eXchange: Latin America

American composer MIGUEL dEL AGUILA was born in 1957 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Aguila is the recipient of numerous composition awards including the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. He moved to the US in 1978, received his BA from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and traveled to Vienna to further musical studies. After ten years there working as composer, pianist, conductor and teacher he returned in 1992 to live in Southern California where he has been music director of Ojai Camerata since 1996. His catalog of over 70 compositions includes works for almost all genres. His solo and chamber works are regularly performed worldwide by first rate soloists and chamber ensembles. Aguila's orchestral works have been commissioned/performed by Symphonies such as Welsh BBC Symphony, Odessa Philharmonic, Budapest Youth Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Tucson, Santa Barbara, San Antonio Symphonies, and by several university orchestras in the US and abroad.

"Being born in Uruguay, I was exposed to Latin American folklore since early childhood. Reminiscences of all this music can be heard in most of my works, often combined with nostalgia and sometimes with obsessively strong emotions. Like many of us who were forced to emigrate, my relationship with the country I left 21 years ago is ambivalent. Uruguay exists only in my memories, it's the place of my youth, and my past and in this way it's an important part of my music."

Pacific Serenade (1998)
�Pacific Serenade is a set of 'peaceful serenades' as in romantic, improvised music which is sung at night under the stars. The main 'singer' here is the clarinet. In general the music is extremely quiet, delicate, sensuous and sentimental. The first movement introduces the mood and sets the stage where the serenade will take place. The second movement (rich in Blues' idioms) is of a sensuous and intimate nature. The third movement (missing in this recording), uses nostalgic melodic inflections in the style of Brazilian folk song. Pacific Serenade is my opus 59 and it was commissioned by, and dedicated to the Pacific Serenades Ensemble. The ensemble's name inspired the title and mood. In this age of boom boxes, media bombardment of information and pop culture becoming increasingly aggressive, boisterous and violent, I feel the need to write just the opposite."

MILTON ESTEVEZ was born in 1947 in Ecuador. He received degrees from the National Conservatory of Music, Quito, the Central University of Ecuador, the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, the Universit� de Paris I, Panth�on-Sorbonne. He also attended several analysis seminars including the Conservatoire National Sup�rieur se Musique de Paris, electroacoustics and computer music at the Centre Europ�en pour la Recherche Musicale of Metz.

Between 1985 and 1994, Est�vez founded and directed the
Ecuadorean Festival of Contemporary Music and the series Music of our Times. After spending three years as visiting composer-in-residence at the University of Louisville, he is currently composer-in-residence at Spalding University. His latest commissions came from the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam and the Institute for New Music of Freiburg, and the Ensemble Aventure. "Guitarra... Guitarra...", his work for classical voiced-guitar, received the First Mention in the International Composition Contest Rodrigo Riera, 1997.
Cantos vivos y cantos rodados (1996-97)
"I do not refrain myself of drawing from my Ecuadorian and Latin American heritage, actually central to my work, either through intuition, deep memory, or organized approach. I do not reject the European savant background that came through the conservatory, or computer technology either. All of these are ingredients-in-progress of what will eventually become my personal pallet."

"In Spanish, cantos vivos y cantos rodados are polysemous expressions. Canto, for instance, might stand for song, but also for stone-edge. If stone, then the canto may be vivo �sharp and unpolished, rough, and just cut from its quarry; or it may be rodado�polished, sanded, or eroded, softened, and transformed through the ages, by water or another cause of erosion. But rodado stones, despite such mutations, have not lost their essentials. They are always stones, only under a new appearance, sometimes more seductive than the original. This image transposed to music covers previous approaches (Cantos rodados, Guitarra...guitarra..., ...) to particular instrumental colors which, regardless of being less familiar, are characteristic of each explored instrument. The 'traffic' of materials does not stop on instrumental color. It overlaps to an interactive game of musical atmospheres, contents of gestures, sometimes real, sometimes virtual, sometimes ambiguous, as in some fictional relationships between notation and acoustical result. Over this fundamental notion, the work develops a new encounter with the subject of dissimilar sound-ancestors, an old concern in constant, steady (although slow) progress: in this case, the native music and sound atmosphere of Ecuador, the European heritage, and some available MIDI materials."

