Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Daniel Catán


A musical score from the Daniel Catán papers.

The papers of acclaimed Mexican composer Daniel Catán (1949–2011) are available for research at the Harry Ransom Center. A finding aid for the collection is available online.

Born in Mexico City on April 3, 1949, Daniel Catán was known principally as a composer of operas, though he also composed chamber works, orchestral and vocal pieces, and other works. His opera La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini's Daughter), based on an adaptation by Octavio Paz of Nathaniel Hawthorne's story, premiered in 1991 in Mexico City. His next opera, Florencia en el Amazonas, loosely inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, was commissioned jointly by Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Seattle Opera and premiered in Houston in 1996 to critical and popular acclaim. Houston also premiered Salsipuedes: A Tale of Love, War, and Anchovies in 2004. Catán followed this work with the highly successful Il postino, based on the 1994 film directed by Michael Radford.

Catán died on April 8, 2011, in Austin, Texas, where he was serving as composer in residence at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. At the time of his death, he was working on a commission from the University to write a new opera based on the 1941 Frank Capra film, Meet John Doe.

The Daniel Catán papers cover the entirety of Catán's professional career and include musical scores, manuscripts, sheet music, scrapbooks, photographs, awards, audio and video files, and other materials.

A bilingual catalog of Daniel Catán's works was compiled by his widow, Andrea Puente Catán, and editor Leonora Saavedra.