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Allende(-Sarón), Pedro Humbertolocked

  • Juan Orrego-Salas

(b Santiago, June 29, 1885; d Santiago, Aug 17, 1959). Chilean composer and ethnomusicologist. He studied the violin, music theory and composition at the Santiago Conservatorio National de Música (1899–1908). The Chilean government then sent him to France and Spain for further study (1910–11). On returning to Chile he was elected to the Folklore Society and worked for the Ministry of Education in improving the teaching of music in the state schools (1924–8). He travelled again to Europe in 1922 and was one of the founders of the International Academy of Fine Arts in Paris (1923). In 1928 he was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatorio National, which had recently become part of the arts faculty of the University of Chile. There, until his retirement in 1946, he taught many Chilean composers who later came to international prominence. On another visit to Europe, also in 1928, he served as vice-president of the music section at the First International Congress of the Popular Arts in Prague. During this trip he attended performances of a number of his works at the Ibero-American Festival in Barcelona (1929). He was a member of the Kharkov Folklore Society, the Costa Rican Academy of Fine Arts and the Chilean Associación Nacional Compositores, and he was the first Chilean composer to receive his country's National Arts Prize (1945).

Allende's work as a composer was complemented by extensive research into the indigenous and popular musics of Chile; he was responsible for issuing, on the RCA Victor label, the first field recordings of Araucanian Indian music. Since his death he has earned a reputation as the initiator of modernism in Chile, mainly on the strength of his progressive harmonic idiom and orchestration. At the same time, his use of themes and rhythms based on Chilean peasant songs and dances aligns him with other nationalist composers in Latin America. An example of the blending of these two elements can be seen in the 12 tonadas (1918–22), a set of character pieces for piano.


(selective list)

Chbr op for children

La Cenicienta [Cinderella], 1948


Sym., B♭, orch, 1910, unfinished; Escenas campesinas, suite, orch, 1913

Conc. sinfonico, vc, orch, 1915

Str Trio, 1920

La voz de las calles, sym. poem, orch, 1920

6 tonadas, str, 1925

Str Qt, 1925–49

6 tonadas, 2 sets of 3, 1930, 1936

Vn Conc., 1940


Paisaje chileno (C. Mondaca), chorus, orch, 1913

Oda a España (S. Lillo), Bar, chorus, orch, 1922

Se bueno (Allende), 1923

Solo vocal

Debajo de un limón verde (M. Jara), S, A, pf, 1915

El encuentro (Mondaca), 2S, pf, 1915

Mientras baja la nieve (G. Mistral), 1v, pf, 1925

A las nubes (Mistral), 1v, pf, 1925

El surtidor (Mistral), 1v, pf, 1925

La despedida (I.P. Valdés), 2S, A, orch, 1933

La partida, S, orch, 1933

Luna de la media noche (M.M. Moure), S, orch, 1937

En una mañanita (T.A. Ponce), S, orch, 1945

Piano solo

12 tonadas, 1918–22, nos. 10–12 orchd, 1929

Miniaturas griegas, 1918–29, arr. str qt, 1930

9 Studies, 1920–36

Principal publishers: Durand, Instituto de Extensión Musical, Senart


  • Conferencias sobre la música (Santiago, 1918)
  • Metodología original para la enseñanza del canto escolar (Santiago, 1922)
  • ‘Chilean Folk Music’, Bulletin of the Pan American Union (1931), Sept, 917–24
  • ‘La musique populaire chilienne’, Arts populaires: Prague 1928, 118–23


  • RMC, 1/5 (1945) [Allende issue]
  • A. Leng: ‘Pedro Humberto Allende’, Antártica (1945), no.12, pp.81–4
  • C. Isamitt: ‘Anotaciones alrededor de Humberto Allende y su obra’, Boletín latino-americano de música (1946), April, 237
  • V. Salas Viú: La creación musical en Chile, 1900–1951 (Santiago, 1952)
  • Compositores de América/Composers of the Americas, ed. Pan American Union, 2 (Washington DC, 1956), 3–15
  • R. Escobar and R. Yrarrázaval: Música compuesta en Chile (Santiago, 1969)
  • S. Claro and J. Urrutia Blondel: Historia de la música en Chile (Santiago, 1973)
  • R. Bustos Valderrama: ‘Nuevos aportes al estudio de Pedro Humberto Allende (1885–1959)’ RMC, no.174 (1990), 27–56
Revista musical chilena