American Composers Orchestra

 

Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba

 


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Composers & Artists

There are biographies for many of the artists and composers represented in the festival. Click on the linked names to view.

American Composers Orchestra
ACO Chamber Players
María Matilde Alea-Fernández
María Alvarez Ríos
Calixto Alvarez
Héctor Angulo
Danilo Avilés
Robert Beaser
José Raúl Bernardo
Juan Blanco
Bronx Arts Ensemble
Leo Brouwer
Alejandro Caturla
Ignacio Cervantes
Dennis Russell Davies
Alfredo Diez Nieto
Paul Lustig Dunkel
Nohema Fernández
Orlando Jacinto García

Philip Glass
Michael Gordon
Harold Gramatges
Félix Guerrero
Harbor Conservatory Latin Big Band
Havana Ensemble
Herencia String Quartet
Huberal Herrera
Joan LaBarbara
Ernesto Lecuona
Argeliers León
Tania León
Oriente López
Guido López-Gavilán
Jorge López Marín
José Loyola Fernández
Edgardo Martín
Jorge Martín
Odaline de la Martínez

New York Festival of Song
Julian Orbón
Keyla María Orozco Alemán
La Patrulla Click
Ileana Pérez-Velázquez
Juan Piñera
Quintet of the Americas
Orlando Ríos and Nueva Generación
Paquitero D'Rivera
Marco Rizo
Nilo Rodriguez
Santiago Rodríguez
Gonzalo Roig
Doris Magaly Ruíz Lastres
Manuel Saumell
Thomas Tirino
Enrique Ubieta
Roberto Valera
Aurelio de la Vega
Melinda Wagner

 


American Composers Orchestra

The American Composers Orchestra is the nation's only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing symphonic works by American composers and to musical exchange between composers of the Americas. Through its concert series at Carnegie Hall, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, new music reading sessions, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers, champions established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases awareness of the infinite varieties of orchestral music of the Americas.

Founded by composer Francis Thorne and conductors Dennis Russell Davies and Paul Lustig Dunkel, the Orchestra held its inaugural concert in 1977. Davies, who served as principal conductor and music advisor for the orchestra's first 16 seasons, was named music director in 1991. In 1988, Robert Beaser was appointed composer-in-residence through the national Meet The Composer Orchestra Residencies Program, and in 1994, was named the Orchestra's artistic advisor. In 1991, Tania Léon was named Latin American music advisor.

In 1993, ACO extended its American mandate by including the music of Latin America. Sonidos de las Américas, a week-long festival devoted to a different Latin American country each year, introduces a rich body of repertoire and brings visiting delegations of Latin American composers and performers to New York.

A growing roster of distinguished guest artists has performed with ACO, among them conductor Leonard Slatkin and the late conductor Leonard Bernstein, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and pianists Frederic Rzewski and Emanuel Ax.

ACO's commissioning program has generated more American symphonic works than any other orchestra. Works by more than 380 American composers have been programmed, including over 100 world premieres, 89 of them commissions.

The annual Whitaker Reading Sessions provide emerging composers with the opportunity to hear their works played for the first time, and one composer each year receives a commission for an orchestra work to be performed during the Carnegie Hall subscription season. ACO also brings performances to children in New York City public schools through youth concerts in conjunction with the Carnegie Hall-produced children's program LinkUP!

ACO performances have been broadcast on American Public Radio, National Public Radio, and Voice of America. Recordings by ACO are available on Argo, CRI, ECM, Point, MusicMasters, New World Records, and Tzadik.

ACO Chamber Players

The American Composers Orchestra and its chamber ensemble are comprised exclusively of musicians with an affinity for and expertise in new music performance. When the Orchestra was formed, its members were drawn from New York's leading new music groups, including Speculum Musicae, the Group for Contemporary province of Las Villas, Cuba, in 1918. At the Music, and the American Brass Quintet. The extraordinary performance standard established by these musicians has played an indispensable role in the growing acceptance and appreciation of American music. ACO members are frequently heard in chamber music programs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

María Matilde Alea-Fernández

Composer María Matilde Alea-Fernández was born in the age of twenty she obtained a music degree from the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and later a doctorate in education from the university in that city. She has worked as a composer, pedagogue, and pianist. Presently she is a member of the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba.

In 1968 she founded and directed the Conservatorio Fernández Vila. In addition, she developed a successful performance career working in collaboration with acclaimed Cuban musician Ernesto Lecuona. Her large repertory pays particular attention to compositions with instructional value, such as her Miniaturas Rítmicas Cubanas. Alea-Fernández is the author of Práctica Musical, Piezas y Ejercicios, which is used as a textbook at the music department of the Instituto Superior Pedagógico E. J. Varona.

Alea-Fernández is the recipient of multiple decorations, diplomas, and distinctions. Her compositions are widely presented in concerts by soloists of the Ópera Nacional de Cuba, student recitals at Cuba's leading music institutions, national and international solo competitions, as well as broadcasts.

As a teacher she has been responsible for the musical development of many Cuban musicians, among them Jorge Luis Prats. Because of her work as research advisor for graduate studies, Alea-Fernández is recognized as one of the leading advocates of Cuban culture.

María Alvarez Ríos

Maria Alvarez RiosMaría Alvarez Ríos has been composing since she was five years old. She studied piano with Luisa Chartrand and composition with Enrique Bellver. She graduated with degrees in kindergarten teaching, music from the Universidad Jose Martí, and composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana. Among her professors were Harold Gramatges, Roberto Valera, José Loyola, and Alfredo Diez Nieto.

Alvarez Ríos has written a large repertoire of songs for the music curriculum of primary and secondary education for the Ministry of Education of Cuba. She directed the premiere of twenty-eight works for celebration of the Año del Centenario del Danzón (A Century of Danzón) and composed music for a ballet based on Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince.

She has composed music for Nicolás Guillén's book of poetry Por el mar de las Antillas anda un barco de papel. Her extensive repertoire for children was comprehensively presented for the first time by the groups Meñique and Joven Meñique, which she founded and presently conducts.