Born in Mexico City in 1964, CARLOS SANCHEZ-GUTIERREZ grew up in Guadalajara. He studied piano at the University of Guadalajara and Composition in the U.S. under Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick, and at Tanglewood with Henri Dutilleux. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton and currently teaches at San Francisco State. Among his numerous awards and honors are fellowships from the
J. Simon Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, as well as from the Fulbright Commission. His catalogue includes works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, theatre, dance, and film. Recent commissions include those from ASCAP, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, the U.S./Mexico Fund for Culture, and the Barlow Endowment.
Calacas y Palomas (1990)
"Calacas y Palomas ("Skulls and Doves") is a phrase that is ritually repeated by Mexican children playing marbles. I began writing this piece shortly after the birth of my daughter, and childhood memories kept inundating my mind. One idea was of glass-hitting-glass-hitting-glass�a sort of endless overtone chain-reaction which hasn't left my mind since the very moment I thought about it.�

"This is a work about resonance, musical continuity, and percussiveness. It is a sort of play where we do not see the object, only its shadow, and we do not hear the sound, only its overtone. It is dedicated to my wife Josefina and to my daughter Mar�a."

Born in 1962, in Guadalajara, M�xico,
RICARDO ZOHN-MULDOON received his B.A. in Music from the University of California, San Diego, and his M.A. and a Ph.D. in Composition from the University of Pennsylvania, where his principal teacher was George Crumb.

His music has been selected for various international festivals, such as the Guadeamus International Music Week, Festival International Cervantino, and the ISCM World Music Days, and sponsored by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Tanglewood Music Center (Omar del Carlo Fellowship), M�xico's Mozart Medal, and Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (M�xico), among others. From 1993 to 1995, he taught at the School of Music of the University of Guanajuato, in M�xico. In January of 1997, he joined the faculty of the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, as Assistant Professor of Composition.

P�ramo (1999)
"Although I have spent many years away from M�xico, I feel that my music is strongly connected to Mexican culture. This Mexican ethos in my work originates specifically from literary sources. The atmosphere, imagery, colors, and structure of the text incide on all levels of my creative process, and have an enormous influence in the shaping of my musical language.�

"In recent years, I have undertaken the composition of a cycle of vocal and instrumental works based on the novel Pedro P�ramo, by the great Mexican writer Juan Rulfo. Pedro P�ramo, is one of the most revered works in Latin American literature, and has been praised by Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez as "...the most beautiful novel that has ever been written since the birth of literature in the Spanish language.�

"The novel is set against the backdrop of rural life in M�xico, in the imaginary little village of Comala (a place so hot that "..when people die and go to hell, they have to return for their blankets.."). The story is recounted, in condensed narrative capsules of rare poetic beauty, by the spirits and murmurs of the now deserted Comala, long after all the principal characters are dead. The complex and multidimensional narration revolves around Pedro P�ramo's implacable and frustrated love for Susana, which ultimately brings death and ruin to the entire village.�

"P�ramo written at the request of the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, was conceived as the instrumental overture to the entire cycle. The sound world of the piece is closely inspired by the peculiar unfolding of the novel, in which the orderly flux of time has been derailed, and where the borders between past and present, life and afterlife, have become porous. The piece frenziedly ticks, tolls, and cuckoos, like a deranged musical clock."

