Viceroyalty of Peru


As far as the viceroyalty of Peru is concerned, the information concerning the succession of chapel masters in the various cathedrals scattered throughout this region (geographically very extended) is not as precise as that which can be found for the viceroyalty of New Spain, so a subdivision like that of the previous paragraph is almost impossible to obtain. Therefore, only a few of the most important composers of the period considered will be mentioned, without following a defined geographical "path", but a more strictly chronological one.

In 1584 Gutierre Fernández Hidalgo arrived in New Granada (Colombia), ready to take on the role of chapel master of the nearby cathedral of Bogotá. This Spanish composer, born in Andalusia and trained at the Cathedral of Seville under the guidance of Juan Navarro Hispalensis,26 became the most eminent composer of New Spain in the XVI century, obtaining, first in Bogotá, then in Quito, Cuzco and La Plata, that the seminarists of the various cities sang under his direction every day in the cathedral, thus expanding the ensemble available to him for the performance of his compositions. Despite his musical grandeur, Fernández Hidalgo is not famous for his savoir-faire. In 1585, immediately after being elected Rector of the seminary of San Luis, a dispute with his students, tired of his demanding teaching style, led him to leave Bogotá in favour of Quito. Here, too, he was appointed master of the chapel and kept him until 1589 when, once again, he was too demanding for his subordinates. Finally, in July 1591, he was appointed as chapel master of the cathedral of Cuzco where, in addition to directing the choir of the cathedral and teaching polyphony, he was able to devote himself to composition. When, in 1597, the cathedral of La Plata offered him the same position as he had already held at the cathedral of Cuzco, but with a better salary, Fernández Hidalgo had to accept it and moved to the cathedral where he was to be the chapel master until his retirement in 1620.


26 Alejandro Vera Aguilera, ‘Música en Hispanoamérica durante el siglo XVII’, in Historia de la musica en España e Hispano América - La musica en el siglo XVII, vol. 3, 8 vols. (Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2016), p. 654.

Chapter five.


Composers in the American colonies


“I kneeled and kissed the land that I had reached from Europe, with great devotion in order to impregnate it with my sweat and blood: this land where I want to work and fight, and on which thanks to divine mercy, I long to find the beatitude of my soul.”

Anton Sepp, Relación de Viaje a Las Misiones Jesuíticas (Buenos Aires: EUDEBA, 1971), pp. 118-119.


            In the same way that for many centuries Venice was considered the great Porta d'Oriente, the American Caribbean functioned at the end of the XV century as the great Porta d’Occidente.1 Like the sun, the "new" came from the East. But unlike the city of Venice, where the agenda was trade, exchange of cultures and interest in the new, the Caribbean was instead the scene of a violent, conquering and evangelising vortex that will end imposing in the Americas the European vision of the world and the government, and (as a corollary) resulted in the decimation of local populations. The modernity of the cultural project arisen from those events would reveal only much later in what we can call today the Latin American way of life.

            The transition from the post-feudal society of late XV century to modern European society, which through the industrial revolution would eventually lead to capitalism, had in America, across the gateway of the West Indies, a definite geographic concretion. The trafficking of the “American treasure” (the gold and silver of Peru and New Spain) probably explains Spain's interest in new lands to be “discovered” and conquered and the Spanish expansionism in America, as well as the closure of the American domains under the Spanish crown to any foreigner influence, both commercial and cultural. This gave the region a twofold function: on the one hand, as a true geographical gateway to and from the continent and, on the other, as a prelude to a new socio-economic model based on the forced integration of the many cultures present at the beginning of the XVI century in the vast regions of the colonisation process, and those imported from Europe and Africa. A sort of anticipation of what we know today as "globalisation".

            At the beginning of the European penetration in the New World, the West Indies, and later the great American continent, were (and still are) an enormous melting pot of cultures, races and creeds that prefigured during the entire colonial period the current cosmopolitanism that largely defines American identity. Contrary to the strict conservationism of Spanish policies in its overseas domains, the social “involuntary experiment” would eventually represent the first universal advance towards modernity.

