Department: Musicología

Faculty: Geografía e Historia

Centre/Institute: Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (ICCMU)

Area: Music

Research group: Música antigua

Research group: Seminario de estudios teatrales


Personal web:

Álvaro Torrente studied Piano, Music Theory and Composition in conservatories of Salamanca and Madrid, and holds a Diploma in Piano from the Conservatorio Profesional de Salamanca, as well as a Diploma in Education (1986) and a degree in Musicology (1993) from the Univ. de Salamanca. He obtained his PhD at the Univ. of Cambridge (1997), under the supervision of Prof T. Knighton, with a dissertation on The Sacred Villancico in Eighteenth-Century Spain. After being appointed Research Fellow at Royal Holloway (1997–1998) and Professor of Musicology at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Salamanca (1998–2000), he joined the Univ. Complutense de Madrid (1999), where he occupied several positions until becoming Full Professor in Musicology in 2020. He has extensively taught on Baroque Music, Musical Theatre, Italian Music and History of Musical Thought, at both the Dept. of Musicology and the Faculty of Philology. In 2014 he was appointed Director of the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (ICCMU), where his main responsibilities include directing the series of music monographs and editions, the journal Cuadernos de Música Iberomaericana, and the Master in Arts Administration. He is also Principal Investigator of several research projects with a strong outreach dimension, in collaboration with the main cultural institutions in Spain: Teatro Real, Teatro de la Zarzuela, OCNE, Museo del Prado and Real Academia Española. Torrente has a distinct international profile. He has been Visiting Scholar at New York Univ. (1999) and Yale Univ. (2009), and in 2007–2017 he was elected Director-at-Large of the International Musicological Society. He has been guest lecturer in 18 universities in 6 countries, including Cambridge, Yale, Princeton, Bologna, Toulouse and Regensburg, and is member of the editorial boards of academic journals published in USA, Chile, UK and Switzerland. Torrente’s research and publications focus on the sacred villancico and on Italian opera of the 17th and 18th centuries. He edited with E. Casares La ópera en España e Hispanoamérica (ICCMU, 2001), and with T. Knighton Devotional music in the Iberian World: the villancico and related genres (1450–1800) (Ashgate, 2007), which received the Stevenson Award of the American Musicological Society in 2008. He is the main editor of the Catálogo Descriptivo de Pliegos de Villancicos (Reichenberger), focusing on the study of villancico chap-books (3 vols., 2000, 2007, 2021). He is Associate Editor of The Operas of Francesco Cavalli (Bärenreiter Verlag), and his editions of the operas by F. Cavalli La Calisto and L’Ercole Amante and A. Cesti’s Orontea have been performed in major theatres in Munich, London, Amsterdam, Innsbruck, Basel, Frankfurt and Madrid. His most recent book is La música en el siglo XVII (2016), included in the series Historia de la Música en España a Hispanoamérica published by Fondo de Cultural Económica (Madrid & Mexico). He is currently co-editor (with W. Clark and A. Llorens) of the forthcoming The Cambridge History of Music and Spain. Torrente currently is Principal Investigator of the Didone: The Sources of Absolute Music: Mapping Emotions in Eighteenth-Century Italian Opera, awarded with an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (€2,500,000). With a team of 26 members, Didone combines methodologies of historical musicology, music analysis and data science to identify the musical strategies used by opera composers to express emotions.