17th August 1808
8th July 1878
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Juan Pedro Esnaola was the most important Argentine composer from the first half of the nineteenth century. He is remembered as the arranger of the Argentine National Anthem.
Esnaola was universally recognized as an excellent piano performer. While a teenager, he often participated in concerts organized by the School of Music or the Philharmonic Society, in which he also sung opera excerpts. Yet he refused to carry on a professional career, and from the 1830s, he mainly appeared in private venues.
Esnaola cultivated most of the living genres in the Buenos Aires of his days, in a personal style based upon Mozart, Haydn, and Rossini, but that gradually incorporated Romantic influences. Even though he frowned away from folk songs and dances, his production is by no means a mere imitation of international trends, and carries a seal of its own. There is no evidence that he ever accepted a paid commission. He seems to have created music for free, as contributions to certain institutions or as gifts for friends and family members.