            Unlike what Columbus originally thought of the newly discovered lands, history showed that these were not territories bordering with Chipango (Japan) and China westward. The distinctive traits of the natives suggested different populations, which collectively earned them the name “Indians” in the wrong believing that they were somewhat relatives of the inhabitants of India. These village farmers, by virtue of the colonising technique, were subjected as slaves to work under a regime of intensive exploitation in the same way as had already been done in the Canary Islands, with tragical consequences as to their survival and to the transmission of their cultural heritage. These peoples, on their part, had been conformed through migrations with an inverse movement to that of the conquest of the continent — from south to north — probably from the north of Venezuela to the Bahamas Islands. Migrations followed the favourable winds, taking advantage of the vicinity of the islands so as to be able to navigate the waters with small boats such as pirogues or canoes that could travel about 30 km daily. Shortly after the arrival of the Spaniards, local languages such as taíno or caribe, which came from linguistic roots such as arahuaco or tupí-guaraní (coming from distant regions such as present-day Paraguay) had already disappeared and with them most of their speakers. Some languages such as the taíno of the Greater Antilles would leave traces in Spanish, while the arahuaco of Jamaica would be perpetuated in garífona and other English pidgin variants of the Atlantic coast of Honduras and Nicaragua.


1 Gateway to the East/Gateway to the West.

            One of the characteristics that drew the attention of the newly arrived colonists to the Caribbean were the aspects related to the subsistence and religion of the aborigines. Unlike more developed regions of Mesoamerica or Peru, local villagers practised only very incipient forms of agriculture, while most of their diet was obtained through fruit collection and fishing. This gave to the newcomers the illusion of having found a kind of "earthly paradise”, a timeless golden age that referred to ideals of the late Middle Ages and the European Renaissance. On the other hand, the rich and varied religious systems of these natives were the objects of descriptions and idealisations by chroniclers of the time such as Las Casas, Oviedo or Fray Ramón Pané.

            The vast region of the Spanish American domains, which started its formation with the colonisation of the West Indies, offers countless examples of a great display of cultural syncretism. The interaction of the Andalusian variant of the Castilian language — which will predominate in America and which had previously taken root in the Canary Islands — with the local languages will produce immediate results in the XVI century, and new mixtures during the XVII century. Loans, adoptions and adaptations of taíno expressions or caribe-arahuacas languages testify to this semantic integration, which was witnessed by the first chroniclers of the New World. Later on, this fusion would have worked in the same way between the Spanish of the colonists and the languages of Mesoamerica and Peru. Upon their arrival in the new lands, the conquistadores found a world to their meanings "fabulous", rich in new animals, plants, objects, rituals and customs that they originally knew only with their own native names. It is in the Caribbean Islands where the hybrid corpus of this terminology began to be absorbed into the Spanish language, to eventually arrive to the continent — as colonisation proceeded towards north and south — completely integrated, as if this new “Hispanic-American” language had always existed. Words such as maíscanoasabanahamacahuracánjaguar or caimán, unknown in Europe, were quickly imported into the lexicon of the Spanish language spoken worldwide.

            A second stage of syncretism in America came with the continental expansion of the impressive European conquering machinery, initiated by the crown of the Catholic Monarchs and followed a posteriori by the arrival of Portuguese, French, English and Italian in the early XVIII century. This syncretism will already be related to the assimilation of the so many and varied local cultures to the European culture that, from the viceroyalties of New Spain to the viceroyalty of Peru, interacted among them. It will no longer be the adoption of mere words into the Spanish language or the discovery and integration of new customs into the daily life of the colony, but rather the creation of new cultures in the broad sense of the term, a collective where new and varied elements are conjugated: religious,2 linguistic,3 customs,4 artistic,5 political.6

            At this stage, a new wave of European immigration from England, Holland, Portugal and France greatly influenced cultural expansion across the continent, including some variants of African roots such as Afro-Andalusian or Afro-Portuguese, already present in the Iberian Peninsula before the American conquest. The African presence, now permanent, with the intense trade and slave trade, significantly marked the "alloy" of those peoples who, coming from different latitudes and added to the territorial realities, were defining a novel modus operandi. This took the form of new expressions and ways of communicating, with the invention of the "creole" languages, with influences from all languages in action, with new artistic genres and new interpretations of religions, especially the adaptation of local (and foreign) beliefs to the prevailing Catholicism. In this sense, the American pidgin, derived from Spanish, was formed with Spanish expressions added to words imported from Portuguese, English, Dutch, French and especially from the African Bantu. As these languages have been perpetuated until our days, we can deduce that the phonetics of them have been the result of the summation of existing phonemes in each one of them, adapted and modified to give a characteristic and singular result.

