The persistent resonance of the guitar in the music of Alberto Ginastera
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1984) was Argentina's most successful composer of literate music, and one of the few from Latin America to approach inclusion in the international canon of concert music. Commemorating his centennial, this paper explores the composer’s varying poetics in reference to the 'national' component of his musical language. The analytical interpretation of the composer's oeuvre has been strongly influenced by Ginastera's own famous division of his works into three clearly-defined stylistic periods, first reported by Pola Suárez Urtubey in 1967, which he further modified near his death (Tan, 1984). Following this periodization, which emphasized the changing treatment of 'national' materials, a Local/International dichotomy has often obscured interpretation of a dialogical musical process that traverses Ginastera's works throughout the decades. Rather than engaging in the ultimately irrelevant exercise of refining or refuting the various periodizations created by the composer, or, subsequently, by a number of musicologists (Tabor, Scarabino, Schwartz-Kates, Sottile), this essay aims at highlighting continuities and paradoxes in the handling and perception of the 'national' character of Ginastera’s music, building on the analytical insights of scholars such as Kuss. The study starts with a reflection on Ginastera's creation of his 'Argentinean' musical elements within the artistic context of the Buenos Aires of his youth, and proposes a survey of their appearance and an assessment of their treatment throughout the composer's work. In offering a perspective on the composer's work unimpeded by the necessity of applying the National/Universal dichotomy or a strict periodization, I intend to give account of the subtle interplay of the various aesthetic elements present in the music. This paper was presented at LASA 2016 and a new version will be presented in Tokyo in 2017.
Restoration of historic recordings
For two consecutive years, Sebastián received a grant from the Grammy Foundation to restore and archive the collection of Folk music recordings made by Carlos Vega and other musicologists for the Instituto Nacional de Musicología in Buenos Aires from 1932 to 1944. These recordings, made on wax and acetate records, were restored and made available at the Instituto's library. A preview of the restoration work can be seen here.
Religious music in the Missions of Chiquitos, Bolivia, in the XVIII century examines the repertory of music found in the archives of Concepción de Chiquitos, Bolivia. The main focus is the stylistic derivation that led to this amazing repertoire and its reception. It was presented at the 2002 Congress of the International Musicological Society in Leuven.

Lasciatemi Morire: Love and death in the Biographies of Claudio Monteverdi is a critical reading of the biographies of Claudio Monteverdi and the way in which scholars have integrated the effect of grief on his musical production. It was presented in the annual meeting of the Northeast Chapter of the College Music Society at Bates College, in Maine, in April of 2001.
Lasciatemi Morire: Love and death in the Biographies of Claudio Monteverdi
Amidst historical disagreement regarding Monteverdi’s relations with the two women mentioned in his biographies, resides the irrefutable proximity of grief to his composing. The fact that he wrote the Lamento de Arianna and Lagrime d’Amante al Sepolcro dell’Amata (published in the Sixth Book of Madrigals, Venice, 1614) in 1606-7, around the time of the deaths of both women, has been enough to start a series of portraits that present the composer as a romantic hero and a first incarnation of the Italian lyric spirit.

This paper takes a look at the descriptions of these facts in biographies and confronts them with their supporting documentary evidence, which consists of the corpus of Monteverdi’s letters, available to musicologists in different forms and languages since the last quarter of the XIX century.

There is plausible evidence to support some of the claims regarding the causal relationship between the tragic events and the composition of the two laments. Less weighty, however, are the arguments that he was a «visionary proto-lyricist» and a «loving hero», an image that can be related to early XX-century Italian scholars, deeply involved in the creation of a national musical identity. It seems as if, in many cases, musicologists have regarded the lack of negative evidence that would falsify their own biographical wishes as an affirmation of their validity. back to top

Religious music in the Missions of Chiquitos, Bolivia, in the XVIII century
This paper examines the repertoire of vocal church music found in the collection of the Episcopal Archive of Concepción de Chiquitos, Bolivia. The manuscript and most of music it contains were produced in the Missions the Jesuits established and maintained in the region from 1690 to 1767. Based on considerations about music in the life of the Missions and the analysis of some pieces, it traces the origins of the repertoire to the Austro-Italian Catholic music of the late XVII century and examine the stylistic transformation it went through as it was imported from Europe to the remote Bolivian Missions. Finally, it addresses the way in which this process was perceived by commentators and scholars. back to top