Important people in the life of Villa-Lobos

Villa-Lobos, Raúl (1862-1899)

Villa-Lobos's father, an assistant librarian, writer, amateur cellist.


In 1897 Raúl Villa-Lobos published his naval history "A Revolta da Armada de 6 de septembro de 1893," under the pseudonym Epaminondas Villalba.  That was a name that Villa-Lobos used later in life as a pseudonym of his own.  His 1910 piano piece Tristorosa, for example, was published under the name Epaminondas Villalba, Filho (the word Filho meaning the same as our Jr.)

Raúl's book, by the way, is available on the web thanks to a Google scan of a book from the Harvard Library.

Villa-Lobos, Noêmia Umbelina (1859-1946)

Villa-Lobos's mother, married to Raul Villa-Lobos in 1884.



and son:


Pictures are from the Museu Villa-Lobos.

Villa-Lobos, Lucilia Guimarães (1886-1966)

Villa-Lobos's wife. The two were married in 1912 and separated in 1936.  See this post at Tumbling Villa-Lobos.

Villa-Lobos, Heitor (1887-1959)

Brazilian composer, who liked cigars, kites and billiards.

Villa-Lobos, Arminda Neves d'Almeida (Mindinha) (1912-1985)

Heitor and MindinhaCompanion of Villa-Lobos from 1936 until his death in 1959. She officially took the name Villa-Lobos, though Villa-Lobos never divorced his first wife. After Villa-Lobos' death, Arminda became the Director of the Museu Villa-Lobos in 1960, until her death in 1985.  Arminda was herself a musician and a significant help to Villa-Lobos.

Villa-Lobos dedicated many of his works to Mindinha.

Vargas, Getúlio (Dorneles) (1883-1954)

Vargas PictureGetúlio Vargas - President and dictator of Brazil, 1930-1945 and 1951-1954.  Vargas' at first relatively benign dictatorship was based on populist and social reform ideas combined with very strong nationalist ideas current in Europe at the same time. The first Vargas era saw Villa-Lobos at home in Brazil, between his first Paris trips of the 20's and his global wanderings after WWII. Villa-Lobos participated fully in the re-invention of Brazil through his popular music education and massed choral patriotic spectacles. [pictured to the left: the stern Vargas on the left, with Villa-Lobos, from the Museu Villa-Lobos]

Schmitt, Florent (1870-1958)

French composer and critic.  Schmitt was Villa-Lobos' biggest booster in Paris during the 1920's, and became a close friend.  As music critic of Le Temps, Schmitt brought forward Villa-Lobos' works to a large and important French audience.  Villa-Lobos re-paid these favours during Schmitt's 1949 trip to Brazil.  Lisa Peppercorn reprints the concert program of "Outras Homenagens a Florent Schmitt," which Villa-Lobos organized in Rio de Janeiro in November 1949, in her article "H. Villa-Lobos in Paris," 1985, Villa-Lobos: Collected Studies by L.M. Peppercorn, p. 228.

Segovia, Andrés (1893-1987)

Great Spanish virtuoso of the classical guitar.  Segovia and Villa-Lobos became close friends after they met in Spain in the early 1920's.  Segovia inspired nearly all of Villa-Lobos' music for the guitar, and commissioned the Guitar Concerto.  Beside the Villa-Lobos works, Segovia inspired much of the great guitar music of the century, by composers including Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alfredo Casella, Joaquín Turina, Manuel M. Ponce, and Albert Roussel.

Sayão, Bidú ( 1902-1999)

Great Brazilian soprano, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1937, beginning a career that spanned many decades.  She sang in many Villa-Lobos premieres and important concerts.  Her performance of the aria from Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 is famous - in the words of Alfred Heller, "when Sayão sang it, it was otherworldly, a great spiritual experience."  It was sad indeed to hear of her death in March 1999.

From Alan Blythe's obituary in The Guardian:

Rubinstein, Arthur (1887-1982)

Great pianist and exact contemporary of Villa-Lobos.  Rubinstein was the first important patron of Villa-Lobos, who wrote Rudêpoema for him.  Rubinstein's entertaining book My Many Years (NY, Knopf, 1980) contains many reminiscences of the early days in Rio de Janeiro.  It was Rubinstein who convinced the Guinle brothers to sponsor Villa-Lobos' trip:


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