Born in 1954 in Havana, Cuba, composer ORLANDO JACINTO GARC�A has distinguished himself nationally and internationally as a composer, educator, and new music advocate. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, he is a two time Fulbright Artist/Lecturer with residencies in Venezuela and Spain. Additional recognition has come from the Rockefeller Foundation as well as several other foundations and cultural institutions in the US and abroad. A former student of Morton Feldman's, Garc�a's music has been performed in most of the major capitols of the world by numerous distinguished soloists, ensembles, and orchestras. Garcia has over 80 works in his catalog, and several recordings are released on various labels. The founder and director of several international festivals including the New Music Miami Festival and the Music of the Americas Festival, Garc�a is Professor of Music and currently the director of Composition Programs and the Graduate Program for the School of Music at Florida International University in Miami.

"The question of what constitutes Latin American music and more specifically what makes my music Latin American, is something that occasionally comes up when I am discussing my work. I often respond with the questions, what makes French music French or German music German or perhaps even better American (i.e. US) music American. How about Stravinsky? Is his music Russian, French, or American? In fact the answer to any of these questions is at best extremely complex and probably unanswerable, especially when you consider the number of aspects that you are dealing with when trying to catalog or codify something as rich and often as abstract as art music. This is even more difficult to do today since composers have access to all kinds of music from just about every corner of the world and are producing a music with a multitude of references and aesthetic directions, sometimes within just one work. Given that in my music I am consciously trying to reduce the references outside of the work itself, any literal connections to my cultural heritage are hidden in varying degrees within the abstract world that I am trying to create. If the fact that I was born in Cuba and raised by Cuban parents in the US, makes my work Latin American so be it. Do I eat Cuban food, speak Spanish fluently, listen to the popular and classical music of my country? Yes. Is my music Latin American? I leave this for others to decide."

"I completed el sonido dulce de tu voz (The Sweet Sound of Your Voice) in the summer of 1991. The work was written for the Florida International University Concert Choir and their director, John Augenblick, who premiered the work at the regional conference of the American Choral Directors Association in the spring of 1992. The work features proportional notation in which pitches are specified but entrances and exits are made in proportion to the placement of the notes in each system of music. Each system can last from 30' to 1' depending upon the conductor so different versions of the work are possible. Performances of the piece are usually realized with the choir surrounding the audience.�

"The work is dedicated to my wife Catherine and in some ways can be understood as an abstract love song. The text (written by me) alludes to someone returning in the evening to hear the sweet soft voice of their lover. Although there are no direct references to the music of my country of origin, my concern with color and the sound of my native language are always foremost in my music. As with much of my work, the piece is quiet and delicate. In addition, the counterpoint between register, timbre, density, and pacing as well as the slow evolution of materials are primary aesthetic concerns."

Text and translation by Orlando Jacinto Garc�a:

regresare en la noche al oir el sonido dulce de tu voz suave

I will return in the night upon hearing the sweet sound of your soft voice

AWILDA VILLARINI was born in Puerto Rico. Villarini has made New York City her home for the past fifteen years. She has gained increasing international attention for her unique synthesis of Hispanic and European musical traditions. Educated at The Juilliard School of Music and New York University (where she received a Ph.D. in piano performance)in New York, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, Dr. Villarini has created work for piano, voice, chamber music and orchestra. While residing in New York City she has taught at N.Y.U. and C.U.N.Y. Villarini has performed to critical acclaim in Europe, the United States and Latin America. International honors include awards from Artists International and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Louis Vogelstein Foundation. Her work has been performed at the American Composers' Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, at the Brahms Saal in Vienna, and other international musical venues.