Alvarez Ríos's extensive music catalog includes works for theater, three musical comedies, the first known Cuban canons, pedagogic music for all levels of piano, songs with texts by poets Martí, Lorca, Byron, Shelley, Browning, Tagore, Ballagas, Mistral, and the composer's own.

Danilo Avilés

Born in Holguín, Cuba, in 1948, composer Danilo Avilés studied clarinet with professors Enrique Pardo, Juan Jorge Junco, and Fiodor Ananieski. He studied composition with Argeliers León, José Ardévol, and José Loyola at the Instituo Superior de Arte de La Habana.

Avilés has written numerous works for soprano and piano, clarinet, string quartet, and brass quintet, as well as music for children's television, choral works, and incidental music. He has received awards from symphonic and chamber music competitions in Cuba. Avilés's music has been performed in Mexico at the I Foro de Música Contemporánea and in the Soviet Union, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Spain, and the United States.

Avilés has participated as a guest of the Union of Polish Composers at the Warsaw Autumn Festival as well as the Spring Festival in Berlin, Germany. He has taught theory, composition, and chamber music for children at the Conservatorio Real de Madrid. Avilés resides in the United States, where he continues as a teacher and composer.

Robert Beaser

Composer Robert Beaser was born in 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts, and was educated at Yale University, where he studied literature and political philosophy. He is often cited as an important figure among the "new tonalists" and through a wide range of media has firmly established his own voice as a synthesis of Western tradition and American vernacular.

Beaser has received a number of major awards and commissions from orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony. His music has been performed frequently by such renowned artists as Renee Fleming, Dennis Russell Davies, Dawn Upshaw, Eliot Fisk, Leonard Slatkin, and David Zinman.

He is currently writing a one act opera, The Food of Love, which has been commissioned by the New York City Opera, Glimmerlgass Opera, and WNET/Great Performances, with a libretto by the playwright Terrence McNally, to be premiered in summer 1999.

Beaser's music has been recorded for Argo, New World, MusicMasters, and EMI-Electrola labels. He has been the recipient of a Grammy Award nomination for Best Classical Composition, the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships, and the Academy Award in music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He served as co-music director/conductor of the contemporary music group Musical Elements at the 92nd Street Y from 1978-1989. Currently, Beaser is chairman of the composition department at The Juilliard School of Music.

José Raúl Bernardo

Cuban-born composer José Raúl Bernardo came as a refugee to the United States in 1960. After working at a tomato plantation in Florida, Bernardo moved to New York City, eventually receiving a doctorate degree from Columbia University, where he also taught.

His music has won awards from the National Opera Institute, the American Music Center, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the United Nations, and has received enthusiastic audience applause as well as outstanding critical praise. The New York Times music critic John Rockwell praised Bernardo's Sonata for Percussive Piano, and European newspapers Mannheimer Morgen and Wiener Zeitung called Bernardo's first opera, The Child, "an operatic masterpiece." Musical America called Bernardo "a composer to watch with interest and hope."

Bernardo recently started a career in literature. His first novel, The Secret of the Bulls, published by Simon & Schuster, was named "One of the Best First Works of Fiction for 1997" by The Los Angeles Times, and has already been translated into seven languages, including Greek. Bernardo has received the Brodhurst Award in fiction, and his new novel, Silent Wing, also published by Simon & Schuster, appeared last July.

Juan Blanco

Born in Mariel, Cuba, in 1919, composer Juan Blanco is one of the pioneers of electroacoustic music in his country. He graduated from the Conservatorio Municipal de Música de La Habana with a degree in composition.

In 1961 Blanco began to work with electroacoustic techniques. To date he has produced more than 200 works, including compositions for symphonic orchestra and for diverse instrumental and choral groups, electroacoustic and computer music, multimedia, and music for dance, theater, and film. He has composed outdoor music for rural and urban areas which explore spatial aspects of sound, and indoor ambience music for public spaces, hospitals, and hotels.

His cycle of compositions called Estímulos para Sonar (Sound Stimuli) employ scores based on film animation, geometric shapes, and structural modules derived from chemical, acoustic, and electric phenomena.

Blanco is director of the Laboratorio Nacional de Música Electroacústica, president of the Federación Cubana de Música Electroacústica, and vice president of the Cuban division of the International Council of Music (UNESCO). He has been a frequent juror for the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music of Bourges, France. Blanco has been director for the Festivales Internacionales de Música Electroacústica Primavera in Varadero and Havana.

Bronx Arts Ensemble

The Bronx Arts Ensemble is acclaimed as the borough's most celebrated chamber and orchestral group. The ensemble presents concerts throughout New York City that are affordable and which reflect the diversity of its audiences. The BAE maintains a residency at Fordham University and performs frequently at such cultural institutions as Van Cortlandt House Museum, New York Botanical Garden, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, and Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture.

The ensemble has presented numerous world premieres of works by Roberto Sierra, Morton Gould, Max Lifchitz, Robert Baksa, Meyer Kupferman, and others. The BAE's series MusicAmericas presents both familiar and new music of the Americas.

The BAE can be heard in recordings on New World Records, Musical Heritage Society, Soundspells, and CRI. A recent CD of chamber works by Carlos Surinach was cited as a "Classical Music Pick of the Year," by The New York Observer.

William Scribner is the BAE's artistic director. Principal artistic personnel include John Wion, flute; Marsha Heller, oboe; Paul Gallo, clarinet; William Scribner, bassoon; Sharon Moe, horn; Lorraine Cohen-Moses, trumpet; Gerald Tarack and Browning Cramer, violins; Susan Follari, viola; Lutz Rath, cello; and Dean Crandell, bass.

Leo Brouwer

Composer, guitarist, and conductor Leo Brouwer was born in Havana, Cuba. He studied with Isaac Nicola and specialized in composition, completing his studies at The Juilliard School of Music and the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut.

Brouwer has conducted orchestras around the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish National Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Chamber Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Mexico.

