Inter-American Musical Encounters During the Cold War: Festival of Spain and the Americas, Madrid, 1964 [full paper]

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Latin American Music Center


The renewal of the Pact of Madrid in 1963 brought the United States and Spain into a closer rapport as well as strengthened Spain’s connection to the Organization of American States (OAS). No longer politically isolated, Spain began to host inter-American exhibits of music and art to promote more amicable relations with the American republics. One such event, the Festival of Music of the Americas and Spain, held in Madrid in 1964 and sponsored by the OAS and the Institute for Hispanic Culture, showcased the latest avant-garde music of the U.S., Latin America, and Spain. In addition to promoting new music, this display of compositions by Aaron Copland, Juan Orrego Salas, Roque Cordero, Aurelio de la Vega and others aided the political relations among the countries involved. Since the start of the Cold War, the U.S. had tried to strengthen its inter-American relations, while at the same time, deterring Communism in the region. Avant-garde music, in stark contrast to Soviet musical policies, could unite the Americas in a cosmopolitan embrace. Spain, eager to rehabilitate its international reputation, also promoted its own avant-garde compositions in addition to those from the Americas. This demonstration of musical goodwill also helped Spain to secure needed economic assistance from the U.S. and Latin America. This paper examines the cooperation of the U.S. and Latin America with Spain on this festival in order to explore the myriad political uses of music, from promoting democracy to dictatorship.



Cultural, Conferencia, Cultural Counterpoints, Interactions, Latin America, Latin American Music Center, Music, Musical, Música, Música Latinoamericana, United States, Fiftieth Anniversary, 50th anniversary, Festival of Spain and the Americas, Madrid, Spain, Organization of American States, Institute for Hispanic Culture, Cold War, avant-garde



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