Preludes (1985)
"Being born and raised in Puerto Rico, Latin American music became part of my musical language from an early age. In some of my works, folk material and rhythms are used overtly and deliberately. In another compositions, such as these three Preludes, this influence is expressed intuitively as part of my musical persona.�

"To be a Latin American composer living in the United States means to me being open to new musical currents, while at the same time embracing and honoring my Latin American heritage. Especially in this new millennium, where different cultures are closer than ever to each other, I believe I can be Puerto Rican and Latin American without losing awareness of our global musical history.�

"I composed these Preludes when I was asked to give a recital of my compositions at the Greenwich House of Music in New York City. Recently, I edited the original score, named the preludes and dedicated the work to my former piano teacher, German Diez. The names of the Preludes are: Dramatic Dreams, In and Out and Wild Clusters. In these short pieces, I wander through different emotional states conveying contrasting emotions. To accomplish this, I use the whole range of the instrument, creating different timbres by playing inside the piano and employing a wide variety of accents, dynamics and pedaling."

CARLOS R. CARRILLO was born 1968 in Puerto Rico. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. He is currently pursuing a Ph. D. at the University of Pennsylvania. His teachers have included Tania Le�n, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse, Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Roberto Sierra, George Crumb and Steve Mackey. Mr. Carrillo is the recipient of numerous awards including the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI and ASCAP awards. He has been commissioned by Music at the Anthology for the Da Capo Chamber Players, the New York Youth Symphony, and Concert Artists Guild. His music has been performed at the American Composer Orchestra Sonidos de las Americas Festival and Casals Festival. In 1998 he received one of the first Aaron Copland Awards from the Copland Heritage Association. Mr. Carrillo lives in Philadelphia with his wife Kirsten and their three children.

Como si fuera la primavera (1996)
"The title Como si fuera la primavera ("As if this were spring") is taken from the Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen's poem Canci�n. The poem speaks of expectations, and expectations were very present when I wrote this composition. If there are expectations that music written by a Latin man would be "sizzling hot", then the quietness of this piece clearly and purposefully contrast with those expectations!�

"Como si fuera la primavera was commissioned in 1995 by Concert Artists Guild for clarinetist Anna Maria Baeza and composed in the spring of 1996."

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1957, JORGE LIDERMAN begun his musical studies at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, under Mark Kopitman. In 1988 he obtained his doctorate in composition from the University of Chicago where he worked with Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran. In 1989, Liderman joined the composition faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. His works have been commissioned and performed by leading organizations such as the London Sinfonietta, the American Composers Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Tanglewood Orchestra, Radio France, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Arditti String Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Boston Musica Viva , and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, as well as by individual artists like Oliver Knussen, Esa Pekka Salonen, David Tanenbaum, and Gloria Cheng. Liderman's music has also been featured at Darmstadt, Nuova Consonanza, Stuttgart's Neue Musik, and Holland's Proms among others. His opera Antigona Furiosa, commissioned by Hans Werner Henze, won the BMW International Music Theater Prize, in conjunction with the 1992 3rd Munich Biennale.

Notebook (1993)
"Like many of my other works, Notebook is based on preexisting musical materials. Specifically, it takes as its point of departure Moroccan Jewish wedding songs.

"Notebook is divided into ten short contrasting pieces played without pause: 1.Con brio; 2. Meccanico; 3. Solenne; 4. Energico; 5. Ranquilo; 6. Con moto; 7. Leggiero; 8. Senza misura; 9. Lontano; 10.Vivace. Each miniature is characterized by a single compositional idea, which frames the various musical elements. In pieces I, III, and X, the Moroccan sources are quoted almost literally, while in the other pieces the sources are revealed in a more fragmented manner.�

"Notebook was commissioned by the Divertimento Ensemble of Milan, for their 1993 North American tour."

