He was a pupil of Virgínio Dias, Ernani Braga, Sá Pereira and Lamberto Baldi. He taught at the Dramatic and Musical Conservatory of São Paulo and, in 1928, met Mário de Andrade, who exerted a great influence on his development. At the beginning of his career he played the piano in music stores and at the Cine-Teatro Recreio, in São Paulo. He studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, in 1952, performed the opera Pedro Malazarte for the first time at the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro. Many of his works received awards in the United States. He was an unshaken representative of the nationalistic movement, which involved him in many aesthetic discussions with the defenders of dodecaphonism.