Composer and orchestra director Ángel Mahler has been announced as the new culture minister of the City of Buenos Aires. His appointment comes less than two weeks after the resignation of his predecessor, Darío Lopérfido, who faced extreme controversy and backlash for his January remarks regarding people disappeared during the last military dictatorship.
Mahler is a prolific figure in modern Argentine musical theater. He has composed a number of musical scores for shows such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula The Musical and Calígula to name a few. He has also made several contributions to classical music as well as film and television.
Several other names were also tossed into the discussion of possible successors, including audiovisual entrepreneur Gustavo Yankelevich, film director Juan José Campanella, acting secretary of culture and creativity Enrique Avogadro and national scientific and technical research council researcher Gonzalo Aguilar.
Mahler’s appointment marks a new chapter following months of adversity surrounding Lopérido’s comments during a press conference that the figure of 30,000 that has come to represent the number of people who went missing during the Dictatorship was greatly inflated from an actual figure of 8,000. He said he based this assumption on a figure from Graciela Fernández Meijide’s 2009 book, An Intimate History of Human Rights in Argentina. Fernández Meijide has since dismissed his remarks as having been a misinterpretation of her report; the figure 8,000 represents the number of official cases but does not come near to representing the cases that were undocumented.
According to Clarín, government officials wanted to appoint a new minister who would be viewed favorably by the public, leading them to elect Mahler.