(Chile, 1980) studied several instruments, Hindustani classical music and philosophy before focusing completely on composition. He obtained Licentiate and Master's degrees in composition from Universidad de Chile, studied privately with James Dillon in London, and later got an MPhil from University of London and a PhD from University of Huddersfield, under Liza Lim, where he was also editor of the CeReNeM Journal. In recent years Alvarez has complemented his work as a composer with performances as an improviser in several countries

How would you describe your work?

I seek to create new musical forms with traditional materials, exploring strange, unlikely, somehow ‘irrational’ spaces, though often conveyed through a brutal formal simplicity, in contrast with richly detailed textures. My idea is to present aesthetic situations that no matter how simple, may open unimagined modes of sensibility, making us conscious of our own condition as sensitive subjects beyond what we’re used to, or what a market-dominated society may offer.

What does it mean for you to have been selected by Mixtur Open Call? 

It’s a great opportunity to work again with Ensemble CrossingLines, with whom I recently collaborated in a piece for the whole ensemble with myself improvising. I feel deeply flattered to have been chosen to collaborate again with them. As a composer, I feel I somehow share a work ethics and a creative sensibility with both CrossingLines and Festival Mixtur. Just thinking about this new collaboration immediately triggers in my imagination new musical spaces to be discovered.

How do you develop your work process once you received the commission?

To be honest, I just received the good news about this commission, so for now I’m in a very early stage of looking what instrumental resources will be available, what material I want to work with, what kind of formal projections I’m interested in exploring, and more generally, reflecting on how would this new piece be situated in the perspective of my recent works. It is important for me to always have questions that lead my compositional endeavours, which make sense of it beyond the merely technical musical aspects. All this, which may sound very rational and calculated, is always carried out following a creative intuition; imagination is the point of departure.

Ongoing and future projects?

2014 has been full of new exciting experiences, with artistic projects in London, Vienna, Querétaro, Barcelona and Huddersfield. Projects for 2015, after this new work for Mixtur, include a new piece for clarinet, viola d’amore and accordion to be premiered in London in June (H. Roche, M. Fusi and R. Luc), alongside a commission from Frankfurt-based ensemble Interface, for a UK tour they’re planning. I'll also resume my links with the Southern Hemisphere after several years away, which will take me to spend a lot of time between Chile and Australia.


Ⓒ Loren Holmes

Pedro Álvarez is one of the composers selected in Category 2b of the Open Call Mixtur 2015 and he's been commissioned for a new work for Flute, Sax, Piano, Percussion and Electronics,that will be played in Festival Mixtur 2015 by Ensemble CrossingLines.