Monday, October 26, 2009

Federico Ibarra (1946-present)

Mexican composer. He began his career as a pianist and later studied at the Escuela Nacional de Música, graduating in composition in 1978. He also took classes with Marie (1968), Stockhausen (1971), Schaeffer (1971) and Halffter (1975). As a pianist, Ibarra has given the Mexican premières of a number of works (Cage, Cowell, De Castro, Crumb). His own music has been performed internationally, as well as in Mexico, where his prizes include the Medalla Mozart (1991). He has also worked as a choir conductor and repetiteur.
Ibarra’s sizeable output is characterized by the use of powerful, dramatic contrasts within carefully balanced forms. Many of his earlier works (notably the Cinco estudios premonitorios and the Cinco manuscritos pnakótikos) incorporate highly varied textures, colours and contemporary effects, including clusters, microintervals, and percussive taps on non-percussion instruments. His Concerto for prepared piano and orchestra (1970, rev. 1980) – in which the soloist unfolds a series of non-melodic textures juxtaposed with dense, sonorous masses in the orchestra – is typical. A number of compositions – the piano sonatas, symphonies and the Cello Concerto – do retain the principal thematic and developmental elements of Classical form; but traditional schemata are supplanted by diverse, dramatic structures. Ibarra has written more operas than any other 20th-century Mexican composer. In these operas, the musical language employed reflects the libretto; in Leoncio y Lena the music closely follows the tragicomic narration of the characters, while in Orestes parte the discourse becomes so dense that the character of Clitemnestra is shared between four sopranos.

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