José Antonio Bottiroli

Composer, poet and educator, José Antonio Bottiroli was born on 1 January 1920, in the city of Rosario, Argentina; although his ancestry places him squarely in northern Italy.  His mother, Rosa Elena Bertora, was a daughter of Genoese immigrants, while his father, Carlos Hermenegildo Antonio Bottiroli, was the son of Lombards from Pavia.

Bottiroli's home: Remonda Monserrat Palace, Rosario, Argentina

Through his paternal grandmother, María Ottone Ratti, he was related to one of the most important personalities in the history of modern Italy, as she was a cousin of Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti(1857-1939), future Pope Pius XI (1922-1939), creator of the independent and sovereign Vatican City State and remembered for his encyclicals in defense of religious liberty, human rights and the rejection of Nazi ideology.   

Because of a health problem he suffered in his childhood, his family began to reside alternatively between the booming city of Rosario and the serenity of Los Cocos, in the hills of Cordoba.  It was in Los Cocos, during his stays at the Central Los Cocos Inn, that he had his first encounters with important Argentinean artists of his time, to name a few: poetesses Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938) and Emilia Bertolé (1898-1949), playwright Arturo Capdevila (1889-1967) and the artists Italo Argentino Botti (1889-1974) and Alfredo Guido (1892-1967).  

With his recovery his parents built in Los Cocos their own residence, which they called Villa Piruchín, the nickname given to José Antonio as a child which derived from “piru I”, thin child, in the native Guaraní language.  Villa Piruchín became to José Antonio what Villa Ainola was to Jean Sibelius, a shelter of inspiration far from the bustle of the large city.  

Women’s Vocal Sextet Lorele

His mentors were José de Nito (1887-1945), the great pioneer of classical music in the city of Rosario and José Francisco Berrini (1897-1963), who was his professor of harmony and counterpoint at the Conservatory Juan María Gutiérrez of the University of the Littoral from which he graduated in 1948 receiving the Rotary Club Award for best music student.  Composer Alfredo Nicolás Alessio (1919-1985) was a decisive figure in his musical development and a future artistic collaborator.  

Immediately after his graduation, he launched his career as the director of the Women’s Vocal Sextet “Juan Maria Gutiérrez,” later the Women’s Vocal Sextet Lorelei, with which he performed in the most important concert halls of Argentina.  In this musical ensemble Bottiroli met his future wife, Berta Mariana Rubeša.  The couple married in December 1951, and two years later, Marcela, their only child, was born.  

Berta Mariana Rubeša Bottiroli

The fifties found José Antonio Bottiroli among the most promising conductors from Rosario for which he was trusted with two first performances: the world premiere of the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra by Nicolás Alfredo Alessio and the first performance in the Americas of the Festive Mass Opus 154 by Alexander Gretchaninoff, both at the El Círculo Theater with the Symphony Orchestra of Rosario.  

As a composer, Bottiroli began to emerge with the creation of patriotic songs, such as the only one dedicated to the General Manuel BelgranoBelgrano – March Song B-7, which it was followed by the Song School Crisol B-15, the award winning composition at the 1962 Crisol Composition Contest, and in the following year, the Hymn for the Saint Antonio Maria Gianelli School B-19.  

Bottiroli as Director the of College of Teachers No. 3 of Rosario.  Circa 1967.

In 1970 the Hispanic Cultural Institute gave Bottiroli a scholarship to study in Europe, first in Madrid and Barcelona, and then in Rome where two of his chamber music compositions were premiered: Trio for Wind Instruments B-20 and String Quartet B-26.  In 1985 he received a standing ovation from the public of Rosario after the successful premier of his Symphonic Poem Ulysses B-73 by the Symphonic Orchestra of Rosario under the direction of Juan Carlos Zorzi (1936-1999).  

José Antonio Bottiroli was the Director of the School of Teachers No. 3 of Rosario; additionally he taught music at the National College of Commerce General Belgrano, at the National College No. 1, at Sacred Heart College and for the inmates at Rosario’s penitentiary.  

Bottiroli's manuscripts after their compilation and conservation. 2011

He left an artistic output comprising of 115 compositions: 73 for piano,  23 chamber music works, 8 works for choir and 12 symphonic works.  In addition to his musical works, he wrote 77 poems.  His integral works, both musical and poetic, were cataloged and compiled in 2011 by Fabio Banegas.  

José Antonio Bottiroli died in Rosario, Argentina on March 15, 1990 at the age of 70.  In 2015, by decree from the Legislature of Rosario City, José Antonio Bottiroli was declared Distinguished Musician Post Mortem of the City of Rosario "in recognition of his outstanding career as a composer and conductor of classical music, his contribution to the cultural and artistic heritage, and his advancement of  the national identity.