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Primary Sources for Latin American Composers at the Library of Congress

This research guide is an inventory of primary sources in the Music Division of the Library of Congress related to Latin American composers for use by performers, conductors, teachers, and researchers.


This research guide is for performers, conductors, teachers, and researchers to discover the wealth of primary sources in the Library of Congress Music Division related to Latin American composers of classical music. Whether one seeks a new repertoire to perform, desires to study the classical music diaspora, or aims to discover the cultural contexts of musical works, the possibilities are endless with primary sources.

Use this guide to discover:

  • 331 Latin American composers
  • Composers from 17 Latin American countries
  • Handwritten musical scores dating as early as 1788
  • Correspondence dating as early as 1883
  • Photographs, negatives, and iconography dating as early as 1861

The origin of this guide was an inventory project from September-December 2019 with Melinda Gonzalez, an intern through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program, supervised by Music Reference Specialist Melissa Wertheimer. This inventory of primary sources in the Music Division has similar goals as A Guide to Latin American Music by Gilbert Chase published by the Music Division in 1945, "to provide a means of orientation in the field of Latin American music" (Preface, p. ix).

This online guide goes beyond the 1945 publication to compile the primary sources in the Music Division that bring Latin American composers and their works to life through their own words, musical notation, and images. The primary sources in this Research Guide are combined into one online document from disparate Library of Congress information sources: the Library of Congress Online Catalog, Library of Congress Finding Aids, the Performing Arts Reading Room card catalog, and uncataloged Music Division materials.

While rich with information and resources, is not possible for this guide to be truly exhaustive. As users perform research with Music Division collections, more relevant materials may be brought to light. If you find primary sources of Latin American composers over the course of your research with Music Division materials that are not listed in this guide, please contact us through Ask a Librarian.

Interested in Statistics?

Here is a breakdown of how many composers per country are in this research guide as of first publication.

Uruguay: 87
Brazil: 80
Argentina: 63
Cuba: 24
Mexico: 18
Chile: 11
Colombia: 8
Peru: 8
Venezuela: 6
Dominican Republic: 5
United States: 4
Guatemala: 3
Nationality Unknown: 3
Puerto Rico: 3
Bolivia: 2
El Salvador: 2
Panama: 2
Nicaragua: 1
Paraguay: 1