Chiquinha Gonzaga não estava a serviço da pátria, nem de humanidade, nem de um marido. Estava a serviço de si mesma, de suas vontades e desejos. Sò que isso não era permitido a uma mulher.
— Edinha Diniz 'Chiquinha Gonzaga- uma historia de vida'

Gonzaga was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1847. Her adventurous spirit and diverse ethnic background shaped Gonzaga into a pioneering composer, conductor, performer, teacher and writer. She had a deep understanding of the expansiveness of Brazilian music, and a familiarity with its many forms and native influences. Gonzaga intuitively grasped the ways that different cultures and classes within Brazilian society embraced sub-genres of Brazilian music. She brought all of these elements together in her own compositions.