His discography is comprised of over 100 commercial recordings, and his works have been recorded by John Williams, Julian Bream, Franz Bruggen, Harry Sparnay, as well as by musical organizations and ensembles such as the Toronto Festival, the BBC Chamber Orchestra, the Buffalo Quartet, and the Liège Festival, among others. In 1993, he composed the score for Alfonso Arau's internationally acclaimed, award-winning movie Like Water for Chocolate.

In 1987, Brouwer was selected, along with Isaac Stern and Alan Danielou, to become an honorable member of Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba in recognition of his music career. Brouwer also serves as general director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba, and since 1992, he has served as conductor of the Orquesta de Córdoba Spain, where he resides.

Dennis Russell Davies

Conductor and pianist Dennis Russell Davies co-founded the American Composers Orchestra in 1977 and is its music director. In addition to his North American orchestral guest conducting appearances, Davies has guest conducted some of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, and Gewandhaus Orchestra. He is chief conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and professor of orchestral conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum.

Highlights of Davies's 1998-99 season include guest appearances with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony. He conducted a new production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for the opening of The Salzburg Festival's season last summer, as well as concerts with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Davies went on to conduct the world premiere of Philip Glass's opera The White Raven, directed by Robert Wilson at Expo 98 in Lisbon.

Davies's prolific recordings, as conductor as well as pianist, number over fifty. His newest release, The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill on RCA Victor Red Seal, features singer Marianne Faithful with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. His most recent recordings with ACO include Heroes by Philip Glass, based on the original music by David Bowie and Brian Eno (Point Records); Roger Sessions's Symphonies Nos. 6, 7, and 9 (Argo); and works of Lou Harrison, Chinary Ung, and Colin McPhee (Argo).

Davies has had tenures as the general music director of the Stuttgart Opera and the City of Bonn (Germany), principal conductor and program director of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, principal conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, and music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Alfredo Diez Nieto

Born in 1918 in Havana, composer Alfredo Diez Nieto studied and earned his masters of music at the Conservatorio Iranzo. He took piano lessons with Rosario Iranzo and studied composition with Amadeo Roldán, Jaime Prats, and Pedro Sanjuan. In New York, at The Juilliard School of Music, Diez Nieto studied composition with Bernard Wagennar, piano with Edward Steuermann, and conducting with Fritz Mahler.

Diez Nieto began teaching in 1933 and was named director of the Conservatorio Alejandro García Caturla in 1959. From 1963 to 1965 he was director of the Escuela para Instuctores de Arte, and in 1965 he founded and conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica Popular, in addition to conducting the symphonic orchestras of the Escuela Nacional de Arte and Camagüey. He was sub-director of the Instituto Musical de Investigaciones Folklóricas from 1952 to 1988, and has been professor of harmony, counterpoint and fugue since 1976 at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana.

Paul Lustig Dunkel

Paul Lustig Dunkel is a co-founder of the American Composers Orchestra and is its resident conductor. A native of New York City, Dunkel has been music director and conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic since 1983. In 1992, he was appointed music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra.

Dunkel has conducted the New York City Ballet, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the Baltimore Symphony. In 1982 Dunkel was awarded the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award by the American Symphony Orchestra. In that same year, he was appointed music director of the White Plains Symphony Orchestra. He is also principal conductor of the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra.\

Dunkel has performed as flutist with orchestras and chamber ensembles in New York, including Speculum Musicae and the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, with whom he has participated in numerous premiere recordings, performances, and international tours. In 1966, Leopold Stokowski named him principal flute of the American Symphony Orchestra. He has been a soloist at the Marlboro, Spoleto, and Stratford (Canada) Festivals.

Dunkel's recording with ACO of the early music of Elliott Carter was selected as one of the Top Ten Recordings of 1982 by both Time and Newsweek magazines. His recording with soprano Jan DeGaetani of Ravel's Chansons Madécasses was nominated for a Grammy Award.

He is currently involved in a 10-year project to perform the complete operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan at the Center for the Arts at Purchase (SUNY).

Nohema Fernández

Pianist Nohema Fernández performs regularly throughout Europe and the United States as a recitalist and symphony soloist. She has performed in most Western European countries, including historical halls such as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Klein Zaal and Vienna's Brahmssaal at the Musikverein, and has been featured soloist in festivals throughout the United States.

Fernández has recently performed with orchestras such as the Chattanooga, Dubuque, Tucson, Olympia, Saginaw, and Billings Symphonies, as well as the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea. She has been honored with awards such as the NEA Solo Recitalist Fellowship for the performance of pan-American works and the Distinction of Honor "La Rosa Blanca" (Los Angeles) for her continued efforts to promote Cuban music and culture.

She has gained a unique reputation for her performances of and lectures on Spanish and Latin American music. Fernández has recorded for the Musical Heritage Society, Protone, MusicMasters, Centaur, and Arociris labels and for the Saarldndisches Rundfunk. Her articles have been published in Clavier and Latin American Music Review.

Orlando Jacinto García

Born in 1954 in Havana, Orlando Jacinto García is highly regarded nationally and internationally as a composer, teacher, and advocate for new music. A former student of Morton Feldman and recipient of numerous grants and awards, García is a two-time Fulbright scholar with artist residencies in Spain and Venezuela.

With more than eighty works in his catalog, García has had his music performed by numerous distinguished orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists throughout the Americas and Europe. Recent premieres include those in Italy, Korea, Bulgaria, Holland, Brazil, France, Venezuela, Spain, Australia, and the United States. García's works have been recorded for record labels Opus One, CRS, Albany, North/South, and CRI.

García is the founder of several internationally-renowned music festivals including the New Music Miami Festival (formerly May in Miami) and the Music of the Americas Festival. He is currently professor of composition and graduate programs for the School of Music at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, where he was the founder of the FIU New Music Ensemble and the FIU Electroacoustic Music Studio.

