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Barbara Scales
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Unicamente la verdad
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Gabriela Ortiz

Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today, and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging in the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde; combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. Although based in Mexico, her music is commissioned and performed all over the world.

Recent commissions and premieres include her new videopera Unicamente la Verdad with Long Beach Opera in 2013 and Compañía Nacional de Opera in México city in 2010, Altar de Piedra for three percussion players, timpani and orchestra for Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with Esa- Pekka Salonen and Kroumata percussion ensemble; Zócalo-Bastilla, for violin, percussion and orchestra premiered by violinist Pierre Amoyal, percussionist Ricardo Gallardo and OFUNAM Philharmonic; Altar de Muertos, a string quartet commissioned by Kronos Quartet; Zócalo Tropical for flute, percussion and orchestra premiered by flutist Luis Julio Toro, and percussionist Ricardo Gallardo and Orquesta Simon Bolivar;100 Watts commissioned by Trio Neos; Seis piezas a Violeta for string quartet and piano premiered by The Cuarteto Latinoamericano and pianist Arturo Nieto and Baalkah a new work for Kronos Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Moreover her music has been played by prestigious ensembles, soloists and orchestras such as: Amadinda Percussion Ensemble, The Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra, Zoltan Kocsis, Sara Leonard, Alejandro Escuer, Onix Ensemble, Tambuco Percussion Quartet, The Mexican University Philharmonic Orchestra, La Camerata Chamber Players, Mexico City'Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Mälmo Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Claviers de Lyon, Steven Schick among others.

Ortiz has been honored with the Civitella Ranieri Artistic Residency; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; the Fulbright Fellowship; the Distinción Universidad Nacional; the First prize of the Silvestre Revueltas National Chamber Music Competition with her piece Altar de muertos (a work commissioned by the Kronos Quartet); the First Prize at the Alicia Urreta Composition Competition; the Composers Award and the National Artists System Fellowship from the Mexican Council for the Arts and Culture; Banff Center for the Arts Residency; the Inroads Commission, a Program of Arts International with funds from the Ford Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Mozart Medal Award for Mexican Theatre and Music as the best composer of1997 and The Fundación Cultural Bancomer Award.

In 1994 she wrote the music for the choreographic work Errant Manoeuvres performed by the Emma Diamond Dance Company at the Merce Cunnigham Studio in New York and in 1995 she completed the music score for the award winning film Frontierland produced and directed by Rubén Ortiz and Jessie Lerner.In 2000 she returned to film music with the music score for the Mexican film Por la Libre produced by Alta Vista films and directed by Juan Carlos de Llaca.

Born in Mexico City, her parents were musicians in the famous folk music ensemble Los Folkloristas, which was founded in 1966 to preserve and record the traditional music of Mexico and Latin America. She trained with the eminent composer Mario Lavista at the National Conservartory of Music and Federico Ibarra at the National University of Mexico. In 1990 she was awarded the British Council Fellowship to study in London with Robert Saxton at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1992 she received the University of Mexico Scholarship to complete Ph.D. studies in electroacoustic music composition with Simon Emmerson at The City University in London.

She currently teaches composition at the Mexican University of Mexico City, and at The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.

March 2016


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