"There is a lot to engage the imagination in Mr. Viñao's
THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Viñao carved compelling musical statements out of virtuosity,
engaging the ear in a fantastic harmonic language."
THE WASHINGTON POST
"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.