            Music, on the other hand, was also modelled in the melting pot where local and European cultures merged. The African presence was decisive in the creation of new repertoires in which negrillasguineospuertorricos or fandangos have left testimony of a very rich writing in polyrhythms7 that, in a round trip movement between Europe and America, ended up influencing the music that was composed in the Iberian Peninsula. Composers such as Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Antonio de Salazar, Gaspar Fernández in the viceroyalty of New Spain or Juan de Araujo in the viceroyalty of Peru, were major exponents of this type of genre.

            Something is indisputable in the history of America, and is its “before” and “after” 1492, the year of the arrival of the Spaniards to the Caribbean. Of the interactions of “before”, when these lands were the reign of local tribes, we have very few references. Of the “after”, the land of interaction, integration and development under the Spanish crown, the cultural syncretism was one of the main protagonists. From 1492 until today it is a process that still seems to have not finished.


2 Rites, adorations, beliefs.

3 True new dialectal languages.

4 Variation in diet, behaviour, tastes, etc.

5 Production of local music and dance rituals assimilated to the conception of European art.

6 Interaction of concepts on forms of government.

7 Typical superposition of ternary times with binaries.

            It was the composers active in the New World who made real and tangible the syncretism of cultures that had been created in the American colonies. The mixture of European sounds, indigenous languages and musical instruments, together with the dances and rhythms of slaves imported from Africa, is what still makes Latin American music so special today.

            In addition to the production of liturgic music that followed the canons imported from Europe, and compositions in vernacular languages based on traditional Spanish themes, America also produced music with lyrics in the local languages.

            The development of the tradition of villancicos written on American soil is particularly important in this regard. Maintaining some of the characteristics typical of their European "cousins", the colonial villancico became the musical genre perhaps most symptomatic of this syncretism. The Latin American villancicos often drew their name from the ethnic group that the song was intended to represent, varying – depending on it – the types of rhythms and lyrics. The negrillas,8 for example, which were also very popular in the Iberian peninsula, were all the villancicos which, contained in the text, presented sentences or words in pseudo-African languages and incorporated rhythmic patterns typical of African dances, as well as responsorial antiphonal effects between the soloist and the tutti, frequently associated with vocal performances of the African tradition.9 With the same "setting" of the negrillas were also composed the inditos (or villancicos indios)10 and the mestizos,11 similar to the above but with words and imitations of the way the natives had to speak in Spanish, a type of writing that at the time, in the viceroyalty of New Spain, was called tocotín.12 Many Latin American composers dedicated themselves, albeit seldom exclusively, to this genre of music between the 16th and 18th centuries, both in the area of New Spain and in that of the Viceroy of Peru.


8 Also called guineos or villancicos de negros.

9 Examples of negrillas may include Sentidos los sacristanes composed by Miguel Medina y Corpas or Tambalagumbá by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla.

10 Such as, for example, Xicochi conetzintle and Tleycantimo choquiliya, both composed by Gaspar Fernández.

11 Like, also by Gaspar Fernández, Tios mío mo goraçón.

12 Probably derived from a dance typical of the natives of New Spain. The tocotín from New Spain was a dramatized dance, typical of many events of the novohispanic society, which text could be in Spanish or in Nahuatl (or a mixture of both).

Viceroyalty of New Spain


            After an initial period of stabilisation, in the decades immediately following the conquest, important music centres around the cathedrals began to develop in both the Viceroyalties. Cities such as Puebla de los Angeles, Oaxaca, and Ciudad de México — as far as New Spain is concerned — host some of the archives where the most important musical discoveries concerning the colonial period have been made in modern times. Around these cathedrals emerge important figures in the musical field, as far as the period examined by this research is concerned.

            The cathedral of Puebla, built in the late XVI century, boasts a succession of six distinguished maestros de capilla - Pedro Bermudez, Gaspar Fernandez, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Antonio de Salazar, Miguel Mateo de Dallo y Lana. When the cathedral was still in the middle of the construction works, the first commission as chapel master was given to Pedro Bermudez, made notorious by his stay in the same position at the Cathedral of Santiago de Guatemala, where he kept the commission for only two years. His direct successor, charged with the direction of the musical chapel of the cathedral between 1606 and 1629, was Gaspar Fernández.

            Although there is widespread acceptance that the Gaspar Fernández at the service of the cathedrals of Puebla and Guatemala was the same documented in Évora (Portugal) in the 1590s, recent studies led by Omar Morales Abrilhave shown that they most likely do not really correspond.13 On this premise it is therefore difficult to decide on the formation and life of which of the two Gaspar taken into account is advisable to talk about. As I myself support Morales Abril's hypothesis, I will only consider the Gaspar Fernández in the service of Guatemala Cathedral, of which some biographical information has been preserved,though scarce.

