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Maria de Alvear

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Biography

Born: 1960; Madrid, Spain  
Spanish-German composer, writer, and visual artist Maria de Alvear is known for her bold, imaginative, sometimes iconoclastic, and always powerful compositions which approach sound as a multi-faceted, and sometime mysterious, phenomenon reflecting the inexhaustible richness of space. Space, in her world, is not the rigid, constricting, universe, which, to paraphrase a one of Henri Bergson's insights about music, contradicts the profoundly Read more temporal essence of music; rather, her works, written for traditional and electronic instruments, and often enriched by artistic installations, video, dance, and text, create a complex, multidimensional space of layered sonorities, establishing a sonic palimpsest in which the listener discerns a whole array of realities -- physical, mental, and spiritual. At a superficial level, de Alvear's music, which freely incorparates stylistic elements from numerous musical traditions -- even challenging the generally accepted concept of classical music as distinct from music as such, offers an opulent, suggestive, sometimes surprising, palette of timbral and sonic effects; at a deeper level, the music takes the listener to the inner depths of space, to a realm of mystery and repose. "Her music," as one critic has written in a review of World, "does not develop; it accumulates: layers added, layers taken away." According to Maria de Alvear, musical composition is essentially a magical creation which directly affects the realm of everyday events, imparting life-giving energy to the world.

Born in 1960, in Madrid, de Alvear studied composition, conducting, piano, harpsichord, and organ. An important mentor was Mauricio Kagel, at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, with whom she worked in the 1980s. In 1992, she received the Bernd Alois Zimmermann scholarship. Performed at many important European venues, de Alvears' compositions include Seele (1990), for viola, cello and double bass; De puro amor (1991), for piano; Para todos los seres humanos sobre la tierra (1991), for voice; World (1996), for solo piano, second piano, and large orchestra; Libertad, for two vocal soloists, trombone, percussion, and two pianos; Land (1999), for two rappers, instruments, massage performance, and video installation; and Yourself, for piano and cello, which was performed at Lincoln Center, in New York, in 2002. Read less

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