Except for specialists, few know about the musical history of colonial Latin America. Following the arrival of conquerors and colonisers, an extremely important cultural symbiosis slowly began to take place. This process continued until the end of the 18th century and, in some regions, it lasted up to the early 19th century when the wars for independence took place.
This period bore witness to the development of a culture rich in architecture, painting, sculpture, and literature. The Cuzco paintings or the works of Aleijadinho in Brazil stand as testament to important artistic developments of these new societies. A similar process took place with the music. Just as the University of Salamanca was the model for New World institutions of higher learning, the Music Chapel of Seville Cathedral served as the paradigm for the development of music.
Several researchers have devoted themselves to exploring the developments made during these centuries, searching for documents from this period: data written down by priests in church-books, listings of church expenditures which include singers and interpreters, instruments acquired and celebrations in which they took part. Their study and analysis, as well as the journals of priests and travellers, teach us about the norms that governed music in American Chapels, their composers and the bulk of their repertoire. In Mexico, Lima, Sucre or Cuzco, the Chapel Master guided his ‘schola', dictating its daily practises while, at the same time, composing new works for upcoming festivities. We should recall that most choral singers, singing and dancing choir boys and interpreters as well as composers were indigenous, and in Brazil, mulattoes.
The repertoire included a variety of sources: books printed in and regularly received from Europe, the works of resident maestros, often of great value, and later on, works of native composers formed in Latin America. We can identify three key musical periods. The first period in Mexico, with ‘a capella' polyphony recalls the Spanish Renaissance. There we can find Liturgical works and Christmas carols, as well as toys, melodies and picturesque ballads.
The Grupo de Canto Coral, which consists of a chamber-choir and a baroque-orchestra, applies to the best choirs of Argentina. It was founded in 1973 by its current conductor Nestor E. Adrenacci. The ensemble regularly tours to both Europe and the United States. In 1993 the Grupo de Canto Coral was invited by the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) to represent South America at the 3th world symposium for choral music in Vancouver, Canada.