juventino Rosas Posthumous Recognition" prize.[1]


Curiel was an active composer throughout most of his life, his compositions were frequently performed by the Escuadrón del Ritmo and other orchestras.[1] His works were primarily for Mexican cinema, and as such Curiel was a major contributor to the Mexican Golden age of cinema.[8] However, Curiel wrote works in other genres, including instrumental works and songs.[1]

Selected filmography

Curiel's work and musical talent was dedicated to mostly Mexican film, he had written approximately 180 pieces of musical work for film music.[11] The most notable are listed below:

Piano Concertos

Curiel had written 3 piano concertos,[5] the 2nd being partially lost but recovered by Arturo Rodríguez,[12] and the 3rd left unfinished with only 1 movement.[11]

  • Piano Concerto no. 1 (1948?) (3 movements; D major)[13]
  • Piano Concerto no. 2 (1950) (3 movements; D minor)[12]
  • Piano Concerto no. 3 (Incomplete, premiered 1967) (1 movement)[11]

Selected Songs

Curiel was a co-author to many songs and "Popular Music".[1]

  • Vereda tropical
  • Noche de Luna
  • Incertidumbre
  • Un Gran Amor
  • Temor
  • Desesperanza
  • Son tus ojos verde mar
  • Sorpresa (Music by Gonzalo Curiel. Lyrics by Alfonso Espriú Herrera)
  • Traicionera
  • Morena linda
  • Dime
  • Caminos de ayer
  • Tu Partida (Music by Gonzalo Curiel. Lyrics by Ricardo López Méndez)
  • Déjame (Music by Gonzalo Curiel. Lyrics by Ricardo López Méndez)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Biografía de Gonzalo Curiel" [Biography of Gonzalo Curiel]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  2. ^ "Mi Cancionero: Gonzalo Curiel". Archived from the original on 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  3. ^ Wood p.89
  4. ^ a b c "Curiel Barba, Gonzalo - Enciclopedia.udg". Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Furman Schleifer, Martha; Galván, Gary (2016). Latin American Classical Composers: A Biographical Dictionary. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 162. ISBN 9780810888715.
  6. ^ Herrera, Dueñas (1993). Bolero: historia documental del bolero mexicano. p. 43.
  7. ^ Rico Salazar, Jaime (1987). Cien años de boleros - Su historia, Sus compositores, Sus intérpretes y 500 boleros inolvidables. p. 302.
  8. ^ a b Grant Wood, Andrew (2014). Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0-19-989245-7.
  9. ^ Cisac - BillBoard - 83rd Year. 6 November 1976.
  10. ^ "Gonzalo Curiel, El Tepetatal, 07130 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico".
  11. ^ a b c "Gonzalo Curiel in the hands of Rodolfo Ritter". OSSLP. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Gonzalo Curiel and his Second Piano Concerto". OSSLP. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  13. ^ Smith, Steven (1984). The Piano Concerto After Bartok. University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music.


  • Andrew Grant Wood. Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography. OUP USA, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 July 2022, at 19:08
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