Philip Glass

Philip GlassBorn in Baltimore in 1937, Philip Glass began study of the violin at age six. During his second year of high school he was admitted to the University of Chicago, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. At nineteen, Glass graduated from the University of Chicago, moved to New York and entered the The Juilliard School of Music.

Glass studied with Vincent Persichetti and Darius Milhaud, and then moved to Paris for two years of study with noted pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. In Paris, he was hired by a filmmaker to transcribe the music of Ravi Shankar. After research in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, Glass returned to New York and applied Eastern techniques to his own work.

By 1974, Glass had composed a large body of music for theater company Mabou Mines, which he co-founded, and his own performing group, the Philip Glass Ensemble. In 1976 he collaborated with Robert Wilson on the landmark four-and-a-half-hour epic opera Einstein on the Beach.

Glass's output since Einstein has ranged from operas and film scores such as Koyaanisqatsi to symphonic works and string quartets. Among his recent works are Heroes Symphony, written for choreographer Twyla Tharp, recorded by ACO, and based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno, and a film score for Martin Scorsese's Kundun, which received an Oscar nomination.

In December 1997, Glass celebrated his sixtieth birthday with a pair of thirty-year career retrospective performances at New York's Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Glass participates as a United States delegate in Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba.

Michael Gordon

Composer Michael Gordon was born in Florida and raised in an Eastern European community in the jungle on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. His music is an outgrowth of his experience with underground rock groups in New York City and his formal training in composition at Yale, where he embraced elements of dissonance, minimalism, modality, and popular culture in a music which has been called "totalism."

Gordon founded the Michael Gordon Philharmonic and with this ensemble has performed his music frequently in New York and throughout North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. His Van Gogh Video Opera, a multi-media collaboration with video-artist Elliot Caplan, was premiered to critical acclaim in New York in 1991, and received its European premiere in Vienna in 1992. His commissions include grants from the NEA for a new opera, CHAOS, in collaboration with librettist/director Matthew Maguire and a Meet The Composer Composer/ Choreographer commission for a work with Stephanie Skura & Company.

Gordon is co-founder of the Bang on a Can Festival, an international festival of new music that takes place in New York every May. A recording of his music, Big Noise From Nicaragua, is available on CRI Emergency Music, and a CD of his epic Trance, performed by England's Icebreaker, has just been released on Argo Records.

Gordon participates as a United States delegate in Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba.

Harold Gramatges

Composer Harold Gramatges was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1918. He began his education in Santiago de Cuba and studied composition in Havana with Amadeo Roldán and José Ardévol.

Gramatges founded and conducted the Youth Orchestra of the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana, where he is still a professor. He was president of the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo and Cuban Ambassador to France. Gramatges founded the music department of the Casa de las Américas and is currently president of the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba and a member of the Technical Advising Council of the Ministry of Culture.

In 1996 Gramatges was awarded the Premio Iberoamericano de la Música Tomás Luis de Victoria, sponsored by the Consejo Iberoamericano de la Música, the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana, and the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España. For his teaching career of more than forty-five years, he was given the title of emeritus professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, where he is presently director of the composition department.

The Cuban Council of State has conferred him with awards which include the Orden Félix Varela de Primer Grado, Medalla Alejo Carpentier, the Medalla de la Clandestinidad (Medal of the Underground Struggle), and the Medalla Raúl Gómez García. His works have been performed throughout Latin America, Mexico, Europe, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

Félix Guerrero

Composer Félix Guerrero was born in 1916 in Havana. He studied with his father, guitarist and educator Félix Guerrero Reina. He later studied at the Concervatorio Municipal with Isidro Ragrena, Amadeo Roldán, César Pérez Sentenat, and Manuel Mauri. In addition, Guerrero studied at The Juilliard School of Music in New York, the School of American Arts in Fontainebleau, and the Conservatoire de Paris, where his teachers included Nadia Boulanger, Georges Enescu, Eugene Bigot, and Morell Dupres.

Guerrero's conducting engagements have been with the Leningrad Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of Prague, Opera Orchestra of Bratislava, Orchestra of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, and Radio-Television Orchestra of Riga. Guerrero's ballet El Río y el bosque (The River and the Forest) won an award in Bulgaria in 1979. Among his notable students are acclaimed jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera, composer Arturo "Chiro" O'Farrell, guitarist Joaquín Clerch, and conductor Elena Herrera.

He is currently the conductor of the Gran Teatro de La Habana Orchestra and professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana.

Herencia String Quartet

Herencia QuartetHerencia String Quartet presented their first official concert in 1994 at the Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia. They perform concerts and workshops throughout the United States and Latin America at venues varying from concert halls to hospitals, museums, ethnic community centers, and schools. Through music, Herencia unites the minds and feelings between the varied cultures in the continent.

In Philadelphia, Herencia has performed at the Academy of Music, Temple University's Rock Hall, and for the United States Federal Reserve Bank's concert series. Herencia has been featured on WFLN, ABC's Channel 6 and has performed in a master class with the Emerson String Quartet. The Quartet has been coached by artists including Earl Carlyss, former violinist of the Juilliard Quartet, and Luis Biava, conductor in residence at the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The quartet has collaborated with organizations such as the Asociación de Músicos Latinamericanos, Music for All Seasons, and the Latin American Guild for the Arts. They were also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts to present a lecture/concert series. Their presentations of classical, folk, and modern music include composers from Haydn, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn to Turina, Morel, Campos, Cristancho, and Hernández.

The quartet is Luis Baracaldo and Luigi Mazzocchi, violins; Marta Hernández, viola; and Ovidiu Marinescu, cello.

Huberal Herrera

Pianist Huberal Herrera was born in Mayarí, province of Holguín, and studied music at the Hubert de Blanck and Amadeo Roldán Conservatories. He holds a doctorate degree in law from the Universidad de La Habana.

Herrera's professional career as a concert pianist began in 1954 with a recital of Cuban composers. He has since presented recitals at concert halls throughout his country and abroad featuring works by Carlos Fariñas, Héctor Angulo, Ernesto Lecuona, Neno González, Félix Guerrero, Hector Villa-Lobos, and Francisco Mignone. He has toured Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States. As a composer, his output includes works for chorus, piano, voice and piano, and chamber ensemble.

