The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) not only resulted in a 36-year long authoritarian regime led by General Franco, but also in more than four hundred thousand Spaniards forced to leave their country because of their political ideas. Artists and intellectuals were prominently represented among these, and music was no exception: of the eight composers grouped in the avant-garde Grupo de los Ocho in Madrid, five left Spain, as did other musicians and critics in their environment, such as Jesús Bal y Gay, Adolfo Salazar and Óscar Esplá. Musical life in Catalonia was similarly affected, with composers Jaume Pahissa, Roberto Gerhard and Baltasar Samper, cellist Pau Casals and soprano Conxita Badía, among others, settling abroad. A multiplicity of orchestral, band and popular musicians – of whom often few traces have survived – left Spain as well.

Spanish Music in Exile draws upon cultural mapping and historical GIS methodologies originating from the Digital Humanities to bring together a collection of online maps that illustrate the journeys of these musicians and the complicated space they occupy within the history of Spain. Indeed, the maps illustrate how exiled musicians never completely lost their connection to cultural and artistic life in Spain, even though their music and even their names remain little known. It is the aim of this project to stimulate questions around the impact of the Civil War and the Republican Exile on Spanish music, and how this impact is still felt nowadays.