Eduardo Soto Millán

Saturday, 15 December 2012. — General

Eduardo Soto Millán

Born in Mexico City in 1956. Studied music at Escuela Nacional de Música of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and attended Julio Estrada’s Laboratorio de Composición, in addition to courses given by, among others, Ramón Barce (harmonics), Rodolfo Halffter (analysis) and Jean Etienne Marie (microtonalism and musical acoustics). He also studied techniques of concrete music and electroacoustic music with Antonio Russek.

He founded both the Grupo de Música Contemporánea of the Escuela Nacional de Música at UNAM (1979), and the Ensamble Intermúsica (1984), dedicated essentially to the creation of multimedia events. His concern for protecting and spreading Mexican music led him, at the end of the 70s, to begin putting together a private archive of information on Mexican composers. He has also been in charge of music programming at Radio Educación; coordinator of musical activities at Casa del Lago-UNAM; a cofounder of Centro Independiente de Investigaciones Musicales y Multimedia (CIIMM); head of the Departamento de Música de Camera de la Dirección de Música de Difusión Cultural at UNAM; coordinator of the “Alicia Urreta” workshops for musical writing and servicing musical instruments of the Conjunto Cultural Ollin Yoliztli; founding president of Sociedad Mexicana de Música Nueva (SMMN); coordinator of Registro Nacional de Compositores del INBA; founder of Centro de Apoyo para la Música Mexicana de Concierto (CAMMC) in 1993, executive secretary of CAMMC; national coordinator of music and opera at Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA); artistic director of Foro Internacional de Música Nueva “Manuel Enríquez,” and coordinator of El Art de lo Intangible, Música Mexicana INBA-SACM.

He has coordinated musical events such as the Festival Hispano–Mexicano de Música Contemporánea (1981), Jóvenes Compositores, at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (1982), La Computadora y la Música (1992) and Primer Encuentro Latinoamericano de Arpa (1993). He has also created other events including Temporada de Otoño—Compositores Mexicanos (1989), 50’s–60’s–Otros Compositores, Otra Música (1985), Con Voz Propia—Compositoras Mexicanas (1988) and Música Electroacústica Mexicana (1988).

He has also written criticism music criticism for theater, dance, film, video and concerts, through his contributions to several newspapers and journals such as Proceso, La Jornada, El Financiero, Unomásuno, Pauta, Performance and PregónArte, and has given classes at Escuela Nacional de Música of UNAM, and, from 1976 to 2008, at Escuela de Iniciación Artística No. 3 of INBA. Between 1995 and 1996, under the auspices of the Atlantic Center for the Arts, he was invited to work as resident composer of Grupo Relâche at Arizona State University West. He is the author of the first dictionary of 20th century Mexican concert music composers, the Diccionario de Compositores Mexicanos de Música de Concierto: Siglo XX, published by Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de México and Fondo de Cultura Económica.

He has composed music for theater plays, including Raíz de Mandrágora, A Tu Intocable Persona, A los Cuatro Vientos, Calabaza en Tacha and En un Suspiro, as well as music for choreographic works such as Coreomúsica, La Bolivariada, Leyenda and Imágenes con Niña Solitaria Lejos del Mar. He gives talks and lectures and takes part in round tables on Mexican music and presentations of books and recordings. He has been a judge in competitions of composition and music for theater.

In Mexico he has received commissions from Lidia Tamayo and Mercedes Gómez (1991), Héctor Robles Girón (1992), Mauricio Nader (2011), the Baquetofonía Ensamble de Percusión and Duo Dulcemelos (2012), Festival Internacional Cervantino (1989, 1994), Conjunto Cultural Ollin Yoliztli (1987), INBA Coordinación Nacional de Literatura (1988) and Coordinación Nacional de Música y Ópera (1988, 1993, 2012), Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical de CONACULTA (2009), and Instituto Queretano para la Cultura y las Artes (2011). In the United States he has been commissioned by the Atlantic Center for the Arts (1995) and in Spain by Universidad Hispanoamericana Santa María de la Rábida–Universidad de Sevilla for the Ollesta project in an event entitled “De Arte y otros Desamores—Pensamiento Estético de Fin de Milenio” (1992). His music has been performed in Mexico, the United States, Japan, Europe and Latin America, with notable debuts in the cities of Santa Bárbara, Phoenix and Tucson, as well as Madrid, New York, and Philadelphia, where he received critical acclaim in the local press. In 1992, he took part in the Terceras Jornadas Nacionales de Biblioteconomía (CNCA–INBA–CENIDIM).

In 1989, Concertistas Universitarios (UNAM) paid tribute to his work as a composer and as a champion of Mexican music. He received an honorable mention in the competition Música Mexicana para Danza (UNAM) in 1982, and in the Primer Concurso de Composición “Felipe Villanueva” held by Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México in 1986. In 2009, he received recognition for his contribution to art and culture in Veracruz (Veracruz Local Government). He was also awarded by Universidad de Guanajuato (Guanajuato Campus) for his participation as a sponsor of the Guanajuato international music festival Ecos y Sonidos in 2009.

In 1994, he began working as a producer of Mexican music recordings. He is currently a member of Sociedad Mexicana de Música Nueva, Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de México, Promotora Música de Concierto, Centro Independiente de Investigaciones Musicales y Multimedia, Centro de Apoyo para la Música Mexicana de Concierto, UNESCO’s International Association of Theater Critics, the Mexican Music Council (of the International Music Council headquartered in Paris) and the International Society of Contemporary Music (headquartered in Amsterdam).

As a composer he is mainly concerned with acoustic–spatial and perceptual aspects. His works are therefore characterized by the way they develop within a single, totalizing, sonic and visual environment, often marking his interest in mixed disciplines, particularly the relationship between music and movement (dance). This is highlighted by the use of certain systems of repetition that lead to a concretism clearly influenced by musical styles from ancient cultures in Mexico and Latin America. Today, his catalog runs to around 100 pieces of chamber, choral and symphonic music, including computer-assisted electroacoustic music, with particular emphasis on percussion instruments.


His catalogue includes works such as: Corazón sur (percussion quartet); Sol-lo. Composición III (harpsichord and tape); Contra-Sonata para un Cantante Mudo (voice and two pianos); Nindotocoxo (clay pots and electronic media); Cantos Breves para la América Mexicana (mixed choir a capella); La Pregunta Es la Respuesta (string quartet with electronic sounds) and El Breve Momento de Vida (salterio, piano and orchestra).

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