One of the foremost interpreters of the piano music of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, Herrera has investigated, researched, and transcribed Lecuona's works, including the revision of Lecuona's complete piano output. This repertory encompasses more than eighty compositions which Herrera has presented as a three-recital cycle in various ocassions

Recently Herrera has served as jury member at national and international piano competitions in honor of Ernesto Lecuona.

Joan LaBarbara

Joan LaBarbaraJoan LaBarbara's career as a composer, performer, and sound artist explores the human voice as a multifaceted instrument expanding traditional boundaries. She composes works for multiple voices, chamber ensemble, music theater, orchestra, and interactive technology with a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques-multiphonics, circular singing, ululation and glottal clicks-that have become her signature sounds. She has won awards in the United States and Europe, including the prestigious DAAD Artist-in-Residency in Berlin and six NEA grants.

LaBarbara has produced ten recordings of her own works, has served as producer on internationally acclaimed recordings of music by John Cage and Morton Feldman, and has premiered landmark compositions written for her by noted American composers, including Morton Subotnick's chamber opera Jacob's Room for American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, and MANCA, Nice, and the title role in Robert Ashley's opera Now Eleanor's Idea at Festival d'Avignon and BAM's Next Wave Festival. She also premiered Subotnick's media poem Intimate Immensity for the Lincoln Center Festival last July.

LaBarbara teaches contemporary vocal and composition techniques at The College of Santa Fe, produces a weekly radio program, and is contributing editor for Schwann/Opus magazine.

LaBarbara participates as a United States delegate and soprano soloist in Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba.

Tania León

Born in Havana, Cuba, conductor and composer Tania León came to the United States in 1967. León serves as Latin American music advisor to the American Composers Orchestra, where she co-founded the award-winning Sonidos de las Américas festival. She was new music advisor to Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic from 1993 to 1997, and was a founding member and the first musical director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

In 1999, León's first opera, Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a radio play by Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka and commissioned by the Munich Biennale, is being co-produced by the Grand Théâtre de Genève and the Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine, under the direction of Robert Wilson and conducted by the composer. The aria "Oh Yemanja" (Mother's Prayer) from Scourge was recently released by Nonesuch on Dawn Upshaw's CD The World So Wide.

León's recent commissions include Drummin', a major multimedia work, which premiered in 1997 at the Lincoln Theatre in Miami; Sol de Doce, for Chanticleer on poems by Pedro Mir; and Para Viola y Orquesta, premiered by a consortium of four United States orchestras. She has received awards for her compositions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Meet The Composer.

Her conducting engagements include the New York Philharmonic, the Beethovenhalle Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Johannesburg.

A 1998 recipient of the New York Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award, León is a professor at Brooklyn College, where she has taught since 1985.

Oriente López

Havana-born composer, flutist and pianist Oriente López is a musician whose career and reputation have won him the acclaim of the international music community. He has toured throughout Europe and Latin America, has been a participant in jazz festivals, and is an internationally-distributed recording artist. His credits also include several film and television scores.

López is best known for his seven-year collaboration with Afrocuba, a group which explored influences in Afrocaribbean culture while incorporating international voices. Equally at home in the Latin, jazz, and pop genres, Lopez has also arranged and conducted for Broadway.

López, who received his bachelor's degree in fine arts in Havana, Cuba, is the recipient of various Cuban national and international music awards. He is currently working towards a master's degree in musical theatre composition at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Guido López-Gavilán

Composer Guido López-Gavilán graduated with a degree in choral conducting from Havana's Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán in 1966 and orchestral conducting from Moscow's Tchaikowsky Conservatory in 1973. His compositions have been widely recognized in important Cuban competitions such as Concurso de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, Concurso Nacional de Composición, Concurso 26 de Julio, La Edad de Oro and Concurso Adolfo Guzmán.

His work as an orchestral conductor has won him favorable commentaries by international critics. López-Gavilán's most important European presentations include concerts in Warsaw, Budapest, and Zagreb. He has also conducted orchestras in Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, and Rumania. In Latin America López-Gavilán has been particularly successful in Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador.

As a composer, López-Gavilán has participated in festivals and workshops throughout the Americas, such as Crossroads of Traditions, organized by the Latin American Music Center at Indiana University's School of Music, the Festival Iberoamericano de Música Contemporánea in Spain, Mexico's Festival Franco Donatoni, and the VIII Foro de Compositores del Caribe in Venezuela.

Currently López-Gavilán is the president of the Festival de La Habana, an annual international event dedicated to contemporary music. He is also the director of the orchestral conducting department at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana.

Jorge López Marín

Composer Jorge López Marín began his study of music with Alejandro García Caturla and Amadeo Roldán and later at the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana, under the direction of José Ardévol, Carlos Fariñas, and Federico Smith. In 1969 he was awarded a scholarship to the Kiev conservatory, where he studied composition and orchestral conducting. From 1975 to 1978 he took master courses at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire of Moscow with composer Aram Khachaturian and conductor Boris Khaikin.

López Marín has written many symphonic and chamber works, among them Cuban Overture, Symphony in "Son," and Cuban Cello Concerto, in addition to music for wind orchestra, incidental music, and works for soloists, choir and orchestra.

Since 1978, he has taught at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, working as a composer and as a conductor. He has conducted Cuban symphonic orchestras and has given concerts in Germany, Poland, Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Costa Rica. López Marín has given Cuban premieres of several national and foreign works.

José Loyola Fernández

Composer, musicologist, and flutist José Loyola Fernández was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1941. Loyola graduated as a flutist in 1967 from the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana, under the supervision of teachers Roberto Ondina and Emigdio Mayo. In 1973 he received his master's degree in composition from the Warsaw Music Academy ,where he studied with Witold Rudzinski. In 1985 he received a doctorate with a specialty in music theory from the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw.

