Nilo Rodríguez (1921-1997)

Cuba | Composer, professor

Photo: Nilo Rodriguez

Photo: Nilo Rodríguez



A composer and professor, Nilo Rodríguez Suárez was a strong advocate for Cuban music. Born in Jagüey Grande, Cuba, he began his musical studies at the Conservatorio Municipal in Havana in 1941 with José Ardévol. Rodríguez held several teaching positions at several universities in Cuba, including the Universidad Masónica José Martí. Rodríguez was actively involved in music printing and preservation, as he organized the record library for Casa de las Americas and worked as a music printing specialist for the Imprenta Nacional de Cuba. He served as director for several prominent conservatories and universities in Cuba, including the Conservatorio de Música Alejandro García Caturla, the Escuela de Música de la Escuela Nacional de Arte, and the Universidad Masónica José Martí. He founded the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo and served as vice president between 1951 and 1961. In 1988, he was named the National Editor for Cuba for the Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales (EGREM). As a composer, he won the Premio Nacional de Música in 1951 and 1952 for the compositions Quinteto no. 1 and El son entero. His works were highly nationalistic in their musical content, as he emphasized Cuban rhythms and experimented with the relationship between music and language. His most notable compositions were his cantatas, which were grand in scale and required extensive performing forces of over 250 performers. Notable examples of his cantatas include Elegía y canto por José Martí (1952), Cantata por la paz (1953), and Cantata Lenin (1970).



Oxford Music Online (Grove)


Media Collections Online (MCO)

These resources are only available to authorized users at Indiana University-Bloomington.

Nilo Rodriguez M. Carmara - Cassette 1

Nilo Rodriguez M. Carmara - Cassette 2

Nilo Rodriguez Orquesta - Cassette 1

Nilo Rodriguez Orquesta - Cassette 2

Naxos Music Library

This resources is only available to authorized users at Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Preludio no. 3 : Motivos de Danza 



Rodríguez, Nilo, Evelio Tieles, and Cecilio Tieles Ferrer. Sonata-Habanera: Violín y Piano. 1988.

Rodríguez, Nilo. Ámbitos V: Monólogo Para V.c. Solo. Havana : Nilo Rodríguez, 1979.

Gramatges, Harold, Argeliers León, Hilario González, Edgardo Martín, Nilo Rodríguez, and José Ardévol. 6 Modern Cuban Composers: Piano Solo. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elkan-Vogel, 1955.


Oxford Music Online (Grove)

These resources are only available to authorized users at Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Rodríguez, Victoria Eli. "Rodríguez (Suárez-Arange), Nilo." Grove Music Online. 2001.


 "Ya cantan los gallos," located at the Archivo General Región de Murcia

University of Miami Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Collection at Museo Nacional de la Música, Havana, Cuba  (Biblioteca y Archivo Odilio Urfé)


Journal Articles

Rivera, José. "Cuban Choral Music: Historical Development and Modern Influences." The Choral Journal 54, no. 8 (2014): 6-17.  (JSTOR)

White, Charles W. "Report on Music in Cuba Today." Latin American Music Review / Revista De Música Latinoamericana  13, no. 2 (1992): 234-42. (JSTOR)