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Juan Morel Campos

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Title: Juan Morel Campos  
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Juan Morel Campos

Juan Morel Campos
Juan Morel Campos, Founder of the Ponce Municipal Band
Background information
Born (1857-05-16)May 16, 1857
Origin Ponce, Puerto Rico
Died May 12, 1896
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Genres danza
Occupation(s) Composer, Director of the Ponce Municipal Band

Juan Morel Campos[note 1] (May 16, 1857 – May 12, 1896), sometimes erroneously spelled Juan Morell Campos, was a Puerto Rican composer, considered by many to be responsible for taking the genre of danza to its highest level. He composed over 550 musical works before he died unexpectedly at age 38.[1]


  • Early years 1
  • First composition 2
  • Selection of Danzas by Morel Campos 3
  • Later years 4
  • Legacy 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Morel Campos (birth name: Juan Nepomuceno Morel Campos[2]) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to Manuel Morel Araujo, from the Dominican Republic, and Juana de Dios Campos Collazo, from Venezuela.[3][4] He began to study music at the young age of eight in his hometown under the guidance of Antonio Egipciaco.[5] Morel Campos was a student of Puerto Rican composer and pianist Gonzalo de J. Nuñez (1850 - 1915[6]), whose students also included the internationally-known musicians and composers Manuel Gregorio Tavárez and Arístides Chavier Arévalo.[7] Morel Campos learned to play practically every brass instrument and eventually became one of the founders and directors of the "Ponce Firemen's Band" (La Banda de Bomberos del Parque de Bombas de Ponce). The legendary Band was later renamed the Ponce Municipal Band.

First composition

Later, Morel Campos became a student of the composer Manuel Gregorio Tavárez, "The Father of the Danza". Campos' first danza composition was called "Sopapos". The influence of Tavárez, plus the particular style developed by Morel Campos can be listened to in his music today.

Morel Campos had his own dance orchestra, "La Lira Ponceña." Most of his danzas were written for dancing. He modified his compositions so that they may also be played on piano. Morel Campos is best known for his danza compositions, but he also composed waltzes, operas, symphonies, marches and overtures.

Women and the theme of love inspired most of his musical compositions. His great love was a lady named Mercedes Arias, but her family did not approve of their relationship.[8] It was from that frustrated "love" that many of Morel Campos' beautiful danzas were born, "Maldito Amor" (Damned Love) is an example. Among his best-known compositions are "Felices Dias' (Happy Days), "No Me Toques" (Do Not Touch Me), "Idilio," and "Maldito Amor" (Damned Love).

Selection of Danzas by Morel Campos

External audio
You may listen to Luciano Quiñones piano interpretation of Morel Campos' "No me toques" here

The following is a list of some of Morel Campos' Danza's:[9]

  • Conversación (Conversation)
  • Felices Días (Happy Days)
  • Idilio (Idyll)
  • Maldito Amor (Damned Love)
  • No me Toques (Do Not Touch Me)
  • Sin ti jamás (Never without you)
  • Sí te Toco (Yes, I will touch you)
  • Sueño de Amor (Dream of love)
  • Ten Piedad (Have pity)
  • Tormento (Torment)
  • Un conflicto (A conflict)
  • Vano empeño (Trying in vain)

Domingo Cruz "Cocolia" became director of the Firefighters' Band upon the untimely death of Morel Campos.

Later years

Statue of Juan Morel Campos at Plaza Las Delicias in Ponce

Juan Morel Campos suffered a stroke on April 26, 1896 during a concert in Ponce. He died of the stroke soon thereafter on May 16, in Ponce. In December 1926, his remains were buried at the foot of his statue in Plaza Las Delicias.[10] His wife was Secundina Beltrán Collazo. Their children were Olimpia, Eugenia, Belén, Plácido and Manuel.[11]


See also


  1. ^


  1. ^ Revive a Morel la Peña Musical. Vangie Rivera. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  2. ^ Juan Morel Campos: un Beethoven boricua que antecedió a la salsa. Fundacion Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Accessed January 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "Juan Morel Campos", Puerto Rico Encyclopedia] Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  4. ^ "Repensar a Morel" by Federico A. Cordero. El Nuevo Dia: Revista Domingo. May 21, 2006. (Spanish) Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  5. ^ Musica de Puerto Rico
  6. ^ Music: up close and personal. Annie Laurie Cisneros. The Panama News: Panama's Online Newspaper. Vol. 9. Number 20. Oct. 19 - Nov. 8, 2003. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ CHAPTER I, ISLAND LIFE FROM 1898 TO 1922. Jose A. Montalvo. Hector Campos Parsi: The development of 20th Century Music in Puerto Rico. 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  8. ^ La Danza
  9. ^ Danzas
  10. ^ Travel Ponce.Juan Morel Campos Music Institute.
  11. ^ Fundacion Nacional Para la Cultura Popular. 18 May 2007.Juan Morel Campos: un Beethoven boricua que antecedió a la salsa
  12. ^ Juan Morel Campos Music Institute. Travel Ponce.
  13. ^ Music. Travel Retrieved 3 October 2013.

External links

  • Recordings Felices Días by Camerata Caribe
  • Instituto de Musica Juan Morel Campos
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