Enrico Chapela

Enrico Chapela

Fellow: Awarded 2010

Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

Born in Mexico City in 1974, Enrico Chapela is gaining worldwide recognition as a superbly talented and highly imaginative composer. After receiving his undergraduate degree in guitar performance from the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios de la Musica (CIEM) in Mexico City in 1999, he continued his studies at CIEM, earning his Licenciate in compositional techniques in 2001, while also teaching music theory and composition there (1999-2006). Simultaneously he was devoting himself more and more to composing, supported by grants from both CIEM and Mexico’s Fondo National para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA). Moving to Paris in 2006, Mr. Chapela then earned a master’s degree in electro-acoustic music at the University of Paris Saint-Denis, under the direction of Horacio Vaggione and José Manuel Lopéz Lopéz. He is currently completing the requirements for his doctoral degree, under the supervision of Ivanka Stoianova at the same university, while again teaching at CIEM.

Among his compositions during the early years of his career are The Fourth Way (1996), a string quartet that was performed by the Camerton String Quartet at its June 1996 world premiere at Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico City, and recorded by that quartet on its CIEM-produced CD De sombras y cuerdas; La Condena (1997), for chamber orchestra, which the Tempos Chamber Ensemble, under the baton of Rafael Huberman, premiered at the Blas Galindo Concert Hall at the National Center of Arts in Mexico City in June 1997 and included on its CD 13 x 16. La Condena was the selected work at the Latin America and Caribbean Music Tribune and at the Mexian Music Tribune, and a recommended work at the International Rostrum of Composers. Mr. Chapela continued to amass honors and awards in the years that followed: his sax quartet La Mengambrea (2002) received an honorable mention in the Anacrusax Sax Quartet Composition contest in Mexico City (2002) and was chosen for performance at the 25th Manuel Enriquez New Music Forum in May 2003; and his symphonic poem Ínguesu (2003), which had been commissioned by SNFM-Mexico, received, among other honors, first prize at the 2nd International Alexander Zemlinsky Composition Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2005.

La Mengambrea and Ínguesu, as well as such newer pieces as Melate Binario, for acoustic guitar, and Lo Nato es Neta, a composition for rock trio and acoustic quintets commissioned by FONCA, were brought together on Antagónica, Enrico Chapela’s first solo CD of his own compositions, released in 2006. Produced by CIEM-Consecuencias with the support of FONCA, the CD featured performances by Gonzalo Salazar, Victor Flores, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Bellas Artes Wind Quintet, Mexico City Wind Quintet, Mexico City Brass Quintet, the Tambuco Percussion Quartet, and the Silvestre Revueltas Virtual Symphony Orchestra. The following year, Alvaro Bitrán included Chapela’s Dan-són, a composition for nine cellos commissioned by Bitrán, on his CD Mi chelada. Commissions from many other internationally known ensembles, orchestras, and musicians, such as the Dresden Sinfoniker, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and the New Paths in Music Festival followed, and resulted in a number of his other compositions being recorded.

Mr. Chapela's wide musical range has always been apparent, as he composed for piano (S.O.S., 2005), cello and electronics (Violonchelo al Cuadrado, 2005), percussion trio (Encrypted Poetry, 2007), string quartet and guitar quartet (Crucigrama, 2006), and chamber orchestra and electronics (Li Po, 2008-09), to list a few examples. In 2008, Boosey & Hawkes acquired the publishing rights to his entire catalogue and any new pieces produced during the ensuing five years.

During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, Enrico Chapela will be composing a work tentatively titled “Private Alleles,” a contemporary orchestral score in honor of the past two hundred years of indigenous Mexican life based on the mapping of the eighty-nine genes—or alleles—unique to the Mexican Mestizo and Amerindian populations.