            As can be deduced from the Libro de fundación y constituciones of the Colegio Seminario de la Asunción, founded in Guatemala in 1598, Gaspar Fernández had the privilege of being admitted to the first group of collegials of the newly founded institute. This school, founded by King Philip II to accomplish with what was stipulated in the Council of Trent, presents in the tenth chapter — De qué tierra han de ser los colegiales — the birth prerequisites for access to it:

[...] that the said schoolchildren must be natural to this bishopric, from any city, town or place [...]. And if possible, that are descendants of conquerors or ancient settlers. [...] children of mere Spanish parents if possible, [...]. But it is well permitted that, being pointed out in talent and virtue, they are sons descendants of Spanish groupers and mestiza, daughter of Indian and Spanish or Creole; [...].14

It is highly probable, therefore, that Gaspar Fernández was a criollo15 or castizo16 born in the province of Guatemala. After a period of service as a cantor and then, from 1603, as a chapel master at the cathedral of Guatemala, he was hired as a maestro de capilla at the cathedral of Puebla de los Angeles, where he remained, against his wishes,17 until his death in 1629. During his first assignment as organist and singer at the Cathedral of Guatemala, he also copied polyphonic works of both past and present composers,18 creating a corpus of manuscripts that have survived to the present day.

13 It is the opinion of the musicologist Omar Morales Abril, after a careful re-reading of all the sources of the period in which he was mentioned, that it is impossible to associate the two Gaspar Fernández with the same character (either because of age or because of overlapping dates between the Portuguese and Guatemalan periods).

Omar Morales Abril, ‘Gaspar Fernandez: su vida y obras como testimonio de la cultura musical novohispana a principios del siglo XVII’, in Enseñanza y ejercicio de la música en México, ed. Arturo Camacho Becerra (México, D.F: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), 2013), pp. 71–125.

14 From the Libro de fundación y constituciones of the Colegio Seminario de la Asunción, chapter 10, f. 31v, 1597.

15 A person of European descent who was born in a Hispanic American country.

16 A person born in Hispanic America from the interbreeding of mestizos (European father and Amerindian mother, or the other way around) and Spaniards.

17 In 1611 he asked the newly appointed bishop of Guatemala to be able to return to the service of the cathedral as a chapel master. Because of the poor economic conditions that this cathedral had to offer, his wish could not be granted.

18 As well as adding his own compositions to complete the material, such as a cycle of eight Benedicamus Domino, one in each of the eight ecclesiastical modes; a Magnificat of the fifth tone and a hymn of vespers for the feast of the Guardian Angels. 

            When, on the death of Antonio de Salazar, the edict25 was published to provide for the vacancy of maestro de capilla, only two composers presented their credentials: Manuel de Sumaya and Francisco de Atienza. In order to gain access to the much sought-after ad vitam title of chapel master, it was necessary to pass a practical examination, through which the jury could prove the rigorous quality required of all candidates for first-rate positions. It was with his composition of the villancico Sol-fa de Pedro, in the Spanish style with four voices and basso continuo, on June 7, composed for this occasion, that in 1715 Sumaya obtained the position of maestro de capilla.

25 “Having learned of the death of the master Antonio de Salazar, master of this holy church, we ask that edicts be made [...], in the traditional form and manner, in which it is specified that the income per year is five hundred pesos.” cf. ACCMM, Correspondencia, box 23, Exp.: 2, F.: 66f.

Among the most important composers of the viceroy of Peru, it is impossible not to mention Juan de Araujo. Despite his fame, however, very little is known about this composer. Born in Extremadura, Spain, in 1646, he moved to Lima, Peru, with his father at a very young age. Here he had the opportunity to study at the University of San Marcos since his twenties. Expelled from the City of Kings for reasons of political dissent, he returned only in 1672, as chapel master of the city cathedral. Of the years following his nomination to the cathedral of Lima, his trace is lost; the only certain information is that he finished his job as chapel master in 1676, after which he is found, in 1680, at the cathedral of La Plata (today Sucre, in Bolivia), where most of his known works, both sacred and profane, are preserved. Among these 150 compositions, the villancicos stand out, in which he sought unusual and innovative effects, such as the use of syncope in times 6/8, aimed at providing an unexpected rhythmic drive.27

Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, which has already been mentioned, was born in Spain in 1644. In 1656, still in Spain, he entered the service of the house of the Count of Lemos, future viceroy of Peru. It is likely that during the years spent in his service he met and studied with Juan Hidalgo. As we have seen, he will face his journey to the Spanish colonies overseas in the retinue of the Count in 1667,28 landing in Lima in November of that year. However, his first musical assignment dates back to 1676, the year in which he was appointed chapel master of the cathedral of Lima, succeeding Juan de Araujo, and thanks to his work, the musical chapel of the cathedral saw, around 1679, an extensive extension. He was so well known during his lifetime for his incredible musical talents that the Cathedral Chapter decided to neglect the fact that he had never taken priestly orders.29

He is mainly remembered as the composer of the first opera composed and performed in the Americas, the Purpura de la Rosa, commissioned by the Count of Monclova (XVII viceroy of Peru) for the celebration, in the viceroyalty, of the eighteenth birthday of King Philip V. The libretto, by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, had already been used in a 1659 performance at the Real Coliseo del Buen Retiro in Madrid with music by Juan Hidalgo and was reused, for the occasion of the commission, by Torrejón y Velasco who, in 1701, presented its version at the Palace of the Viceroy of Peru in Lima.


27 Los coflades de la estleya could be an example.

28 Together with Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz.

29 He was, in any case, a man of fervent religiosity, left to glimpse in his works. It is very likely that he handed down this trait to his children – born from his marriage to María Manuela Bermúdez, first, and then to Juan Fernández de Mendía – since five of his six sons took priestly orders.

In addition to the aforementioned work, however, Torrejón y Velasco, was a prolific composer in both secular and religious spheres, producing a large number of villancicos, polychoral works for two organs,30 lamentations for Holy Week and Magnificat, among others. 

All the composers who have been dealt with up to now have been, in life, closely linked to the sphere of the cathedral’s musical chapels, without ever venturing too far outside the large towns and without sharing their skills with the parroquias de indios or with the religious missions. It differs, therefore, from all Domenico Zipoli. 

Born in Prato in 1688, he spent his first years of training at the music school of the Cathedral of his native city and then continue his studies first in Florence and then in Rome, a city where he remained well-integrated into the musical environment for a long time.31

After being admitted as a Jesuit novice during the Roman period, he moved to Seville with the desire to be sent to the Jesuit reductions of Spanish possessions in South America. It was from there that he left, in 1717, together with a group of missionaries, settling in Cordoba where he remained until his departure, in 1726.  During these few years, besides continuing his philosophical and theological studies,32 he devoted himself simultaneously to the activity of composer, choirmaster and organist in the local Jesuit church, from where his production began to spread from Paraguay to Bolivia, Peru.

In addition to the already mentioned oratories and the collection for organ and harpsichord, Zipoli is the father of copious sacred music and cantatas (such as Mia Bella Irene and Dell’offese a vendicarmi). He is also credited with some sections of the oratory San Ignacio de Loyola, the “opera” of the Jesuit missions, copied many years after his death and rediscovered, in the archives of the Archbishopric of Chiquitos (Bolivia), by Gabriel Garrido, conductor of the Ensemble Elyma. 


30 In 1680 a second organ was installed at the Cathedral of Lima, and it is likely that for this occasion were thought these villancicos with two organs.

31 He was a member of the Society of Musicians of Santa Cecilia,  organist of Santa Maria in Trastevere and of the Church of Jesus. The two oratories Sant’ Antonio di Padova (1712) and Santa Caterina, vergine e martire (1714), as well as the famous collection Sonate d'intavolatura per organo e cimbalo (1716) dedicated to Princess Maria Teresa Strozzi, date back to these years. 


32 Due to the lack of a bishop in loco, however, he could not be ordained a priest.

           The extreme skill and prolificness of this composer as a copyist had a particularly important effect: it gave him the opportunity to bring together in a single volume all his circumstantial works, instead of keeping them, as was customary, on untied sheets, too easily lost. This possibility makes his work “the oldest manuscript testimony of the repertoire of villancicos and chanzonetas from all over America”, thus enlightening “that dark stage represented by the first years of the baroque centuries”.19

            The opinions on Fernández's technical skills as a composer, as expressed by the two major musicologists who have dedicated themselves to the study of the life and work, are contrasting. Aurelio Tello praises his refined style, the diversity of musical genres and forms and his solid compositional technique, while Robert Snow considers that he had a limited gift as a composer of liturgical polyphony and that precisely because of this limited compositional technique he preferred the villancicos, which he considered “stylistically simpler”.

