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Firmly established as one of the leading Mexican composers of her generation, she has made her home in London since 1979 and her music is now performed widely around the world.
 
Her music has been acclaimed by the critics for the refinement of her craft, marked by the intensity of the relationship between time, dramatic force and poetical approach.
 
“whilst living in London and rooted in the contemporary European music, echoes of pre-colonial Central American cultures surfaces in her music, as well as a very definite essential strength channelled towards a refined and sensitive music always poetically framed”. Mundo clásico 2016
 
After studying at the Conservatoire in Mexico City with Mario Lavista she was an active participant in master classes at Dartington Summer School, studied with Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle and Richard Rodney Bennett. After graduating at the Guildhall School of Music, she obtained her Master of Arts at City University in London and completed her PhD at Manchester University.
 
Hilda has been recipient of important awards, such as the Rockefeller, Fund for Culture Mexico/USA the Fellowship from Sistema Nacional de Creadores, (FONCA) in Mexico and to name a few:
 
Collaboration with choreographers led her to receive the Music for Dance Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1988 for El Prestidigitador.
 
After taking part at the Garden Venture Opera Project in Dartington, she completed her first chamber opera The seventh seed, released by Mode Records (60).
 
In 2001 she was awarded the J.S. Guggenheim in New York for the creation of her opera in three acts El Palacio Imaginado, based on a story by Isabel Allende and with a selection of contemporary Mexican indigenous poetry. Commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte, English National Opera and the Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the production was premiered with much acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
She continues to be involved in the musical life of her native country, having taught at the University in Mexico City and several other music institutions and was also a radio producer of new music.
 
There is a testimony of a constant colaboration with Mexican poets and artists in her works. Such is the case of her requiem En el nombre del Padre based on poems by Jaime Sabines, the settings of ancient maya texts in Kamex ch’ab and Can silim tun both texts taken from Ritual de los Bacabe, as well as the constant references to surrealits paintings in Revelación and  Homenaje a Remedios Varo, the latter recently released by Mode Records (292) with Ensemble Recherche. As part of the Spanish pianist Alberto Rosado’s project E-piano, the recording of Páramo de voces will be published on line this year and includes a Dvd made by Bernardo Arcos of photographs by the award winning Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide.
 
After the portrait concert at Miller Theatre in 2012 the New York Times wrote she was “admired for compositions that mixmodernist rigor and extended techniques with a primal energy rooted in Maya lore. As well as A paax o’ob  and Corazón de Onix,  Señales, (Homage to Jonathan Harvey) a Miller Theatre commission was premiered at this concert.  Señales, a violin concerto, for Irvine Arditti was performed by its dedicatee with Ensemble Signal under Brad Lubman. The same performers recorded Señales  and the recording has been recently released by Mode Records New York (292).
 
During a long standing collaboration with the Arditti String Quartet which expands beyond two decades she has produced four string quartets and chamber works including Cotidales a piano quintet commissioned by the Melbourne Festival and released in Mode Records (145) together with Can Silim tun scored for string quartet and four voices commissioned by Neue Vocalsolisten, as well as Kamex ch’ab  written for the voices of Hilliard Ensemble and commissioned by the Festival de Música Religiosa de Cuenca where it was premiered in 2010.  Another work for countertenor and string quartet is Canciones lunáticas a setting by the Mexican poet Pedro Serrano, which together with an anthology of works written for the Ardittis’ can be found on a portrait CD Cuerdas del destino released by Aeon (1439).
 
The versatility of her work is manifest in a catalogue that includes electroacoustic elements like Altazor for baritone, ensemble and live electronics based on excerpts of the epic poem by Vicente Huidobro and commissioned by Festival D’Autumne à Paris and created at IRCAM. Various works with technology have been created at the Experimentalstudio of the SWR where she recently finished Sortilegio for harp, percussion and live electronics.
 
Recently completed works include Miles away, a trumpet concerto commissioned by Ensemble Contrechamps which was premiered by the star Venezuelan soloist Pacho Flores in Geneva in May 2016.
 
As a freelance lecturer, Hilda has taught composition and lectured at Manchester University, the University of San Diego California, University of Buffalo and other prestigious Universities in the US, at Centre Acanthes in France and in 2007 was appointed the Darius Milhuad Visiting Professor at Mills College in the US. In 2011, she was visiting professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona and in the 2015 Spring term at Dartmouth College in the US. She recently returned to Mills College as the as the Jean Macduff Vaux Composer-in-Residence, where a portrait concert of her chamber music was performed at the Littlefield Concert Hall.
 
