Coriún Aharonián

(b. 4 August 1940, Montevideo – d. 8 October 2017, Montevideo).

Uruguayan composer of mostly chamber and electroacoustic works that have been performed throughout the world; he was also active as a scholar.

Mr. Aharonián studied piano privately with Adela Herrera Lerena in Montevideo from 1945–59. He later studied composition privately with Héctor Tosar in Montevideo from 1955–57 and 1966–69. In addition, he studied musicology privately with Lauro Ayestarán in Montevideo from 1964–66 and with him at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo from 1964–66, after studying architecture there from 1960–64. He also studied composition with Gerardo Gandini and other composers at the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires in 1969 and privately with Luigi Nono in Venice in 1970.

Among his honours were a period as a guest of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (1984–85), the Guggenheim Fellowship (2004–05, for his work as a scholar), the title Ciudadano Ilustre from the government of Montevideo (2010), and appointment as an emeritus researcher by the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores in Montevideo (2014). He and Graciela Paraskevaídis are the subjects of the book Sonidos y hombres libres. Música nueva de América Latina en los siglos XX y XXI (2014, edited by Hanns-Werner Heister and Ulrike Mühlschlegel, Iberoamericana/Vervuert).

As a scholar, he wrote several articles and essays on culture and music, which have been published in Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, the UK, Uruguay, the USA, and Venezuela. Many of these writings appear in the collection Hacer música en América Latina (2012, republished 2014, Ediciones Tacuabé). He has written the books Introducción a la música (1981, mimeo; 2002, republished 2008, 2012, Ediciones Tacuabé), Héctor Tosar, compositor uruguayo (1991, Trilce), Conversaciones sobre música, cultura e identidad (1992, Ombú; republished 2000, 2005, 2012, Ediciones Tacuabé), Educación, arte, música (2004, republished 2013, Ediciones Tacuabé), and Músicas populares del Uruguay (2007, Universidad de la República; republished 2010, 2014, Ediciones Tacuabé). In addition, he edited the books Estudios para Los Orígenes del tango argentino by Carlos Vega (2007, Educa), Textos breves (2014, texts by Lauro Ayestarán, Biblioteca Artigas de Clásicos Uruguayos) and El Tango by Idea Vilariño (2014, Cal y Canto). Moreover, he served as coordinator of the collective books Música/musicología y colonialismoMúsica/musicologia e colonialismo – Music/ology and colonialism (2011, Centro Nacional de Documentación Musical Lauro Ayestarán), La Música entre África y América – A Música entre África e América – Music between Africa and the Americas (2013, Centro Nacional de Documentación Musical Lauro Ayestarán) and El Tango ayer y hoy (2014, Centro Nacional de Documentación Musical Lauro Ayestarán).

He was also active in other positions. He co-founded the nonprofit label Ediciones Tacuabé in Montevideo in 1971 and served as a member of its collective from 1971–2017. He served as executive secretary of the Cursos Latinoamericanos de Música Contemporánea from 1971–89, as a member of the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music from 1983–85 and as a member of the presidential council of ISCM from 1985–87 and 1987–89. He later served as musicological coordinator of the Centro Nacional de Documentación Musical Lauro Ayestarán in Montevideo from 2009–11 and served as its director from 2011–17. He has organised activities for music education and concerts in Uruguay and elsewhere.

He taught as a professor at the Universidad de la República from 1985–91 and at the Instituto de Profesores in Montevideo in 1993–94 and 1997–98. He taught as a guest professor at universities in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. He also taught composition in Argentina and Uruguay and gave courses, lectures, masterclasses, seminars, and workshops in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, the USA, and Venezuela.

In addition to the works listed below, he composed incidental music for stage productions and scores for films.





Hecho 1 (estudio sobre el silencio) (music-theatre work), 4 or more actors (in wheelchairs), 1966

Hecho 2 (en tres partes y en re) (music-theatre work), player (with brushes, 3 paints, cassette recorder), 5 players (with prepared piano, tubular bell, claves, any 4 idiophones/membranophones, sine- and square-wave generator, 5 cassette recorders), 1966


Lorenzaccio, piccolo (+ alto flute), bass clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, amplified violin, amplified viola, amplified cello, amplified double bass, orchestra (2 percussion, 38 strings), 1968

Mestizo, 1993

Una Carta, small orchestra (15 players), 2001


Música para aluminios, aluminum pieces (3 players), fixed media (2 tracks), 1967

Música para tres, flute, violin, piano, 1968

Música para cinco, alto flute, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tom-toms, 1972

Digo, es un decir, 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, trumpet, 2 double basses, 1979

Los Cadadías, clarinet, trombone, cello, piano, 1980

En el sombrío bosque un canto un pájaro, unconventional instruments (9 or more players), 1981

Gente, flute, oboe, A-clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, double bass, marímbula, steel drum, 1990

Una Canción, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, piano, 1998

Llueve sobre el Río de la Plata, guitar, 2000

Cachó la barreta, 6 percussion, 2004

¿De qué estamos hablando?, bass clarinet (+ E-flat clarinet), bassoon, cello, 2006


Una estrella, esta estrella, nuestra estrella (vocalise), 12 or more mixed voices, guitar, double bass, piano, harpsichord, bandoneón, 1969


Dos Canciones sobre poemas de Idea Vilariño (text by Idea Vilariño), female folk voice, guitar, bandoneón, 1973


Tres pequeñas piezas, 1966–73

¿Y ahora?, 1984


Que, fixed media (2 tracks), 1969

Homenaje a la flecha clavada en el pecho de Don Juan Díaz de Solís, fixed media (2 tracks), 1974

Gran tiempo, fixed media (2 tracks), 1974

¡Salvad los niños!, fixed media (2 tracks), 1976

Esos silencios, fixed media (1 track), 1978

Apruebo el sol, fixed media (2 tracks), 1984

Secas las pilas de todos los timbres, fixed media (2 tracks), 1995 (also version for fixed media [8 tracks], 1997)