About the Piece

Estampas Mexicanas (Mexican Vignettes) is a suite featuring Mexican folk elements. The composer was inspired by the rhythmic vitality of the music of Carlos Chávez, the ritualistic mysticism of the works of Silvestre Revueltas, and the lyrical melodies of Manuel M. Ponce.
I. Ferial is a festive parade of simple, colorful, folk-like tunes and rhythms. The opening of this movement pays homage to composer Carlos Chávez, paraphrasing the opening measures of his “Sinfonía India”. But in contrast to Chávez’ work, Elizondo uses this rhythmic material in a lighter manner to propel his festive melodies and create a festive tapestry of sounds.

II. Danza del Pájaro Sagrado The second movement is an imagined Aztec ritual invocation of the sacred bird. The orchestration is sparse and symbolic. The heartbeat of the volcano is heard in the bass drum. The ritual dance steps of the priest are evoked by the rhythm of the congas. The layered musical in the strings creates a musical step-pyramid that the piccolo melody climbs to invoke the sacred bird.

III. Teotlalli includes a celebratory statement of this movement’s main theme in a symphonic version of the mariachi band.

Estampas Mexicanas was José’s first composition for orchestra, originally written as an assignment for a university class. It was premiered at an outdoor concert of the San Jose Symphony in California.

Duration: 10 minutes total (each movement is approximately 3 minutes long) The first and third movements can be performed independently

[Notes from the composer’s website]

Instrumentation — there are multiple versions:

Full Orchestra

1 piccolo
2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets
1 bassoon
2 trumpets
2 trombones
2 horns
3 percussion

String Orchestra + Flute soloist

String Orchestra + Percussion

String Orchestra

About the Composer

José Elizondo received degrees in Music and Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Harvard University, he studied musical analysis, orchestration and conducting. MIT awarded Jose the Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize for Music, and selected him as a Burchard Scholar. His main teachers at MIT and Harvard were professors Peter Child, Edward Cohen, Lowell Lindgren, Bill Cutter, James Yannatos, Constance DeFotis and Jameson Marvin. Elizondo’s technology work focuses on language-related technology that combines his interests in linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence. As a part time composer, he works with performers around the world to create compositions for orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Jose’s symphonic, choral and chamber music is performed frequently. Internationally acclaimed performers of his works include cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Prieto, Benedict Klöckner, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Guy Johnston, Sébastien Hurtaud, Carol and Sam Ou, Maximilian Hornung, Alvaro Bitrán, Giovanna Buccarella and Robert Deutsch; guitarists Eliot Fisk and Francesco Diodovich; violinists James Buswell and Yury Revich, as well as flautists Sefika Kutluer, Evangelina Reyes López and Orlando Cela.

José’s music has been performed by over 170 orchestras around the world, under the direction of distinguished conductors.

In addition to his musical endeavors, Jose has pursued his scientific and engineering interests. During his early life, he received national awards in Mexico for achievement in Mathematics. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jose participated in undergraduate student research projects for NASA, the Plasma Fusion Center and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. At age 23, Jose worked briefly in Mexico as an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Scientific Methods. And for the past couple of decades, he has worked in Boston at Nuance Communications with teams of engineers and language experts, developing state-of-the-art, multilingual, speech-recognition technology systems and artificial intelligence systems. Jose’s articles on technology, user-interface design and multilingual technology systems have been published in industry journals in Europe, Asia and North America. He has given presentations and conducted workshops on cross-cultural design and technology in Japan, Austria, England, Mexico and the United States. The Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston have given him certificates of recognition for his “outstanding and exemplary work for the Mexican community” and his “commitment and dedication to the Mexican community in the City of Boston”. [From the composer’s website]

Website: http://www.joseelizondo.com

Performance Materials

Performance materials are available at the composer’s website.

Please note:

“All sheet music (scores & parts) in this website are provided free of any charge, for study or performance purposes. No one is authorized to sell or rent them. The composer just requests that you acknowledge his authorship and that you send him a message to let him know of any performances of his compositions.” [email: elizondo@alum.mit.edu]



Recording of the version for “full orchestra” –