Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Sara Ernst


Luis Abraham Delgadillo (1884–1961) is one of the most representative Nicaraguan musicians from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Works such as his Sinfonía Indígena (Indigenous Symphony), Suite Teotihuacán (Teotihuacán Suite), and Sinfonía Incaica(Incaic Symphony) positioned him as one of the most important composers and pianists from Latin America. He had great success during his career as a composer and toured North America and South America extensively during the 1930s and 1940s. During these visits, he had many of his works performed, and met other influential composers and musicians such as Carlos Chavez, Amadeo Roldán, Aaron Copland, Arthur Rubinstein, Enrique Soro, Roque Cordero, and Leo Brouwer.

This document provides a complete overview of Luis Abraham Delgadillo’s life, and an analysis of a selection of his piano music, including discussion of style and pedagogical leveling. Through this document pianists and teachers can obtain information on the technical challenges and pedagogical considerations in the selected piano works— preludes, nocturnes, and the sonata—to increase the accessibility to his repertoire. The selected preludes (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 15, and 23) and nocturnes (Nos. 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12) are discussed in Chapter 3 in ascending order of difficulty, and this chapter concludes with an analysis of Sonata Fantástica in the order of the movements.

The first chapter includes an introduction, need for the study, a biographical sketch and notable achievements, purpose of the study, limitations, review of the literature, access to the sources, and methodology. The second chapter includes an in-depth biographical account of Luis Abraham Delgadillo’s life, placing emphasis on his musical career and the events that shaped him as a composer, as well as his musical influences. The third chapter presents a summary of his catalog, as well as his most important achievements. The fourth chapter of the document includes a pedagogical leveling and teaching discussion of the piano repertoire and include an in-depth analysis and excerpts from representative pieces, both published and unpublished. The fifth and final chapter of the document includes the conclusions of the research and final notes regarding the selected piano works.

To provide a more complete context of the topic to the reader, this document has four important appendixes. Appendix A includes the selected piano works with level of difficulty, and Appendix B is a list of his complete works. Appendix C is a transcript of the interview (in Spanish and English) with Luis Delgadillo Tapia, Luis Abraham Delgadillo’s grandson. Appendix D contains the Nicaraguan National Archive Authorization Letter for the use of the manuscripts.