Some of her lectures and articles have been published, more recently Cultural Roots, Connecting time and place in Musical Composition Arcana VII published by John Zorn in Tzadik, New York 2014.

Most of her works are published by University of York Music Press: www.uymp.co.uk
 
Hilda Paredes has been commissioned by soloists, ensembles and orchestras around the world. Her music has been performed by internationally renowned ensembles such as Trio Arbós, Arditti Quartet, Aventure, Court Circuit, Ensemble Intercontemporain, L’Instant donné, Hilliard Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble Sospeso, Grup Instrumental de Valencia, ICE, London Sinfonietta, Lontano, The New Julliard Ensemble, Neue Vocalsolisten, Ensamble Sospeso, Psappha, Ensemble Phoenix Basle, MDi Ensemble, Orchestra di l’Arena de Verona, RTE amongst others. Her music has been widely performed at important international festivals, such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music  and Edinburgh Festival in the UK; Eclat and Ultraschall in Germany; Festival D’Automne a Paris, Musica and Octobre en Normandie, in France; Wien Modern, in Austria; Akiyoshidai and Takefu Music Festivals, in Japan; Archipel and Music monat , in Switzerland; De Ijsbreker Chamber Music Festival, in Amsterdam; Warsaw Autumn, in Poland; Ultima, in Oslo; Melbourne Festival, in Australia; Festival of Arts and Ideas in the USA, Ars Musica in Bruxelles; Festival de Alicante, Festival de Música Religiosa de Cuenca and ENSEMS Festival, in Spain; Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, amongst others.

 

 

 

Senales

Señales a new CD (mode 292) of first recordings, Hilda Paredes’ third CD on Mode Records, has been released. It features three chamber works and two solo works, all written between 1995 and 2013.
Read more...
Review for Señales CD
in Sequenza 21
Review for Señales CD
in
The Guardian

Reviews for :
Revelación, Paris, 19th September 2011
AnaClase
ConcertoNet.com
ResMusica

Festival d’Automne à Paris
Bastille-Amphithéâtre in Paris
World premier of Altazor for baritone, ensemble and live electronics on a poem by Vicente Huidobro
Electronics created at Ircam by Lorenzo Bianchi

Discography:

-Mode Records New York (60):The Seventh Seed, chamber opera in 3 acts, for 5 voices, string quartet and percussion. Permutaciones, for solo violin.
-Quindicim (QP 1067): Metmorfósis for guitar.
-Euram Record ( Euro092-3): Nana de la Luna for mezzo and piano.
-Luna Negra (CDLN22): Tres Piezas In Memoriam L.J. for ensemble.
-Ediciones Pentagrama (PCD300): Globo, Luciérnagas, for mezzo and piano.
-Somm Recordings.UK (Salsa Nueva): Recordando a Celia, for piano.
-Mode Records New York(149): Uy U T’an for string quartet. Arditti Quartet.
Can Silim Tun, for 4 voices and string quartet. Neue Vocalsolisten and Arditti Quartet. Ah Paaxo’ob for large ensemble. Ensemble Modern 2001.
Cotidales, for piano quintet. Ian Pace and Arditti Quartet. 2001.
-Mode Records, New York (165): Uy U T’an. Arditti Quartet. Music from Mexico.
-Three pieces for double-manual harpsichord by Agueda González. Quindicim QP169.
- Quindicim (QP 186). Sobre un páramo sin voces by pianist Ana Cervantes.
-Move (3324). Tríptico: Caligrama, A contraluz, Parábola by pianist Michael K. Harvey.

Articles published:

The concept of time in the music of Elliott Carter, published and translated into Spanish. Pauta 42 (Mexico,1992)
Conversación con Luciano Berio, published and translated (from Italian) into Spanish. Pauta 47-48 (Mexico,1993)
The concept of time in Indian Music , published and translated into Spanish. Pauta 49 (Mexico,1994)
Música para Cuerdas y Helicópteros , interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen. La Jornada Semanal (Mexico 1996)
Verstilidad y desafío: London Sinfonietta y el Cuarteto Arditti, Doce Notas, Madrid January 2006

Recent publication on Hilda Paredes

Das ei(ge)ne und das andere, die Mexikanische komponistin Hilda Paredes by
Monika Furst-Heidtmann, January 2009 Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik.

