Juan De Araujo


Spanish born composer, who became South America's greatest composer of the Early- to Mid-Baroque. Born in Extremadura, Spain, in 1646, he crossed the ocean at an early age with his father, a civil servant, and completed his education at the University of San Marcos in Lima, studying composition with Tomas de Torrejón y Velasco. Banished for some years from Lima by the then Viceroy, he went to Panama (where some of his works survive), was ordained to the priesthood, and returned to Lima in 1672, now as maestro of the Cathedral.

In 1676 he moved, apparently to Cuzco Cathedral, where others of his works survive. Four years later he moved again, to the Cathedral of La Plata (present-day Sucre, Bolivia) there to serve until his death in 1712. His output of sacred music in Latin is relatively small; where his genius overflowed in abundance was in the production of villancicos of all sorts and combinations of voices and instruments from two to at least thirteen parts.

Araujo composed prolifically, and while he followed the traditional form of the villancico, he also searched for innovative and unusual effects, employing systemic syncopation in 6/8 time to provide unexpected rhythmic drive. Serving during a prolonged economic boom, he enjoyed resources permitting him an orchestra that few cathedrals could boast, even in Europe


A Partial Juan De Araujo Discography |  VIIH: Music in Iberia, New Spain and Colonial America