Braulio Dueño Colón

Braulio Dueño Colón

Composer and musician. He was outstanding in both classical and popular music. He is most remembered, however, for his compositions for the work Canciones infantiles, a collection of songs used in the schools of Puerto Rico.

He was born in San Juan on March 26, 1854, the son of musician and royal attorney Aurelio Dueño, who taught him his first musical lessons. His first composition, which he wrote when he was just ten years old, consisted of a fantasy for violin and flute entitled El Güirigay. He composed his first danza, called Las dos rosas, at fifteen years of age.

While still young, he began to play in the orchestras of opera companies that visited San Juan. He also played in an orchestra directed by Italian musician Rosario Arutti. Arutti offered to give Braulio Dueño music classes, because he considered the boy very talented and believed his technique could be polished.

Braulio Dueño accepted a job as assistant bookkeeper for a business, a post he held for more than 20 years. In 1877, he composed the overture La Amistad, which won first prize in the literary and musical competition of the Puerto Rican Athenaeum. In 1880, through a competitive exam in which he competed with others before a panel of judges, he won a spot as a flute player in the Puerto Rico Cathedral Chapel orchestra, a group he played with for many years. In 1887, he again won first prize in the Athenaeum contest with his symphony Noche de otoño.

He founded and directed the municipal band of Bayamón, the town where he lived for most of his adult life. He also played the flute in the Santa Cruz Church during the festivals in honor of the patron saint. Along with Virgilio Dávila, he founded the weekly Chantecler in 1909. He also won a prize from the Puerto Rican Athenaeum in 1914 for the text Estudio de la danza puertorriqueña.

In 1912, he collaborated with writers Virgilio Dávila and Manuel Fernández Juncos on Canciones escolares, probably his best known work. It consisted of a collection of children’s songs produced for Puerto Rican schools and published in two series. Some of the compositions are original, while others take classical works and adapt them to the meter of verse. Among the songs are El barquero, Dulce abeja, La jota, El mangó, La muñeca, Plegaria, La tierruca and Los Reyes Magos. In 1918, he composed the music for the allegorical operetta La génesis de un gran sol, also by Dávila.

As a composer, he wrote a large number of works, including religious compositions – an Ave María and Hail Marys, among others –; Ecos de mi tierra, a symphony incorporate regional influences; the overtures Madrona, La calandria and El parto; the festive march La rosa de oro, composed for the Bayamón Floral Games, and the waltzes Mariposa, Las golondrina, Navidad, El pitirre and Los fantoches.

His compositions in the genre of the danza included La aurora, La bulliciosa, La criolla, Delia y Belén, La democracia, La esmeralda, La hebrea, La jíbara alegre, La jibarita, Patria, Pobre Borinquén, Soledad, Sueño de una virgen and Teresa.

Braulio Dueño Colón died in 1934 in the town of Bayamón.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 03, 2014.

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