Selected reviews

Selected reviews

‘síntesis de tiempos, espacios y culturas que se produce en el aparato estilístico de una
creadora que, si bien residente en Londres y muy arraigada en la música europea contemporánea, ve aflorar en su obra ecos de las culturas precolombinas centroamericanas, así como una fuerza esencial muy definitoria, encauzada hacia una música refinada y sensible, siempre marcada por lo poético.
Ese refinamiento se ha agudizado, y de ello son buena muestra las partituras
reunidas en este monográfico para el sello francés æon.’ Mundo clásico 2016
http://www.mundoclasico.com/ed3/documentos/28150/Retrato-f

Further linguistic flights rounded out the program. “Seed of Time,” a 2003 horn-and piano-quartet tribute to Elliott Carter by Hilda Paredes, had something of Carter’s nervy fluidity — of meter, of harmony — but also its own sense of broken communication, lively, dense textures carefully, woozily falling apart, then reassembling.
Boston Globe 2015. ICE Fromm concert at Harvard. http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2015/04/20/fromm/Y9C...

Hilda Paredes’s Cuerdas del destino (2007-8) also received its British premiere. From the éclat of its opening pizzicati, via an array of expressive devices such as glissando tremolo and harmonics, and a succession of contrasting types of musical material, this made for a vivid, at times almost, though only almost, pictorial journey. There is a palpable sense of drama to the work – as there was to the quartet’s committed performance. The concluding section seemed both old – recognisable material from what had gone before – and new, that material being employed in different ways. It registered almost as a translation of a cyclical symphonic principle to the world of the contemporary string quartet: not entirely unlike the Arditti Quartet’s very raison d’être. http://boulezian.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/sixtieth-birthday-concert-for-irvine.html

La tierra de la miel.
Finally, Violeta, another prostitute, tells of her friend Iris, slender and not yet 20, sent by her father to "a land of milk and honey … where dollars grow on trees." Iris' first rape was in the car even before she reached the border. The opera's last line: "I wither from sadness / a flower without dew."

Hilda Paredes provides sorrowful music here that is almost too much. She, like the other composers, is a substantial Modernist; her style is complex and difficult. But she knows how to drain substance away too, leaving meaningful emptiness.
LA Times, May 2013

Ms. Paredes, born in Tehuacán in 1957 and based in London since 1979, is admired for compositions that mix modernist rigor and extended techniques with a primal energy rooted in Maya lore. Here the new-music ensemble Signal, conducted by Brad Lubman, brought its customary authority to three works.
The first, “Corazón de Onix” (“Heart of Onyx,” 2005), for a sextet of winds, strings and piano, evoked a gemstone’s luster and mutability with sharp, glistening sounds, reshaped and refracted with microtonal smears and noisy outbursts.
“Señales” (“Signals,” 2012), newly commissioned by the Miller Theater, featured Irvine Arditti, the formidable English violinist who is also Ms. Paredes’s husband. From a lapping, splashing introduction, the music — played by a 10-member ensemble that included an ear-tickling mix of cimbalom, harp and marimba — rippled, surged and jolted ceaselessly around Mr. Arditti’s flashing exertions. Time stood still repeatedly during haunting interludes that paid homage to another composer, Jonathan Harvey.
The NY Times. 2012

The next piece, by Mexican composer Hilda Paredes, Cuerdas del destino (2007-8), was an intriguing counterpoint to the rest of the works in the program, since it simultaneously affirmed and denied the aesthetic of the other composers in the programme. Paredes’ music, though also
rhythmically complex and rife with extended string techniques, was more flexibly organic than the rest of the programme, with its graceful glissandos, col legno and toneless bowing.
New Music Toronto(2014) http://newmusictoronto.ca/?p=484

She creates masterful, colorful gestures, incorporating virtually every conceivable playing technique that has been explored in the last half-century. Somewhat exotic instruments make cameos, such as the cimbalom in Señales and steel drum in Ah Paaxo'Ob. The music is often highly polyphonic and shifts rapidly. Harmony and melody are possibly row derived, with occasional Webern-esque filaments of lyrical melody appearing and quickly disintegrating. Perhaps the most obvious reference to her Central American heritage is an energy that flows through the pieces, even in static sections, born of unique rhythmic combinations.
ConcertoNet.com - The Classical Music Network 2012

It would hardly be thoughtful not to invite Arditti’s wife to the party and Hilda Paredes’s second quartet, Cuerdas del destino, proved to be the most immediately appealing work of the evening. Formally, it is structured with intricacy, using a small number of striking motifs, but it also works as pure sound – like an Amazon rainforest, with buzzing insects, fluttering wings, and multitudinous drops of rain in a tropical storm (not at all, it has to be said, Paredes’s own description).
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/97152fde-3715-11e3-9603 00144feab7de.html#ixzz2j0VPZ6XK

