Cook Music Library Digital Exhibitions


Photo: Juan Orrego-Salas Portait

Orrego-Salas examining a score.

In a career spanning more than 70 years, Juan Orrego-Salas composed a broad variety of works, from sonatas and symphonies to operas and music for film. Much of his music was neoclassical in style. He composed plenty of commissions, writing music for various universities and foundations, orchestras like the Louisville Orchestra and the National Symphony of Washington. D.C., the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as numerous other organizations, musical groups, and individuals. His internationally recognized music won prizes at the Festivales de Música Chilena four times (1948, 1950, 1952, 1998), and the Olga Cohen Prize twice (1956, 1958), among others.

Score: Days of God, op. 73 (1976) by Juan Orrego-Salas

The Days of God, op. 73 (1976), the only oratorio by Orrego-Salas, was based on the book of Genesis and poetry by Pablo Neruda and Dylan Thomas. Here is an early sketch of the work.

Editorial, C. (1976). “Los días de Dios”, Oratorio de Juan Orrego-Salas. Revista Musical Chilena, 30 (135-), p. 100-107.


Photo: Rehearsal for "Days of God," op. 73 (1976) by Juan Orrego-Salas

The Days of God was presented at Indiana University in 1976 under the direction of Jan Harrington. He is pictured here with Orrego-Salas during a rehearsal.

Score: Days of God, op. 73 (1976) by Juan Orrego-Salas with dedication

After Jan Harrington conducted The Days of God in 1976, Orrego-Salas gave the conductor a score with a handwritten dedication. It reads, “To Jan Harrington on his birthday as a souvenir of his wonderful performance of this work – that I carry very deep in my heart; the real and best ‘premier.’ Juan Orrego-Salas 19—?" --Courtesy of Jan Harrington.

Here are two recordings of Days of God, op. 73 both performed with the Indiana University Oratorio Chorus:

  • The Indiana University performance conducted by Jan Harrington prior to the premier, recorded on October 27, 1976 at the Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • The national premier, conducted by Antal Dorati, recorded on November 2, 1976 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Both performances are available to authorized users through Media Collections Online, a digital initiative at Indiana University

Interview: Juan Orrego-Salas

NewMusicBox from New Music USA presents: an interview with Juan Orrego-Salas.