Composers Festival spotlight: Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer

Resident composer Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer comes to the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival from Mexico City, Mexico.

She earned her doctoral degree in composition from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she was composer-in-residence for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble and also worked with electronic media at the McGill Digital Composition Studios.

Previously, she earned her Master of Music degree from Rice University and received her LTCL Licentiate in music composition from Trinity College London.

Alcocer (pictured) enjoys exploring multimedia and visual arts elements, adopting abstract and/or narrative components in order to combine electronic music with video. Her composition for the MICF is called “Spiraling Down the Rabbit Hole,” and will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the “World Premieres I” online concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27.

Other recent premieres include “Anemoi” for solo flute, performed by Teresa Díaz de Cossio in May at the University of California, San Diego; and “Heiligenschein” for harp and percussion, which will be performed by harpist Jane Yoo and percussionist Victor Sintchak on Thursday, July 8 at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME.

Alcocer has written for all genres of contemporary music from orchestral to chamber, chorus, solo instruments, electronic, video and installation. Her works have been performed by ensembles and soloists such as Gail Archer, The Het Trio, the Enso, Camerton and Carlos Chavez String Quartets, Duo Sonoris, Speculuum Musicae, the New York New Music Ensemble, Mexico’s National Symphony Orchestra, and many others.

Her orchestral work “Nemesis” was selected in 2010 to represent Mexico at the UNESCO 57th International Rostrum of Composers in Lisbon, Portugal, and also has been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Her piece “Oneirophrenia” for video and electronics has been presented at events and concert series in the United States, Canada, Argentina, the UK, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

Alcocer’s honors include first prize in the interdisciplinary competition “Spectacle des architectes et compositeurs” in Fontainebleau, France and the Paul Cooper Prize in Composition at Rice University, as well as awards from the Josef Dorfman Memorial International Composition Prize, Mexico’s National Commission for Youth Orchestras, the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists Programme, and the annual Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva Manuel Enriquez in Mexico City.

She has received grants and fellowships including the Fulbright Scholarship; the Mary Ellen Hale Lovett Fellowship from Rice University; the Program for Foreign Studies Scholarship by the National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA, Mexico); and the Graduate Excellence Fellowship, Provost Fellowship and Herbert A. Morse Memorial Scholarship from McGill University.

Alcocer took part in the 2016 MANIFESTE festival at IRCAM in Paris, France; served as resident composer at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; and has been a composition fellow at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, the Czech American Summer Music Institute, the Internationale Summer MusikaKademie in Germany, the Fontainebleau Conservatory in France, and the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop.

You can hear samples of Alcocer’s music on her website and in the embedded videos below.

“Nemesis” – Recorded in October 2016 at the Foro de Música Nueva

“Manifesto,” performed by Natalia Pérez Turner at the Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico City.

“Oneirophrenia” – Music, images, video and editing by Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer