Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935)

    Since we’re still in the shadow of Brazilian World Music Day, today we feature Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935), a remarkable woman of musical firsts from 19th-century Brazil, who remained active well into the 20th century.

A composer of over 300 works, she was born in Rio de Janeiro, and studied the piano. After two marriages, and children,  she separated from her 2nd husband and published the polka Atraente in 1877. Other works followed, including the operettas A corte na roça (1885) and the three-act Forrobodó, which received 1500 performances. The first work earned her the nickname of “the feminine Offenbach“. Her compositions included 77 works for the stage, and included collaborations with well-known Brazilian playwrights.  Her published works include waltzes, polkas, tangos, mazurkas, quadrilles, gavottes, habaneras, barcarolles, serenatas, maxixes, lundus, fados, modinhas, marchas and choros. She was the first woman to conduct an orchestra in Brazil, and was an active supporter of the Brazilian movement to end of slavery (1888) and the proclamation of the Republic (1889). (text adapted from Magaldi, Christina. “Gonzaga, Chiquinha.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 13 Sep. 2012 <>)

Several CDs of her works are listed in CLIO.  You can also listen to a few tracks via our streaming audio database Naxos Music Library, including this track, Atraente (mentioned above) . Another performance of this work is also on YouTube:

Get to know the music of this interesting Brazilian musical pioneer!