The Kennedy Center

Juan Orrego-Salas


Composer Juan Orrego-Salas was born in Santiago, Chile where he began his training as a musician, while simultaneously obtaining his diploma in architecture in 1943. After completing his undergraduate work in composition, he abandoned his work as an architect to devote himself full-time to music. He contributed to various aspects of music including composition, musicology and theory. Orrego-Salas' work includes symphonic and chamber music, cantatas and oratorios, as well as solo vocal and instrumental works. Neo-classicism along with free invention characterize his music.

During a two-year residency in the United States as a Rockefeller and then a Guggenheim Foundation grantee, Orrego-Salas studied composition with Aaron Copland and musicology with George Herzog.

In 1947 he returned to Chile working as a conductor and full-time music professor at the University of Chile. He also became editor of the Revista Musical Chilena and music critic of El Mercurio of Santiago, Chile's leading morning paper. In 1953 the University of Chile bestowed on Orrego-Salas the title of Distinguished Professor of composition. He later became founder and director of the Institute of Music of the Catholic University of Santiago.

In 1961 he returned to the United States to establish the Latin American Music Center and to teach composition at the School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington, retiring in 1987 as professor emeritus.

Orrego-Salas was the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, including one with the National Symphony Orchestra featuring his Concerto a tre for piano trio and orchestra.

Juan Orrego-Salas


  • Symphony No. 3, Op. 50
  • Concerto a tre, Op. 52, for Violin, Violoncello, Piano and Orchestra
  • The Days of God