By Musica Brasilis
The life and work of the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847 - 1935)
A pioneer is born
Francisca Edwiges Neves Gonzaga was born in Rio de Janeiro, on October 17, 1847. Her mother was a freed black woman slave and her father was a high-ranking military man, who educated her to be a court lady. She was taught how to read and write, and learned mathematics, religion, and how to play the piano. Since she was a child, music had been calling and at the age of eleven, she composed her first music piece for a Christmas party.
I Am Chiquinha Gonzaga (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Until music do us part
Chiquinha was sixteen when she married a promising entrepreneur, chosen by her father. Her husband did not like music and considered the piano to be his rival. Chiquinha did not accept the restrictions to her music and left her husband for another man. The adultery was the cause of a life-long divorce lawsuit filed by her husband at the Ecclesiastical Court. Abandoned by her father as well, at the age of eighteen Chiquinha was forced to teach piano classes for a living.
Divorce and Atraente (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Her first edited piece, the polka song Atraente in 1877, was a huge success. In just a few months, there were 15 editions.
Atraente (Chiquinha Gonzaga) Show with Clara Svener (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Chiquinha Gonzaga (Acervo IMS/SBAT) (1894)Musica Brasilis
Querida por todos
After two unsuccessful marriages and becoming distanced from her family, Chiquinha had to make a living from music. She joined the group led by Joaquim Callado, considered the father of the genre choro, who dedicated a piece to her entitled "Querida por todos" (translating as "Beloved by all").
Chiquinha Gonzaga at 47 years old with her famous golden brooch and the medal received from French government.
Determination and courage made Chiquinha take part in the great social battles of her time, mainly the abolition of slavery. She used to sell sheet music of her compositions to raise funds for the cause.
The abolitionist (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Chiquinha Gonzaga (Acervo IMS/SBAT)Musica Brasilis
Chiquinha Gonzaga with her Orchestra.
O Abre Alas
She was already a famous artist in 1899 when she composed, at the turn of the century, Ó Abre Alas, in a style called "marcha-rancho". The song became an anthem of the Brazilian carnival.
O abre alas. (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Chiquinha Gonzaga composed dozens of plays in the most varied genres. The operetta Forrobodó premiered in 1912 and was a huge success: 1,500 consecutive representations.
Primeira página manuscrita Forrobodó (Acervo IMS/SBAT) (1911)Musica Brasilis
Forrobodó (2011) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Corta Jaca at Catete
In 1914, her tango Gaúcho was played by the first lady of the country, Nair de Teffé, in an official reception at the Palácio do Catete, which caused a scandal, but redeemed the popular genres.
Gaúcho (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
The rights of the author
Chiquinha Gonzaga was a composer of great success in a time when there was no law to protect the composer's rights. She created the first society for copyright protection in Brazil: the Brazilian Society of Theatrical Authors (SBAT).
SBAT (2017) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
Chiquinha had long lived in the company of Joãozinho (João Batista Fernandes Lage), who was 36 years younger than her. Later called João Batista Gonzaga, he was known as her adopted son. We owe him the preservation of her legacy. Gonzaga passed away, at the age of 87 in Rio de Janeiro on February 28, 1935.
Covers of music sheet (2018) by Musica BrasilisMusica Brasilis
This exhibition has been based on the collections of Instituto Musica Brasilis and Instituto Moreira Salles
Curator: Rosana Lanzelotte
Research: Bia Paes Leme (Music Coordinator IMS)
Edition: Carol Gomes and Bia Gomes
Video excerpts from II Circuit BNDES Musica Brasilis (2011) and VIII Circuito Musica Brasilis (2017)
Final video (sheet music): Dani Ferrari
Video subtitles: Joe Cortez
Helena Varvaki revives Chiquinha Gonzaga ( texts by Filomela Chiaradia and direction by Manoel Prazeres)
"Atraente" - Clara Sverner (piano)
"Entra firme seu Manduca" from the operetta Forrobodó (Licio Bruno (baritone) - Camerata Musica Brasilis - Direction: Ricardo Kanji)
"Gaucho" and "O Abre Alas" - José Staneck (harmonica), Marina Spoladore (piano), Ricardo Santoro (cello)
Images: Musical and Visual
collection from Instituto Moreira Salles
The entire collection from Chiquinha Gonzaga is found in Moreira Salles Institute.
Acknowledgments: Edinha Diniz ( Chiquinha Gonzaga's biographer)