Visit the Guillermo Espinosa Collection




At the moment the contents of the collection are available to visiting scholars by appointment. To set up an appointment please write to:

Subject: Visiting the Espinosa Collection

Description of the Collection

Because of the varied nature of the contents in the collection we have divided it into the following categories: Books, Clippings, Correspondence, Invitations, Images, Concert Programs, Recordings, & Scores


The books in the collection range from general books about music and art, to specialized books on Latin American music.  The books are by Latin American and international authors. The broad scope of the materials allows scholars to analyze the Latin American field both from internal and external perspectives, and to analyze how these perspectives changed over time, since the items range from being edited in the late 19th century to the late 20th century. Of greatest importance are the books about Latin American composers lesser known in America or Europe, such as Zipoli, Rozo Contreras, Cluzeau-Mortet, Lugo and Espinel. The collecton also includes some national histories of music from Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia, Panama and Peru.

Some of these books are still in the IUCAT cataloguing process, while others are already cataloged.


The periodical clippings span from 1927 to the 1990s. Of the 2,213 items held in the scrapbooks 1,838 are clippings, as well as 336 items from the total of 418 contained in a folder identified as “Recortes.” They are a window into the career of Guillermo Espinosa, defining chronological periods that are connected to important events of his professional life. Extracted from newspaper, magazines, and journals, they contain announcements and reviews of concerts conducted by Espinosa, as well as announcements and comments about his national and international tours. They also show Espinosa’s influence on the careers of composers and performers of the Americas, the close ties he developed with individuals with whom he worked, and his interest in mentoring young musical talent. One important aspect is Espinosa’s influence in the development of some important institutions, for instance, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, the CIDEM, the Inter-American Music Festivals of Washington D.C., and others.


The correspondence in the collection is comprised of material from a long period of Espinosa’s life, and extends more than a decade after his death, with communications of friends of the family to Guillermo Espinosa’s widow: Lucille. Among the composers who maintained correspondence with Espinosa are Roberto Caamano, Carlos Chavez, Aaron Copland, Roque Cordero, Alberto Ginastera, Marlos Nobre, Joaquin Rodrigo, Juan Orrego-Salas, Guido Santorsola, and Aurelio de la Vega. Less significant is the presence of letters from performers, but there are communications from Joao Carlos Martins, Caio Pagano, and H. Szeryng. There is also correspondence of musicologists such as Robert Stevenson, and Francisco Curt Lange, as well as letters from music critics such as Irving Lowens  and Paul Hume. The collection also includes letters from diplomats such as Galo Plaza (Secretary General of the OAS), and Hernan Gaviria Velez, as well as communications from presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan.


The small number of invitations in the collection does not fully represent Espinosa’s intense professional activity. They offer a snapshot of his interest in composers from the Americas, such as Aaron Copland from the United States , Alberto Ginastera from Argentina, Hector Tosar from Uruguay, and European composers such as the Italian Goffredo Petrassi. Mainly social invitations of post-concert celebrations, the occasions vary from the World premieres of Ginastera’s Bomarzo and Copland’s Nonet, to concerts of ensembles such as I Virtuosi di Roma and the C.B.C Symphony Orchestra of Canada. Hosts include diplomats of the embassies of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, and Uruguay.


The collection includes pictures of Guillermo Espinosa and people involved in different aspects of his life and career. It covers a period that spans from earlier than 1922 to 1989, and include images that span from Espinosa’s childhood to the last years of his life. Espinosa appears in different venues and activities such as embassies, his house or in his friends’ houses, as well as in concert halls, conducting rehearsals or concerts. The collection includes an important amount of photography of performers, composers, and other people involved in the early stages of Espinosa’s career.

The pictures show moments in Espinosa career and the relationships he fostered with individuals, ensembles, and institutions in places such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Spain

Among the individuals found in the photos are performers Claudio Arrau, Sir John Barbirolli, Teresa Carreño, Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifitz, Wanda Landowska, Yehudi Menuhin, Arturo Rubinstein, Andres Segovia, Henryk Szeryng, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, and Nicanor Zabaleta. It also includes pictures of composers like Renzo Bossi, Armando Carvajal, Aaron Copland, Fabio Gonzalez-Zuleta, Ernst Krenek, Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez, Francisco Mignone, Carlos Pedrell, Dimitri Shostakovich, Guillermo Uribe Holguin, and Heitor Villa-Lobos, many of whom were promoted through the Inter-American Music Festivals of Washington.

Concert Programs:

The Concert programs in the collection (286 of which are attached to the scrapbooks) provide interesting information about Espinosa’s career. The programs suggest Espinosa’s early interest in Latin American composers and performers, evident in programs from 1929 to 1932. Some of these programs include concerts that served as the precursors of the Inter-American Music Festivals: the “Gran Festival de Musica Ibero-americana” of Caracas and the “Gran Festival Hispanoamericano De Musica” of Bogota. These items also show the extended career of Guillermo Espinosa with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia. This period of Espinosa’s career in Colombia includes programs of children’s concerts, people’s concerts, opera, as well as normal season concerts that included local and international performers. Some of the composers mentioned in the concert programs are Carlos Chávez , Aaron Copland, Alberto Ginastera, Juan Orrego-Salas, Virgil Thomson, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Important soloists and ensembles are represented in these programs include names such as Jaime Laredo, Andrés Segovia, Henrik Szeryng, Nicanor Zabaleta, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Spain, the National Symphony Orchestra of Bogota, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., among others.


The collection of recordings can be divided into two important types of items: recordings of pieces by Latin American composers and recordings of different types of repertoires by Latin American performers.  The Latin American composers found in this collection comprise a wide range of nationalities, time periods and musical styles characteristic of Latina American music, ranging from the Colonial times to the 20th century, from composers of international recognition (Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Revueltas, etc.) to lesser known composers. About 70% of these recordings showcase at least one Latin American composer. About two thirds of these are new to the Cook Music Library collection, and of these two thirds, about 60% are not found in any other library affiliated with the OCLC association. This makes the content of the collection unique and of great value to researchers and performers. The collection of recordings is not limited to “art music,” but also includes a small collection of “popular music” of different countries, including indigenous manifestations of Brazil and Venezuela. In regards to recordings by Latin American performers, they also range in nationality and career. The recordings range from Colombian harpsichordist Rafael Puyana and the Argentinean Camerata Bariloche, dedicated to Baroque music, to orchestras and pianists specializing in romantic or contemporary music.


The collection of scores is divided into standard international repertoire and scores by Latin American composers. This last section is one of the most important in the Espinosa collection. There are manuscripts, blueprints and printed editions by varied Latin American composers. About half of the items are new in the Cook Music Library collection and about twenty items are unique to our collection in the United States. Many items include their composer’s dedication or autograph, which shows the closeness of the Latin American composer and performer community and the high degree of appreciation in which Espinosa was held by his colleagues. Many items also have performance marks, probably all by Espinosa as conductor. This collection of scores consists mostly of works by 20th century composers, especially of Espinosa’s contemporaries and younger generations. The majority are orchestra pieces. There is also a very important section of scores by American and Canadian composers. This reflects Espinosa continuous involvement not only in the Latin American field but also with the promotion of music of the Americas.