Music in New Spain

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band



Piffaro, the Renaissance Band. Photo by Michael Haug.

Piffaro's Music in New Spain project explored music resulting from Spain's encounter with indigenous civilizations in Central and South America during its 16th-century imperial expansion. For a weekend of concerts, Piffaro developed repertoire drawn from the archives of Mexican cathedrals, Bolivian mission churches, and various sources in Guatemala and Peru. The Rose Ensemble from St. Paul, Minnesota—one of the country's leading early music groups—sang an array of sacred and secular works, and Piffaro showcased instrumental dances that represented a merging of Spanish and New World styles. The program conveyed the integration of European and New World musical traditions during the 16th and 17th centuries—the first half featuring music from New Spain (Mexico, Central America), and the second featuring music from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Extensive educational programs and a recording on the Navona label brought project repertoire to local students and international listeners.