Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet and dramatist. His text has been set by numerous American composers, including William Bolcom, Paul Bowles, and George Crumb.

Federico García Lorca al piano. Granada. 1919. Colección Fundación Federico García Lorca, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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The prominent 20th-century poet and playwright Federico García Lorca was born in a small town near Granada, Spain. He studied law before moving to Madrid to focus on his writing in 1919. Before his move to Madrid, his first book of poems, Impresiones y Viajes, was published. While in Madrid, he joined ‘Generación del 27’ (Generation of ’27), a group of avant-garde artists which introduced Lorca to surrealism.

Lorca’s poetry typically incorporates elements of Spanish Folklore, Roma culture, and flamenco. His poetry collection Romancero Gitano was published in 1928, and brought Lorca into the limelight.

In 1929, Lorca traveled to New York City and found a connection between Spanish deep song (cante jondo, the most serious of the flamenco song) a and African American spirituals. During his stay, he wrote the poetry collection Poet in New York, in which the tone of his poetry shifted where his sense of morality and a tone of disgust emerged. After his return to Spain the following year, he traveled with La Barraca, a theater company he co-founded, which performed his own plays as well as other Spanish classics.

Lorca was open about his homosexuality and leftist views, despite fascism growing in Spain. It is believed that, because of these attributes, Lorca was arrested and later assassinated by fascist forces in 1936.

Many American musicians have been and continue to be inspired by Lorca and his works.

— Ava Chupp

This profile was created during the 2023-2024 academic year as part of the Song of America Fellowship Program, a project of the Classic Song Research Initiative between the Hampsong Foundation and the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.


“García Lorca, Federico.” Who’s Who in the Twentieth Century. Ed. Market House Books: Oxford University Press, 2003. Oxford Reference.  <https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780192800916.001.0001/acref-9780192800916-e-647>.

Sage, Jack, and Álvaro Zaldívar. “García Lorca, federico.” Oxford Music Online, 20 Jan. 2001, https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.10648.

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