His compositions have been performed in Cuba, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Argentina, Mexico, and El Salvador. In 1992 he received the Cuban Premio Anual de Composición given by the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba. He has been a participant in conferences at universities and cultural institutions in Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Loyola is the author of En ritmo de bolero and has published articles in journals in Cuba, Latin America, and Spain. He is the editor of the journal Música Cubana, a publication of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba.

Currently Loyola is professor of composition, orchestration and counterpoint at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana. He also serves as member of the board of trustees of several important artistic organizations in Cuba.

Edgardo Martín

Edgardo MartinComposer Edgardo Martín was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1915. He received his bachelor's degree in education from the Universidad de La Habana, then went on to study composition with José Ardévol at the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana, graduating in 1949.

Martín has been a professor of music history and musical analysis at the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana and at the Escuela Superior de Arte de Cubanacán. Since 1977, he has been advisor to the Comisión Nacional de Música of the Ministry of Culture. He is also advisor of the Technical Council of the Orquesta Sinfónica and president of the International Commission of Music Contests of Cuba's Ministry of Culture. He was also director of the Interchange and Publishing Department of the National Council of Culture.

During the early 1950s Martín was a music critic for the newspaper Información, and in the 1960s he wrote for the newspaper Granma, as well as program notes for the concerts of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. In 1971 his book, Panorama Histórico de la Música en Cuba, was published by Universidad de La Habana.

In 1944 he was awarded the Ateneo Prize for his composition La conga de Jagua, for two pianos. In 1951, he was awarded the National Prize of the Ministry of Education for his Concertante para arpa y pequeña orquesta, and in 1952, he was awarded the same prize for his cantata Los dos abuelos.

Jorge Martín

Jorge MartinComposer Jorge Martín was born in 1959 in Santiago de Cuba, came to the United States in 1965, and has been an American citizen since 1984. Martín studied music at Yale College, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 1981. He received his master's and doctorate degrees in composition at Columbia University in 1990.

Martín is recipient of the 1998 American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Music. His one-act opera Tobermory won first prize in the 1993 National Opera Association's Fifth Biennial Chamber Opera Competition and has been performed in New Orleans, New York, and at the Lake George Opera Festival. Beast and Superbeast, a set of four one-act operas including Tobermory, based on Saki's short stories with libretti by Andrew Joffe, was presented in Washington, D.C. and New York to critical acclaim in 1996.

Martín has been commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for its "Made in Vermont" tour in the fall of 1999. Baritone Sanford Sylvan is to give the premiere of The Glass Hammer, an hour-long song cycle on poems by Andrew Hudgins, and record the cycle with pianist David Breitman.

Odaline de la Martínez

Odaline de la MartinezComposer and conductor Odaline de la Martínez was born in Cuba and was brought up in the United States. She moved to Britain in 1972 to study composition and piano at the Royal Academy of Music.

Martínez first became known as a conductor through her work with Lontano, with whom she has toured and recorded all over the world. She has worked with all the BBC orchestras, as well as with other major orchestras in Britain and abroad. In 1984, Martínez made history as the first woman ever to conduct a BBC Promenade Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

As part of her work towards greater recognition for women composers and performers, she helped to found the European Women's Orchestra in 1990. As a composer, she enjoyed wide critical acclaim when her first opera, Sister Aimée, was premiered in America. She is currently working on two books as well as her second opera, Esperanza.

New York Festival of Song

The New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) was founded in 1988 by co-artistic directors Michael Barrett and Steven Blier. Its ten years of performances have been dedicated to the reinvention of the recital format, comprising both standard works and rediscoveries from the European, Slavic, and South American repertory. NYFOS stresses the importance of American song and artists, both by programming music from the rich American song tradition and by commissioning new works.

During the past concert season, NYFOS presented Modern Scenes from American Life, which featured the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann's Appalachian Lieberlieder, commissioned by NYFOS. For the past five seasons, NYFOS produced a subscription series presented by the 92nd Street Y and also produced and presented concerts at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. This season marks the beginning of a new partnership with The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse.

NYFOS has been presented by the Library of Congress, the Moab (Utah) Music Festival, the Greenwich Chamber Music Society, the Vocal Arts Society of Washington, D.C., and the Wolf Trap Opera. New York performances include Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Hall.

In 1995, NYFOS launched its educational outreach program as a way to expose New York City's children to music and to foster the composers, performers, and audiences of the next generation. The program currently reaches 360 students in the public high schools.

Keyla María Orozco Alemán

Composer Keyla María Orozco Alemán was born in 1969 in Santiago de Cuba. There, at the age of eight, she began music studies in piano. In 1988 she received her teacher/performer's diploma at the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana and began studying composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana. After her graduation, Orozco Alemán remained in the institution for two years as counterpoint teacher.

Her prizes and awards include the Premio Nacional de Composición Sinfónica from Unión de Escritores y Artista de Cuba (1990) and first and second prizes for chamber music in the René Amengual International Composition Contest in Santiago de Chile (1994).

In 1995, Orozco Alemán received a scholarship to do post-graduate work in composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Holland, with Theo Loevendie. In 1998, she finished her studies at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam with the same teacher and is currently studying electronic music with Keeg Tazelaar.

During her stay in Holland, Orozco Alemán has received various commissions and her music has been performed throughout the country. In addition, her work has been broadcasted on National Dutch Radio and television, as well as recorded by outstanding Dutch performers.

Ileana Pérez-Velázquez

Composer Ileana Pérez-Velázquez was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1964. She is a graduate of music composition and piano from the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, and earned her master's degree in electroacoustic music from Dartmouth College and her doctorate degree in music composition from Indiana University. She has studied composition with Carlos Fariñas, Eugene O'Brien, Claude Baker, and Marta Ptaszynska, and electronic and computer music with Charles Dodge and Jon Appleton.

Pérez-Velázquez is currently assistant professor of theory and composition at Portland State University. She has taught composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana and at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has also offered electronic music seminars in several universities of Colombia. During the last three years, she has worked as an associate instructor of composition and electronic music at Indiana University.

