Members of the San Luigi Orders: Emirto de Lima y Santiago

Emirto de Lima y Santiago (1890-1972) was a member of the Order of the Crown of Thorns (in the photograph he wears the miniature insignia, fourth from left on his left breast). He was a Colombian musician and musicologist, studying first with his father in Curaçao, then with  Pedrell in Barcelona and finally at the Schola Cantorum de Paris under Vincent d’Indy.

He spent time in Ottawa, and from 1929-30 served as a conductor for the new radio station there. He was also involved with the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra and as a music critic.

He was for a time in charge of his own academy of music, but when this ran into financial difficulties as a result of changes in musical fashions (he was a staunch opponent of jazz) he was appointed consul general in Barranquilla for Liberia and Honduras. The manner of his death was mysterious, with all his possessions, including manuscript scores, being seized by the authorities and not released to this day. He was a dedicated phalerist and member of many chivalric orders.

The works that are available to the public today show his creation of a nationalist Colombian style and range from orchestral tone-poems (Poema indio) and ballets (Sonatina (fantasy ballet), 1929; Triunfo del amor, 1949), to many piano and instrumental miniatures. There is also a major study of ethnography (Folklore colombiano, 1942). He wrote “I have a deep, firm, unwavering belief in the bright future of national music, and I think all who contribute to its dissemination, maintenance and improvement (whatever the sphere in which they are placed) meet not only with a imperative duty of gratitude and affection for this lush, gentle and strong land , but cooperate in the task in which they are committed to the great men of the country, that is, to assert more and more the ideal colombianista.”

His piano music has been recorded on CD by Harold Martina in a disc supported by the Colombian Ministry of Culture.

>>Catalogue of works

Emirto de Lima’s Contemplación, played by Luis Felipe Pennett