Isabel Aretz

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Isabel Aretz (born April 14, 1909 , † June 1, 2005 in San Isidro ) was an Argentinian music ethnologist, folklorist and composer.

Isabel Aretz


Aretz studied piano at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de Buenos Aires with Rafael González as well as harmony, counterpoint and composition with Athos Palma and perfected her musical training with Heitor Villa-Lobos in Brazil. At the Museo de Ciencias in Buenos Aires she studied anthropology with José Imbelloni and ethnography with Enrique Palavencino and then became a collaborator and student of the musicologist Carlos Vega .

Since 1940 she made a series of research trips through Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. In 1947 she went to Venezuela to organize the music section of the Servicio de Investigaciones Folklóricas founded by Juan Liscano . Here she traveled to different regions of Venezuela with Luis Felipe Ramón y Rivera .

In the 1960s, Aretz worked at the Estudio de Fonología , the first electronic music studio in Venezuela. In 1968 she received a doctorate in music (summa cum laude) from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina . In 1971 she became the founding director of the Instituto Interamericano de Etnomusicología y Folklore (INIDEF), where she taught until 1982. She also worked as a professor of ethnomusicology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and taught in Mexico and Colombia. From 1990 to 1995 she was president of the Fundación de Etnomusicología y Folklore (FUNDEF). In 1997 she returned to Argentina.

Aretz authored more than twenty-five books and monographs on Latin American folk music. She also composed orchestral and choral symphonic works, electro-acoustic and piano pieces.


  • Puneñas (1937)
  • Yekuana for eight voices, orchestra, speaker and tape (1974)
  • Kwaltaya , ethnodrama for tape and voice, (1980)
  • Gritos en la Ciudad for orchestra and tape (1992)
  • Hombre al Cosmos for piano and tape (1993)

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