Diana Syrse: Mexican composer
Ana Patricia Carbajal Córdova, Choral director and cultural promotor, Mexico
Diana Syrse is a composer, singer and conductor. She was born in Mexico on 3rd June 1984. She completed her musical education at a variety of prestigious institutions; National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Indiana and CalArts in USA. She had also previously studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, Germany. In the last year of her doctorate, she transferred to the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Today, I present you with a short text about a woman who has managed to do what she loves dearly. For me, it is a privilege to know her and to have been able to follow her career for such a long time. Her work and her struggles have been constant, which is why I am sharing this short interview with you.
What is it about choral music that grabs your attention?
The voice is one of the most fascinating instruments in the world because its timbre is unique. Choral music doesn’t have any barriers and is a powerful weapon which unites people all over the world and gives them the power to feel, share and make others feel.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Being a Latin American female composer in a world where the image of a male European genius is idolised. To see that I am the only woman doing what I am doing, that is making a living from composing and living my dream.
Is there anything that you would like to do that you haven’t been able to?
I’d like to write an album of songs for voice, instruments and synths that can be sold commercially, using my own lyrics. To make a experimental and romantic stochastic contemporary cumbia (a folkloric style of Colombian music and dance) with orchestra. Oh, and to travel to Indonesia.
What hopes do you have for the near future?
To live intensely and to live with love. Also, I am composing two operas: one for Berlin, another for Braunschweig. Additionally, I have a commission for the LA Master Choral for this year, that I hope can be successfully performed.
As a woman, have you faced any gender barriers?
Yes. At first, I didn’t realise, or maybe I didn’t want to realise, but I encountered many challenges along the way. Now, I fight for women’s rights, for integration and diversity, and I feel that by creating fascinating stories through my art, I can make change.
What does it mean to you to be Mexican?
Villoro once said that to be Mexican is to be a bottomless pit: there are so many ways to be it. For me, being Mexican is being honest with myself and being who I am as I am.
Ana Patricia Carbajal Córdova was born in Mexico City. She founded Ensamble Coral Voce in Tempore in 1989 and Voce in Tempora A. C. in 1997, a civil association dedicated to promoting, sharing and making choral music professional in Mexico. Since 1997 she has produced and hosted the radio programme Música EnCantada, which is broadcast weekly on Opus 94 of the Mexican Radio Institute. She currently holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Promotion and Development. She is director of the Taller de Iniciación Musical Tsiris of the Universidad La Salle, Coordinator of the University Choral Programme of the UNAM and of the International Festival of University Choirs. She is a member of the Board of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) representing Latin America. She is a professor at the Faculty of Music of the UNAM and gives workshops and lectures at various festivals. www.voceintempore.org
Reviewed by Vania Romero, Venezuela
Translated by Rebeka Angstmann, UK