Her music has been featured in international festivals and concerts in Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, the United States, Spain, and Hungary. Pérez-Velázquez has received national composition awards in her native country.

Juan Piñera

Composer Juan Piñera was born in Havana where he started his music studies under the guidance of his sister María Piñera, continuing later with César Pérez Sentenat. In the Conservatorio Alejandro García Caturla, Piñera studied piano with Silvio Rodríguez Cárdenas. In 1968 he entered the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana, from which he graduated in 1972.

Between 1972 and 1976 Piñera was pianist of the Orquesta del Teatro Martí, an ensemble dedicated to popular and vernacular theater; he also played for the orchestras of the Teatro Musical and Pequeña Sinfónica de Teatro y Danza. In 1976 he entered the music department of the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, studying with José Ardévol and graduating in 1981 with a degree in composition. In 1977 he began to work at the Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión.

Piñera has received awards from the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France, and the Trimalca of Rio de Janeiro. In 1988 he received two national awards from the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba for his symphonic piece Como Naufragios and his electroacoustic piece Germinal.

Piñera's compositions encompass a wide variety of genres, most importantly works for the stage such as his operas Il piacere, Taza de Café, and Amor con Amor se Paga. He has been commissioned by prestigious institutions such as the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España and the Centro para la Difusión de la Música Contemporánea of the Ministry of Culture of Spain.

Quintet of the Americas

Established in 1976 in Bogotá, Columbia, and reformed in 1979 in New York City, Quintet of the Americas presents formal concerts, commissions new works, records, and provides educational outreach services. The Quintet has toured in over 300 cities in the United States, Canada, and Central and South America.

The Quintet has performed at Carnegie Hall and at numerous festivals such as the Bermuda International Festival; the Inter-American Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Chamber Music Northwest Festival; the Chatauqua Festival; the First International Congress on Women in Music; Pan American Music Festivals at the Library of Congress and the O.A.S. in Washington, D.C.; the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival; the International Flute Convention; and a Villa-Lobos centennial festival produced by the Quintet and SineNomine Singers at Merkin Hall. In 1993 the Quintet represented the United States at the Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea in Bogotá, Columbia.

The Quintet has commissioned and premiered over thirty works by composers from the western hemisphere. They have recorded five CDs on the CRI, MMC, Newport Classic, and XLNT labels. A new CD will be released in late spring1999 on the Amapola label.

Orlando Ríos and Nueva Generación

Orlando RiosOrlando Ríos came to New York in 1980 from Havana, Cuba, where he was a professor at Escuela Nacional de Arte. Since coming to New York, he has performed with such musicians as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, Michel Camilio, Michele Rosewoman, and Tania León. He and his group Nueva Generación have performed at Symphony Space, SOB's, Lincoln Center, and World Music Institute, in addition to being a part of many productions at the Caribbean Cultural Center.

As a master of the various Cuban musical folkloric forms and teacher and mentor to many New York-based folklorists, Ríos is the foundation of the Yoruba-based religious community, providing the music for ceremonies and celebrations. In addition, Nueva Generación has been a forum for many young aspiring folkloric musicians.

 

Marco Rizo

Concert pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, pedagogue –  MarcoRizo born in Santiago de Cuba, worked as a pianist, arranger and composer for the “ I Love Lucy” television series with childhood friend Desi Arnez. Mr. Rizo’s first music teacher was his father, Sebastian Rizo, flutist with the Santiago Symphony Orchestra. Later, he studied harmony and composition with Spanish composer Pedro San Juan at the Havana School of Music. Marco was the official pianist of the Havana Philharmonic, performing under the direction of Maestros Ernesto Lecuona, Erich Kleiber and Leopold Stokowski as well as giving duo piano recitals with Lecuona.

 In 1940 he immigrated to the United States, continuing his studies at Juilliard under Mme Rosina Lhevinne. He performed and orchestrated with the 2nd Army Military Band during World War II. Mr. Rizo became the pianist-arranger for the “Bob Hope Radio Show” and organized his own group. He has arranged for hundreds of top artists, among them: Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, Xavier Cugat, Yma Sumac and Paquito D’Rivera. He scored music for Columbia, Paramount and MGM Studios. Mr. Rizo attended U.C.L.A., studying under Igor Stravinsky and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Mr. Rizo was awarded the Silver Medal of the French Academy of Arts, Science and Letters for outstanding achievements in the field of Latin Music. As a pianist, he recorded some 30 albums. Rizo founded the “The Marco Rizo Latin American Music Project” (AKA SAMPI), to spread appreciation for Latin music and culture to students in universities, colleges, high schools, and public schools.

 Mr. Rizo passed away on September 8th of 1998 in Manhattan.

 

Santiago Rodríguez

Orlando Ríos came to New York in 1980 from Havana, Cuba, where he was a professor at Escuela Nacional de Arte. Since coming to New York, he has performed with such musicians as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, Michel Camilio, Michele Rosewoman, and Tania León. He and his group Nueva Generación have performed at Symphony Space, SOB's, Lincoln Center, and World Music Institute, in addition to being a part of many productions at the Caribbean Cultural Center.

As a master of the various Cuban musical folkloric forms and teacher and mentor to many New York-based folklorists, Ríos is the foundation of the Yoruba-based religious community, providing the music for ceremonies and celebrations. In addition, Nueva Generación has been a forum for many young aspiring folkloric musicians.

 

Santiago RodriguezPianist Santiago Rodríguez was born in Cárdenas, Cuba, and began his piano studies at age four. After immigrating to the United States, he made his concert debut at age ten, performing the Mozart Concerto No. 27 with the New Orleans Philharmonic. His international career was launched in 1981 when he won the Silver Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music, where he was a pupil of Adele Marcus.

Rodríguez has performed internationally with leading orchestras and in recitals throughout Europe, Japan, the United States, and Canada. He has collaborated with ensembles such as the Guarneri String Quartet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and has toured extensively as a member of a piano trio with violinist Ruggiero Ricci and cellist Nathaniel Rosen. Rodríguez was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt in 1993 and has been featured on all major television networks.