CARLOS DELGADO was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961. In 1965, his family moved to Venezuela, where he grew up and received early musical training. He has lived and worked in the United States since 1981. He holds a BA in Music from Berkelee College of Music and an M.A. in composition from New York University, where he is a doctoral candidate. His music has been heard throughout the United States, Argentina, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, and Venezuela, and is available on the Capstone Records label. He has also worked as a jazz pianist, arranger, and composer of soundtracks for radio, video, and independent film. Mr. Delgado is the recipient of the New York University Composition Awards, the NYU Award for Outstanding Doctoral Achievement, and the Society of Composers Inc.'s 1997 SCI Compact Disc Series Award. He teaches at New York University and Bergen Community College.
�Working in the United States has provided me with the opportunity to find my voice as a composer in a modern multi ethnic society that encourages individual expression, and that has developed strong cultural traditions designed to defend the rights of those who are different, or think differently. This has allowed me to grow and develop in an environment that is more consonant with my own sense of the artist's responsibility to challenge those modes of thought that are passed on by the prevailing culture. In this milieu, the cultural knowledge I acquired in Latin America is but one element among many, simultaneously as true and as alien as the many others that contribute to my work.�

Polemics (1997)
"I wrote Polemics in the spring of 1997 for pianist Max Midroit. It is in the form of an introduction and two contentious polemical encounters between the piano and the electronics, separated by a piano interlude of a more contemplative nature. It consists of a multilevel exchange among various aspects of the acoustic characteristics of the piano (such as the properties of sustained tones) with their electronic counterparts on the tape. Throughout, the piano and tape parts operate in several different ways. Sometimes they act as complementary elements that together form a unified musical gesture. In other places they take turns in dialogue. At still times they behave autonomously and in an overtly antagonistic manners.�

"The tape part was created through subtractive synthesis of waveforms taken from the components of the piano sound itself. These waveforms include those of the hammer striking the strings at different registers, which were used to build the non-pitched sounds. The pitched sounds were constructed from the waveforms of the attack, decay, and sustain portions of piano tones at different dynamic levels. Several segments of the second encounter between the piano and electronics were created by taking passages which occur earlier in the piece and shortening their duration by a high percentage (80% and above). As the computer performs these passages at a very high speed, they are transformed into completely new events. These recycled ideas are then coupled with the piano part to produce complete, interlocked phases."

MIGUEL CHUAQUI was born 1964 in Santiago, Chile. He started composing at the age of 11, when he began formal studies in music at the Escuela Moderna de M�sica. After a year at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, he transferred in 1984 to the University of California at Berkeley, graduated with a B.A. in Music and Mathematics, and went on to pursue graduate studies in composition under the guidance of Mr. Andrew Imbrie. He received his Ph.D. in 1994, and is currently on the faculty of the University of Utah. His awards include the Eisner Prize, a Nicola de Lorenzo Award, and an Ives Scholrship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His piece Juego is recorded on Albany Records, Octagon (vol. 1), and his music has been performed by ensembles such as Earplay, Empyrean Ensemble, Octagon, Speculum Musicae, New York's Riverside Symphony, and the Chilean ensembles Bartok and ANCC (Asociaci�n Nacional de Compositores de Chile).

"I grew up during the 70s and early 80s, a time of political upheaval and economic distress in Chile, and this has probably exerted as strong an influence on my musical outlook as any other aspect of Chilean culture. While I distrust 'political art,' I do have an abiding desire for my music to somehow directly address the needs of the community. The tension between my uncompromisingly populist point of view and my personal need to create music that is clever and original, shapes my musical language. In Casi Cueca, for example, intricate contrapuntal, chromatic, pitch-class, and proportion games are used to create a tuneful, rhythmic, quasi-diatonic, and formally straightforward surface.�

Casi Cueca, (1997)
"Casi Cueca, literally, 'Almost a Cueca,' takes its name from the Cueca, a traditional Chilean dance in six-eight time with sporadic measures of three-four time, and phrases that often begin with a quick upbeat gesture. These elements can be clearly heard in the opening refrain of the piece. The verse/chorus form of the Cueca becomes, in the first half of Casi Cueca, an irregular succession of alternating episodes, including loud hocket double-stop interruptions, which are intended to evoke wild guitar strumming. The second half consists of a slow, lyrical section which gradually becomes more active and leads to a return of the opening refrain, interrupted by the music that led up to it. Thus overall form is, simply, a large rounded binary form."