Ezequiel Viñao

Ezequiel Viñao, J.Y. Song

"There is a lot to engage the imagination in Mr. Viñao's work."

"Viñao carved compelling musical statements out of virtuosity, engaging the ear in a fantastic harmonic language."

"The powerful, evocative music of Ezequiel Viñao is a real find. It is intensely communicative without sacrificing invention and originality, which is no mean feat."

Ezequiel Viñao was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1960. At age 20, encouraged by the legendary American pianist Earl Wild, and through the auspices of the United Nations, he moved to New York City where he still lives. At the time, in addition to his activities as a concert pianist, Viñao immersed himself in the task of blending the classical instrumental tradition with computer generated sound worlds. In 1987 he was invited to the Festival d'Avignon to work with the late Olivier Messiaen. The result of these explorations was La Noche de las Noches. These "seven concentrated, evocative pieces, of austerely theatrical force" (The London Times), written for string quartet and live electronics, were selected by the European Broadcasting Union for over 100 broadcasts throughout the world. Other works from this period include The Voices of Silence, a four movement symphony for computers ("always beautiful, exquisitely sustained music" Express-News, San Antonio) and a series of works based on the twelfth century epic poem The Conference of the Birds. Scored for solo instruments and computers these pieces pushed the limits of man-machine interaction to new levels of virtuosity. Performances throughout Europe, in Japan and America were met with critical acclaim. The New York Newsday, reviewing a performance at the Museum of Modern Art, found the music "fascinating" and the computer manipulations as producing "a wonderful array of sounds." In 1992, the Boston Pro Arte Orchestra commissioned a work with live electronics to commemorate the discovery of America. But after El Sueño de Cristobal, "a hallucinatory vision of the sleeping admiral's dream voyage marked by skewed dance rhythms and accumulating textures of fevered intensity" (The Boston Herald), Mr. Viñao's interest begun to move away from the computer sound world.

In 1996, the composer's first monograph, at New York's Carnegie Recital Hall, was hailed by Jed Distler (Classical Pulse/Piano Today) for NCR: "what's immediately clear is the (music's) authority and sophistication", "the torrential energy", "there is nothing generic about this highly gifted composer, whose music, whichever way it turns, is always vibrant and alive."

Mr.Viñao has collaborated with major presenting organizations including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York; the Kennedy Center in Washington; the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; the Aspen and San Antonio Festivals; the Musikverein in Vienna; the Almeida Theatre in London; the Scottish National Orchestra Centre in Glasgow; the Presences and Bourges Festivals in France; the Helsinki Biennale; the Diligentia Hall in The Hague; the Shobi Institute in Tokyo; with musicians such as Dennis Russell Davies and Joseph Kalichstein; with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the American Composers Orchestra; as well as with chamber groups like Da Camera of Houston; Speculum Musica; the Smith Quartet and the Brentano String Quartet. His music has received awards from the International Music Council in Paris; the Argentinean Academy of Fine Arts; the New York Foundation for the Arts; the Djerassi Foundation in California; UNESCO's Rostrum of Composers, as well as three consecutive prizes from the International Society for Contemporary Music. In 1995 his Piano Études were awarded the Kennedy Center's prestigious Friedheim Award. Ezequiel Viñao studied with Jacobo Ficher, a Russian composer trained by Rimsky-Korsakov. He later attended the Department of Acoustic Musical Studies of the City of Buenos Aires. He is also a graduate from the Juilliard School, where his teachers included Gyorgy Sandor and Milton Babbitt. Current projects include an opera in collaboration with novelist Caleb Carr and a chamber concerto for violinist Leila Josefowich. Also in the works is a new recording -Arcanum - featuring Kristjian Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble.

Mr. Viñao's music is published by TLON Editions, New York and can be heard on the ICMA and Pro Piano Records labels. He also served as a consultant for Nonesuch's best-selling recordings of Gershwin's piano rolls.


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