Henrique Oswald (1852-1931), a prolific composer of chamber music, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His father was a Swiss-German immigrant and his mother from Italy. The family name was changed from "Oschwald" due to concerns of discrimination. In 1854 the Oswald family moved to São Paulo. His mother taught music privately to aristocrats and by age twelve he had his first recital. In São Paulo, he also studied with Gabriel Guiraudon. His "farewell recital" occurred at age 16, after this he went to study in Europe. He spent several years in Florence. In 1902 he won a piano composition competition sponsored by Le Figaro with the piece Il neige!... He then left his family in Europe (they moved to Brazil much later) and from 1903 to 1906 he directed the Instituto Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro. He also served as Brazilian consul in both The Hague and Genoa.