Music Mexico Symposium: Public Talk
Public Talk
Music Mexico Symposium

Public Talk: Musical Diplomacy

May 27, 2022

This event occurred as part of the 21/22 Public Talk season. This is an archived view.

Mexican American musician and educator Sixto Montesinos talks to composers Rodrigo Martinez, Nubia Jaime Donjuan and Juan Pablo Contreras ahead of the premiere of their works at the DCWE concert.

21/22 Public Talk

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Juan Pablo Contreras

Juan Pablo Contreras (b.1987, Guadalajara, Mexico) is a Latin Grammy-nominated composer who combines Western classical and Mexican folk music in a single soundscape. His works have been performed by 30 major orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Slovakia, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela. Contreras is celebrated as the first Mexican composer to sign a record deal with Universal Music, serve as Sound Investment Composer with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and win the BMI William Schuman Prize.

In the 2021-22 season, his award-winning work Mariachitlán will debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall, with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of the USA. Contreras will also premiere a new orchestral work co-commissioned by Las Vegas Philharmonic, California Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Philharmonic and Richmond Symphony, in partnership with New Music USA's Amplifying Voices Program.

Contreras has received commissions from the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Riverside Choir, Carlos Prieto and the Onix Ensamble. He has won awards including the Presser Music Award, the Jalisco Orchestral Composition Prize, the Brian Israel Prize, the Pi Kappa Lambda Award, the Arturo Márquez Composition Contest, the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, the Dutch Harp Composition Contest, the Nicolas Flagello Award and the Young Artist Fellowship of Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts. Contreras has also served as Composer-in-Residence with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the soundON Festival of Modern Music in San Diego, the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, and at the Turtle Bay Music School and Concerts on the Slope in New York.

He holds degrees in composition from the University of Southern California (DMA), the Manhattan School of Music (MM), and the California Institute of the Arts (BFA). His most influential teachers include Richard Danielpour, Daniel Catán, Nils Vigeland, Andrew Norman and Donald Crockett. Contreras' music has been recorded on Universal Music Mexico, Albany Records, Epsa Music and Urtext Digital Classics. He lives in Los Angeles, and currently teaches orchestration and music theory at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Nubia Jaime Donjuan

Born in Hermosillo, Sonora, she began her musical studies at the age of six, and was part of OJUSSON (Sonora Symphony Youth Orchestra). After graduating from CEDART, she obtained a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sonora. She has had Arturo Márquez and Alexis Aranda as composition teachers, she has taken the Master Class with Brian Banks by UDLAP. She has also studied orchestration with the conductor David H. Bretón for four years. She has collaborated with various educational institutions, including University of Sonora, Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Higher School of Catalonia, Strasbourg Conservatory and others to release and spread their work. 

As a composer and arranger, she has collaborated with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Sonora, Cancun Symphony Orchestra, Oaxaca Symphony Orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Mexican Orchestra of the Arts, Mérida Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the National Polytechnic Institute, and with various chamber music ensembles. She has composed concert music, opera for children, music for theater and videodance, as well as multidisciplinary projects. Nubia Jaime Donjuan's music has been performed by renowned soloists and ensembles inside and outside her country. She has been commissioned by the University of Sonora to orchestrate the institution´s university anthem. She navigates between two worlds: that of composition and that of interpretation, being a cellist of the Pitic Quintet and of the Camerata of the same institution. She is the founder of the Sonora Philharmonic, where she currently serves as co-principal cellist. She is part of The Montoneras Collective, which brings together the work of composers, performers and researchers in search of making visible the work of women in the music scene of their country. She was part of the Jury of the First Latin American Composition Contest SER, second edition of the festival "Saxophonists Festival network meeting of Latin America." Jaime Donjuan has been the first woman to win the Arturo Márquez Composition Contest for Chamber Orchestra, obtaining first place with the work Maso Ye´eme

Rodrigo Martinez

Rodrigo Martínez is a composer interested in the abstraction of popular musical languages as a tool for new creations. He is also a multi-instrumentalist who performs in different genres and styles. He was born in Mexico City in 1992. He studied music composition in Academia de Arte de Florencia and in Núcleo Integral de Composición (CDMX). He is currently studying a Master in Electroacoustic Composition at Centro Superior Katarina Gurska in Madrid, Spain.

He was a grant holder in the Mexican program Jóvenes Creadores by FONCA in 2018-2019. He was awarded a MacDowell fellowship (New Hampshire, USA) in October 2019.

Rodrigo was the grand prize-winning composer of the 2020 Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble Composition Competition. He also won the 2017 Arturo Márquez composition
competition with his piece Mambo Urbano, for chamber orchestra. With Radio Ruido, he won the 2017 Caja de Viento Call for Scores, by German accordionist Eva Zöllner. His music has been played by Dutch ensemble Modelo 62, Mexican ensembles CEPROMUSIC, Liminar and Ensamble Tamayo, as well as by Italian pianist Gloria Campaner.

Besides being a composer, he has been playing in different ensembles for the past years. In 2015 he joined Mexican Coro Delicieux where, apart from singing, he has been working as a choral arranger for the choir and for Mexican cult band Santa Sabina. In 2016 he was the main double bass player at the Orquesta Filarmónica del Nuevo Mundo, as well as the saxophone player in Kumpania, a Balkan music ensemble. In 2017 he traveled to the US and Brazil as the drummer for French singer Laure Briard. In 2019 he traveled to the US and all over Mexico with Monstruos del Mañana, a band for which he sings and composes. Currently, this band is
preparing the release of a new LP. So is Supersilverhaze, a Mexican rock trio in which Rodrigo plays drums.

Rodrigo has also composed music for film, theatre and advertising. Theatre collaborations include music for Bye bye bird, by Jose Manuel Hidalgo; sound design for Papá está solo, by Miguel Alejandro León. Film collaborations include music supervision and composition for Todo lo que fui(mos) by Lorenzo Navas, and original music for Remitente, by Mateo Miranda.

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