One of today's foremost interpreters of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Rodríguez has performed all of the composer's major piano works in concert. He is currently recording the entire catalogue of Rachmaninoff's solo piano compositions. National Public Radio's Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection recommends three of Rodríguez's recordings as the best available performance, and his recording of the Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev Third Concertos has been internationally acclaimed.

Doris Magaly Ruíz Lastres

Composer Doris Magaly Ruíz Lastres was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, in 1941. In 1981 she graduated with a degree in composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana where she studied with Harold Gramatges, José Ardévol, Félix Guerrero, Alfredo Diez Nieto, Dolores Torres, and Roberto Valera. Since then she has worked as a professor for the Instituto, as well as in the Instituto Superior Pedagógico E. J. Varona.

Her distinctions include several medals and honors, among them the Medalla por la Educación Cubana, Medalla al Mérito Pedagógico, Medalla José Tey del Consejo de Estado, Distinción Especial of the Cuban Ministry of Education, and the Premio Anual de Composición given by the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba.

Several of her compositions are included as part of the curriculum of the leading music education institutions in Cuba, among them the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, the Instituto Superior de Arte de La Habana, and the Instituto Superior Pedagógico E. J. Varona. Her compositions have been performed in numerous festivals, such as International Music Festival, Festival de La Habana, Festival Boleros de Oro, International Festival of Contemporary Music, and the International Festival Donne in Musica Fiuggi in Italy.

Thomas Tirino

Thomas TirinoPianist Thomas Tirino is recognized as the leading authority on the music of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. Time magazine chose Volume One of Tirino's six-CD Lecuona series on the BIS label, recorded in honor of the centenary of the composer's birth, as one of the ten best recordings of 1995.

Tirino has performed concerts and given master classes and lectures on Lecuona's music in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. He has performed Lecuona's music to accolades in Havana's Teatro Nacional, Gran Teatro García Lorca de la Habana, and in Havana's Biblioteca Nacional. He participated in the Festival Lecuona in Havana in 1995, serving as juror for the festival's International Lecuona Piano Competition.

The pianist has performed in recital and with orchestras in the major cities of the United States, Europe, Russia, and Asia, and has toured Eastern Europe extensively. He has received numerous gold medals at international competitions from New York to Tokyo and has received citations of honor from the Paderewski Foundation and the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has appeared on radio and television worldwide.

Tirino received degrees from The Juilliard School of Music, where he studied under Sascha Gorodnitzki and Miyoko Nakaya-Lotto.

Enrique Ubieta

Composer Enrique Ubieta is a prolific and innovative composer who has scored music for seven films and composed more than sixty works of vocal, chamber, and orchestral music. Ubieta studied and later became a professor at the Conservatorio Nacional de La Habana, where he developed photochromy, a system of musical notation employing colors to highlight sound dynamics. Later, he studied with Aram Khachaturian at the Moscow Conservatory and developed his technique of bimodalism, a harmonic system blending major and minor modes.

Ubieta was a founding composer for the Instituto Cinematográfico Nacional. As conductor of the Teatro Musical de La Habana, he premiered his comic zarzuela Méfistófeles in 1964. Later that year, Ubieta left Cuba to reside in Paris, working in radio and television, before moving to the United States. In 1973, Ubieta's Cuban Mass was premiered at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York. Recent works include Bimodal for solo guitar, which was premiered at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall; two piano trios; the score to the film In Their Own Words, which won the Gold Medal at the twenty-third New York International Film Festival; and La cubachiana, a work commemorating composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Roberto Valera

Roberto ValeraComposer Roberto Valera was born in 1938 in Havana, Cuba. He studied with José Ardévol, Leo Brouwer, and Edgardo Martín at the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana, and later in Poland with Witold Rudzinski and Andrzej Dobrowolski.

At the request of Brouwer, Valera began to work as a musical advisor at the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos, embarking on a career as a film composer. His work for film served as a laboratory where he could experiment with new compositional techniques. Later Valera incorporated many of these techniques in such works as Conjuro for soprano and orchestra (1968) and Devenir (1969).

In 1976, Valera began a long association with the Instituto Superior de Arte de Cuba, serving as dean and professor of composition, orchestration and contemporary techniques, and establishing the electronic music studio there.

Recent works include Concierto de Cojúmar for guitar and orchestra and Canciones de Pepito el de los cuentos, for solo voice, children's choir and MIDI orchestra.

Aurelio de la Vega

Composer Aurelio de la Vega was born in Havana in 1925. He earned a doctorate degree in law at the Universidad de La Habana and a doctorate in music composition at the Conservatorio Ada Iglesias. De la Vega also studied with Fritz Kramer in Havana and Ernst Toch in Los Angeles, where he eventually settled. He was appointed professor of music and director of the Electronic Music Studio at California State University, Northridge, in 1959 and has been emeritus professor since 1994.

De la Vega has been influential in the United States, where he devotedly promotes art music from Latin America. Many of his works have received an impressive number of public performances and several are published and commercially recorded. Since 1962, almost all of his compositions have been commissioned by internationally-known instrumentalists and singers, orchestras, institutions, and patrons. Among his many prizes and honors, which include decorations from foreign governments, are two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards.

Melinda Wagner

Composer Melinda Wagner, born in Philadelphia, received her graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Richard Wernick, George Crumb, Shulamit Ran, and Jay Reise.

Wagner's orchestral, chamber, and vocal works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York New Music Ensemble. Falling Angels, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 1993, was performed by the American Composers Orchestra in 1995, and again by the CSO in 1996 under the AT&T American Encore series. Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion, commissioned by Paul Lustig Dunkel and the Westchester Philharmonic, received its premiere in 1998.

She is the recipient of numerous honors including a fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the New York State Council on the Arts, three ASCAP Young Composer awards, and resident fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.

Wagner has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Syracuse University, and Hunter College. Recordings of her works are available on the Opus One label.

Wagner participates as a United States delegate in Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba.