ArticlesNo. 103, Fall 2018

Ricardo Lorenz: A Post-Colonial/Modern Latin(o) American Composer

European art music was brought into the Euro-baptized American continent by the Spaniards and Portuguese as an art discipline that supported the conversion to Catholicism, and, in general, its colonization. Nevertheless, Latin American composers—using agency, creativity and the process of transculturation—appropriated and transformed this music tradition to produce their innovative and hybrid art music works according to their culture and history. The article examines a selection of composer Ricardo Lorenz (Venezuela, 1961) musical works, philosophy, and artistic persona. In order to understand how and why postcolonial/modern theories opened up new paths for Lorenz’ musical works, this article introduces Ricardo Lorenz as composer and cultural agent related to Latin American and Latino communities in the United States with his positions of Interim Director of the Latin American Music Center at Indiana University (1987-1992), Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, Armonía Musicians Residency Program (1998-2002) and Latin IS American (2013-?) at Michigan State University’s College of Music. Then it discusses some of the ideas, such as the cultural monopoly of constructing an art music canon; building a racial/cultural division of the “Self” and the “Others,” the global music industry’s imposition of marketing tastes and distribution channels, and the representation of Latin American art music works and composers as exotics, within Lorenz text “Voices in Limbo: Identity, Representation and Realities of Latin American Composers” (1999). This methodology prepares us to engage with a conceptual analysis of two works by Lorenz—Mambozart for piano (1995) and the Pataruco Concerto for maracas and orchestra (1999)—to demonstrate Lorenz’s musical language and aesthetic, which reflects his fluency in cultural diversity and political philosophy in addition to reminding us what the process of transculturation stands for in Western art music composition and sounds.