Tuesday, August 30, 2011

9/11: Robert Xavier Rodriguez

We artists are used to hard times, but the world of the spirit has consistently managed courageously to assert itself in marvelous ways in the face of, and sometimes stimulated, albeit unwillingly, by the temporal demands of the flesh. The Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times!” doesn’t apply to artists; for us, “interesting times” are the raw materials of magic. Remember Orson Welles in The Third Man, talking about Italy under the Borgias:

...they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed.
They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci,
and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had
brotherly love, 500 years of democracy, and peace.
And what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.

Today, we have plenty of warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, so why not expect a Renaissance to go with it?

Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Robert Xavier Rodríguez is one of the most significant and often-performed American composers of his generation. His music has been described as “Romantically dramatic” (Washington Post), “richly lyrical” (Musical America) and “glowing with a physical animation and delicate balance of moods that combine seductively with his all-encompassing sense of humor” (Los Angeles Times). “Its originality lies in the telling personality it reveals. His music always speaks, and speaks in the composer’s personal language.” (American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters). Rodríguez has written in all genres — opera, orchestral, concerto, ballet, vocal, choral, chamber, solo and music for the theater — but he has been drawn most strongly in recent years to works for the stage, including music for children.
Rodríguez received his early musical education in San Antonio (b. 1946) and in Austin (UT), Los Angeles (USC), Lenox (Tanglewood), Fontainebleau (Conservatoire Américain) and Paris. His teachers have included Nadia Boulanger, Jacob Druckman, Bruno Maderna and Elliott Carter. Rodríguez first gained international recognition in 1971, when he was awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale Prince Pierre de Monaco by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace at the Palais Princier in Monte Carlo. Other honors include the Prix Lili Boulanger, a Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from ASCAP and the Rockefeller Foundation, five NEA grants, and the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Rodríguez has served as Composer-in-Residence with the San Antonio Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, Bennington College, The Bowdoin Music Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the American Dance Festival. He currently holds the endowed chair of University Professor of Music and is Director of the Musica Nova ensemble at The University of Texas at Dallas. He is also active as a guest lecturer and conductor.
Rodríguez’ music has been performed by conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Antal Dorati, Eduardo Mata, Andrew Litton, James DePriest, Sir Raymond Leppard, Keith Lockhart and Leonard Slatkin. His work has received over 2000 professional orchestral and operatic performances in recent seasons by such organizations as the Vienna Schauspielhaus, The National Opera of Mexico, New York City Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Boston Repertory Theater, American Music Theater Festival (now Prince Music Theater), Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Michigan Opera Theatre, Orlando Opera, The Aspen Music Festival, The Juilliard Focus Series, The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic, Toronto Radio Orchestra, The Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Knoxville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Boston and Chicago Symphonies, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. Rodríguez' chamber works have been performed in London, Paris, Dijon, Monte Carlo, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, The Hague and other musical centers. His music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer (www.schirmer.com/composers/Rodríguez) and is recorded on the Newport, Crystal, Orion, Gasparo, Urtext, CRI (Grammy nomination), First Edition, Naxos and Albany labels.

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