Une fois le tapis de sol tendu et le décor monté sur le plateau des Bouffes du Nord, l’Ensemble Court-circuit – 9 instruments sonorisés –revenait sur un côté de la scène pour laisser évoluer les deux danseurs espagnols, Ana Luján Sánchez – également chorégraphe – et Toni Aparisi, sur la musique de la compositrice d’origine mexicaine Hilda Paredes. Revelaciòn emprunte son titre à la toile éponyme de la plasticienne espagnole Remedios Varo mais la musique n’est en aucun cas une tentative d’illustration: « C’est la rencontre des idées chorégraphiques et musicales qui ont donné vie à la pièce » nous dit la compositrice; et c’est bien ce magnétisme entre le son et la chorégraphie qui opère dès le début: entre le geste du chef – imperturbable Jean-Deroyer – et le mouvement stylisé de la danseuse, hissée sur les épaules de son partenaire au tout début du spectacle. Imposant le mouvement de leur corps sur la toile sonore, les deux danseurs savent habilement tirés partis de l’espace et des suggestions de la musique dans un foisonnement d’idées remarquablement exploitées.
Irréprochable quant à lui et très coopérant – Pierre Dutrieu (clarinette) et Stéphane Bidoux (cor) sortent du rang pour évoluer en solo –l’Ensemble Court-Circuit assurait une partie sonore extrêmement soignée et dans un parfait équilibre des sonorités.
http://www.resmusica.com/2011/09/22/coup-denvoi-de-la-saison-musicale-des-bouffes-du-nord-avec-lensemble-court-circuit/

Revelación (création mondiale) se penche sur la réalité temporelle et le rapport à autrui, thèmes inspirés à la compositrice et à la chorégraphe par la peinture de Remedios Varo. La communion entre musique et danse est totale au point que les deux arts penetrant dans l’espace vital de l’autre. Ainsi, deux musiciens de l’ensemble (clarinette et cor) s’aventurent-ils sur la scène réservée aux danseurs pour exécuter des solos. À leur tour les danseurs miment une étrange production du son qui donne un peu l’impression d’une rencontre entre deux univers parallèles. Simple et belle est l’idée chorégraphique de construire des mouvements en miroir de ceux du chef d’orchestre, véritable point de convergence entre deux arts jumeaux. L’abolition des limites dans l’espace réservé à chacun se manifeste aussi quand l’entrée sur scène des musiciens est théâtralisée par les danseurs, grâce à l’utilisation de chapeaux haut-de-forme, symbole de l’homme-personnage, du rôle à accomplir dans le théâtre et dans la vie, lancés au sol avant que la musique commence, à l’exception de ceux des solistes qui sur scène circulent entre les deux univers.
http://www.anaclase.com/chroniques/création-de-revelación-de-hilda-paredes

“Such emotional depth could be found in the comparatively spare, even sepulchral textures of Hilda Paredes' Canciones Lunáticas. These were three 'lunatic' songs set around a contemplation of the moon's solitary witness for a dark night, moving through a wild second song of lunacy, before emerging in celebration of the moon dancing 'by herself in the meadow' (this last set to a spectrally buoyant version of the Mexican ternary-binarydance, the huapango). The musical language of the setting was narratively alert, sometimes pictorial, sometimes obtuse, but always sensitive, agitated, and energised.” MusicalCriticism.com (2011)

“Besides his usual conducting duties, Burns showed to be a meltingly smooth trumpeter and flugelhorn player in Hilda Paredes "Ooxp eel ik'il t'aan," a 2007 work for percussion and electronics where Mayan poetry is read by author Briceida Cuevas (heard via a recording) to invoke ancient mysticism. This fusion of indigenous and modern American modes of expression bridged the millennia both convincingly and imaginatively.” Chicago Sun-Times May 21, 2010 BY BRYANT MANNING

“Paredes has often been included as part of a new generation of Mexican composers eschewing any division between northern and southern hemispheric musical cultures, focusing on the often tension-filled relations between them. And while it would not be inaccurate to compare Paredes’ chamber works to those of Ligeti, Xenakis, or Tristan Murail, it is her attention to the relationship between communication and miscommunication, conversation and noise, that sets her work apart. In thinking about Paredes’ chamber works, we can borrow a phrase from the philosopher Michel Serres, "the miracle of harmony." Reviewed by Eugene Thacker
School of Literature, Communication & Culture
Georgia Institute of Technology

“Her piece, "Uy u'tan", which means, "listen to their language" is the most striking on this disc. Each of the four strings has a different personality and they work together in strange ways, in odd combinations, coming together when you least expect it. This fine work makes me want to check out the other discs by Ms. Paredes” (2006) (Mode Cd 165)

“From the composer Hilda Paredes, ONIX performed Corazón de ónix, conducted by José Luis Castillo. This is a complex and ambitious piece, well written and with atmospheric and colouristic qualities. It also has solid treatment of different sound production of the instruments. These timbric qualities are enhanced by Paredes with the use of the bass and alto flute as well as bass clarinet. Corazón de ónix is marked by an interesting expressivity and by very attractive harmonic instability, which is enhanced by the use of micro-intervals and glissandi. All these elements merge in numerous moments of an evocative poetic sonority that is at the same time intense and concentrated”. La Jornada, Mexico. Juan Arturo Brennan. 2006

“Paredes, born in Mexico but long resident in London, should be better known. All four works are finely written and full of life. The title of her string quartet, Uy U T’an — in ancient Mayan — means Listen How They Talk, and Paredes takes the idea of “discourse” literally. The idea dates back to Haydn’s quartets, but she gives it an Arditti-ish twist, and the work has a superb dramatic sweep. The Ardittis are joined by the pianist Ian Pace for Cotidales and by Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart for the magic-spell evocation of Can Silim Tun. Ah Paaxo’ob (Those Who Play the Music) is a colourfully detailed ensemble piece.” Three stars. The Sunday Times (2005)

“The pieces on this disc were written over a three-year period, from the 1998 string quartet Uy U Tan through the settings of Mayan spells and incantations in Can Silim Tun (1999), to the piano quintet Cotidales and the ambitious ensemble piece Ah Paaxo'ob from 2001. All show that Paredes is a composer with a fresh aural imagination, while her Carter-like use of instrumentalists as dramatic protagonists gives her music an extra dimension. Superbly played, it's music worth investigating.” The Guardian (2005)
“I cannot resist praising the Homenaje a Remedios Varo by Hilda Paredes as outstanding, not to mention it’s acute and clear formal construction, with nothing less than a sweeping and impressive finale.”
Mundo Clásico. Spain. (2004)

“Amongst the jewels of the programme was the emotive and well crafted Homenaje a Remedios Varo, written in 1995 by the ascending Mexican composer Hilda Paredes.”
El Mundo. Spain. (2004)

“Watching the world premier of Hilda Paredes’ chamber opera Phantom Palace, I had the sort of out-of body experience where you say to yourself “This can’t be happening in New Haven”. I simply couldn’t come to terms with the realization that I was seeing topflight European modern opera, performed by a major international company premiering a ceaselessly provocative, unexpectedly comic and altogether amazing work…just a few blocks from my home. This is the kind of thing you feel you can only travel huge distances to see. But there it is: New Haven should be talking about Phantom Palace-in a number of languages- for years to come”.
NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE. USA (2003)

“Social activism finds voice in opera.
Ghosts visited the stage of Yale University Theatre this month, native ghosts from distant past of an unnamed Latin American country ruled by a brutal dictator….

In setting the story, Paredes evidently sought to draw on the musical qualities of the languages used to tell it, sometimes employing electronic means to manipulate her sound material (the spirit voices are made to come from different parts of the theatre), and sometimes using leitmotif textures (rather than themes) to evoke dramatic situations.
As her tale is one of pain, she has produce music of pain, full of angularity, pointillism and dissonances, often pervaded by an aura of tension and mystery.”
TORONTO STAR.Canada/USA (2003)

“What the music of the Maya’s sounded like, nobody knows anymore. But the Mexican composer Hilda Paredes searches for answers in each recorded thought, in each numerological symbolism, and thus in the roots of her own culture”
WIESBADENER KURIER. Germany. (2001)

Uy u t’an “Its rhythmic vitality seduced an audience that was previously sceptical to any proposal by this Latin woman… the reaction was shocking, but with a telluric presence, like our volcanoes.”
REFORMA. Lázaro Azar. Mexico/Canada (2001)

“…nothing to match the refinement of seamless, Mayan influenced “concerto for ensemble” Ah Paaxo’ob by the Mexican Hilda Paredes” Paul Driver, SUNDAY TIMES.London (2002)

 
 
 
 
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