Interviewed by María Guinand, IFCM Vice President for Latin America
When and where were you born?
I was born in Valencia, Carabobo province, Venezuela, on June 4, 1979.
Tell us a bit about your musical training in general
I started at the Sebastián Echeverría Lozano School of Music, and graduated from the recorder school in Valencia. In choral conducting I studied with Maestro César Alejandro Carrillo at the Conservatorio Simón Bolívar and in the choral leadership program with Maestra Lourdes Sánchez. I have done many courses, workshops, and masterclasses with conductors such as William Alvarado and Josep Vila, among others.
Who were your favorite composition teachers that inspired you?
I have had three mentors in composition: Franklin Garcés, César Alejandro Carrillo, and Dante Andreo. Throughout my career as a lover of music, composers of various genres have influenced me, among them Anton Bruckner, Francis Poulenc, my mentor Carrillo, Astor Piazzolla, Hans Zimmer, Henry Martínez, and Juan Luis Guerra.
How would you define your compositional style?
I have not been inclined to label my music. Those who have heard my compositions have said that they are characterized by a lyrical and subtle style, like in the soundtracks of romantic films. In that sense I base my music on jazz sonorities, while seeking out the directnness of choral writing.
What has your experience been as a choral singer or vocalist?
I’ve been connected to choral music from an early age. As a youngster I was a member of my municipal choir. During my college years, I sang in the Orfeón de La Universidad de Carabobo, and was leader of strings for four years. I had the opportunity to study voice with Maestro William Alvarado for five years, while at the same time singing with the Coro Sinfónico Regional Carabobo.
I have led choirs of various types. During 12 years of work in “El Sistema” I founded “núcleos” (arts learning centers) directing children and youth choirs with national and international profiles. Currently, I sing as a tenor in various choral groups in Madrid, Spain, and I direct Coral Génesis, also in Madrid.
What poets inspire you?
There are so many poets that I couldn’t possibly mention them all. I can start with Arthur Rimbaud, John Donne, Pablo Neruda, and Eugenio Montejo. There are others, not poets exactly, whose writing is exquisite such as Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar.
What themes do you like to explore in your choral works?
Recently, my compositions have been based more on sacred themes and texts that allude to love or nature. I am very interested in creating works which deal with vulnerable or forgotten populations such as the elderly, so the rest of the world can reflect on them.
What are your next composition projects?
I am highly motivated by composition competitions with specific criteria. The next one will be run by “Orfeo Catalá” in the coming year. I have a personal goal of creating a song cycle for children’s choir that includes objects and body percussion. The craft of making choral arrangements is always central to my work, and often the occasion arises for me to create something for my choir, or for any colleagues who ask.
Translated from Spanish by Joshua Habermann, USA