            His direct successor as the chapel master of the cathedral of Puebla was Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (1590-1664), a composer born and trained in Spain. A native of Malaga, he was trained in the Cathedral of his hometown, before becoming chapel master in the Cathedral of Cadiz. In 1620 or 1621 he moved to Puebla,20 where in 1629 he was appointed master of the chapel and where many of his compositions in the Renaissance style were written and remain in manuscripts. They include more than 700 sacred motets, villancicos, masses, lamentations, litanies and psalms.

            Antonio de Salazar, the successor of Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, is one of the few chapel masters born and trained in the New World. Information about his life and training are, unfortunately, rather scarce. Born in Puebla de los Angeles, he became Chapel Master of the Cathedral of his native city in 1679 and remained there until 1688, when he took his place in the Cathedral of Mexico City. He will be active in Ciudad de México until 1715, year of his demise. Despite the paucity of biographical information on his figure, this composer is quite important for the purposes of this study, since among his preserved compositions there are two villancicos that expressly require the accompaniment of the voice performed by a harp.21

19 Aurelio Tello, Cancionero Musical de Gaspar Fernandez, Tesoro de La Música Polifónica En México (México, D.F: CENIDIM, 2001), p. XIX.

20 Most probably thanks to Gaspar Fernandez who, around 1622, began to ask for the hiring of a master assistant, proposing Gutierrez de Padilla personally.

21 Oid, aprended, tiernas avecillas (1699) and Suenen clarines alegres (1703) both preserved in the Chapter Archives of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico.

(see the Appendix).

             As for the Cathedral of Mexico City, older than that of Puebla, during the time span covered in this research are quite more numerous the chapel masters, so we will only mention some of the most significant. In addition to Juan Xuarez who, as already seen, was the first official chapel master in the New World (1539–1548), there are figures such as Hernando Franco, chapel master between 1575 and 1585; Antonio de Salazar (already discussed in the section dedicated to the cathedral of Puebla de los Angeles) between 1688 and 1715 and Manuel de Sumaya, master from 1715 to 1738.

            First chapel master of a certain calibre, Hernando Franco, born near Alcántara in Spain in 1532, arrived in the New World after meeting the brothers Lázaro and Jerónimo del Álamo at the cathedral of Segovia, where they served as chorister boys. It was with the two brothers that he moved first to Guatemala and, later, to Mexico City.

            While he spent a relatively short time in the cathedral of Santiago de Guatemala (he was appointed in 1570 and renounced, because of the reduction in his salary, in 1573), it was in Mexico City where he could fully devote himself to his music. In the eight years he held his position as a chapel master in the capital's cathedral, the cathedral experienced a period of great musical splendour, also thanks to the cathedral's flourishing economy which allowed the hiring of singers and instrumentalists to perform his compositions.

            The widespread diffusion of his handwritten works, from Guatemala to Chicago and from Puebla to Durango, highlights the fame he must have achieved during his lifetime.22

            But the most prolific author of musical baroque in the American continent, and possibly the most famous among the composers of New Spain, is Manuel de Sumaya (or Zumaya). Born in Mexico City in 1678, he became part of the musical chapel of the cathedral in his hometown, at that time directed by Antonio de Salazar, as a seise. Sumaya's ease and mastery in the field of music were so great that the aforementioned chapel master Antonio de Salazar asked for his protection, helping him to study the organ and preparing him to assist and, if necessary, replace the master. Already in 1700, Antonio de Salazar asked to be exempted from teaching,23 and from that moment this activity would fall on the shoulders of the young Manuel de Sumaya.24

22 Archbishop Pedro Montoya de Contreras also recommended him to the Crown in 1580 as a master of exemplary personality, “[…] capable of successfully compete with any Spanish master. […]”.

23 Probably because of the progressive deterioration of his sight and multiple aches and pains of old age.

24 So much so that already in 1710 he was appointed Second Chapel Master of the Cathedral.

“[...] asista, como maestro, don Manuel de Sumaya presbítero por su conocida suficiencia, y que lo haga en la escoleta todos los lunes, y jueves del año como está mandado a la enseñanza del contrapunto y haga toda la música necesaria para el culto de esta santa iglesia y que se le despache título con calidad de que no puede pedir salario ni cosa alguna por razón de esto […]”.cf. ACCMM, AC, Vol. 26, F.: 337f. The agreement taken by the chapter is of January 10, 1710.