Vicente Emilio Sojo

About Vicente Emilio Sojo

Relatively little-known in North America and in Europe, twentieth-century composer, conductor, and musicologist Vicente Emilio Sojo was well enough known in his native Venezuela to have his likeness featured on one of the country's postage stamps in 1974. Sojo was born in Guatire, Venezuela, two weeks before Christmas 1887. In 1910, he moved to Caracas to study music at the Academia de Bellas Artes, and, 11 years later, he joined the faculty of the Escuela Nacional de Música, also in the capital city of Caracas. From this base, he wielded a great influence on the course of his country's musical development during the twentieth century. For four decades, he taught theory and composition to its ever-increasing troupe of gifted young musicians; he founded the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra (or, more properly, the Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuala) and a choir called the Orfeón Lamas. He also cataloged, transcribed, and arranged a considerable body of regional folk songs. Sojo died in Caracas in 1974. As a composer, Sojo was not especially prolific and he preferred to remain largely within the bounds of sacred choral music. He wrote several masses, motets, and a Requiem mass, all of which were performed by the Orfeón Lamas. Organ music, which should really be considered a genre adjacent to sacred choral music, also received some attention from him, and he authored a handful of pieces for solo guitar and one string quartet.