CULTURE History of Chile

Vicente Bianchi – the man that breathed music

On the respectable age of 98, Vicente Bianchi, Chilean composer, died yesterday. He leaves behind a legacy of music, that reflect the history of Chile at its best. A portrait of a Chilean patriot who lived music.

Bianchi, who died yesterday in his house in La Reina, surrounded by family, was born Vicente Bianchi Alarcón on January 27, 1920. He started playing piano at a young age and at nine years old he started at the National Conservatory of Music. It was there that he started composing. During that same time, Bianchi began at the radio, at Radio Otto Becker. Three years later, Bianchi joined Radio Agricultura, where he would start directing orchestra´s. From there he took the step to Argentina, where Bianchi at 23 years old became the director of an Argentine orchestra and got hired by Radio El Mundo in Buenos Aires. After his return to Chile, he worked with several orchestra´s and radio stations throughout the country.

Music and poems that reflected Chilean identity

Bianchi´s career was focused on composing music that reflected Chilean culture and identity. After meeting Pablo Neruda, the duo composed among others “Tonadas de Manuel Rodríguez” (1955), “Romance de los Carrera” (1956), “Canto a Bernardo O’Higgins” (1956) and “A la Flag of Chile “(1970). His song “La noche de Chillán” (1973) won in 1998 the Festival of the Song of Viña del Mar.

Bianchi also composed religious works, for the Misa a la Chilena (1964), the Mass of the Southern Cross (1970) and the traditional ecumenical Te Deum (from 1969 until 2000). But apart from poetry, culture, and religion Bianchi also composed sport anthems: both the anthems of Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile are written by Biancho

Numerous awards

Throughout his life, Vicente Bianchi received numerous awards for his musical legacy. In 2000, he received both the ´Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral´ and the Prize for Chilean Music. He won the Chilean Prize in 2004 and in 2016 he was awarded with the National Musical Arts Prize.

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