Cardona, Alejandro (b. 1959, San José). Costa Rican composer of mostly orchestral, chamber and piano works that have been performed throughout the Americas and in Europe; he is also active as a filmmaker and guitarist.
Prof. Cardona studied composition privately with Jorge Luis González Fernández in 1975-76 and with Curt Cacioppo, Leon Kirchner and Ivan Tcherepnin at Harvard University from 1977-81. He also earned a Master's degree in image synthesis and computer animation from Portsmouth University and the Utrecht School of the Arts in 1999.
He has received many honors. In the USA, he earned two BMI awards to Student Composers (1975-76), the composition prize of the Brookline Library Music Association (1978) and the Hugh F. MacColl Prize for Composition at Harvard University (1979). In Costa Rica, his honors include the awards for best original music and best experimental video at the Muestra Costarricense de Cine, Video y Multimedia (1999, for Testimonios). He has also earned the national music prize Aquileo Echeverría three times (1999, for Códices [Son Mestizo III]; 2000, for Bajo sombras; 2002, for En el eco de las paredes).
Abroad he has earned First Prize in the Confluencia de la Guitarra of the Ministère de la Culture in Martinique (1984, for Guerrilleros) and a special mention in the Isla de la Gomera competition in the Canary Islands (1999, for RinoSONoronte [Homenaje a Benny Moré]). His music has been performed in Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, the USA, and Venezuela.
Prof. Cardona is also active as a researcher, most notably on Caribbean and Meso-American music, which he studied extensively in Mexico. He also co-wrote the sight-reading book ¿Dónde está la Má Teodora? (1997, second edition, 2000, Editorial Nuestra Cultura). In addition, he has toured as a popular musician, including as a guitarist in the blues band Calacas Blues, and his films have been seen at many major festivals in the Americas and Europe.
He has taught as a full professor at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica since 1986 and has directed its Cultural Identity, Art as Technology program since 1996.
In addition to the works listed below, Prof. Cardona has created the interactive CD-ROMs La producción coreográfica en Costa Rica: los años 90 (1999-2000), Dramaturgia del bailarín/Cazador de Mariposas (2002) and Codex ICAT (2002).
Este compositor y guitarrista costarricense recibió estudios de composición en la Harvard University (Massachussetes), y ha estado bajo la tutela de Luis Jorge González, León Kirchner, Iván Tcherepnín y Curt Cacioppo. Radicó en México donde llevó a cabo investigaciones sobre música popular mesoamericana y caribeña. La activa participación de Cardona en foros y festivales ha hecho que su música goce de amplia difusión internacional en Latinoamérica (Venezuela, México, Colombia), los Estados Unidos, Canadá y varios países europeos, donde ha sido ejecutada.
La labor docente de Cardona es amplia. Trabaja en la Escuela de Música de la Universidad Nacional y en el Programa Identidad Cultural, Arte y Tecnología de esa misma institución. Además ha asistido como conferencista invitado a México, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Boston (Massachussets) y Pennsylvania.
Cardona ha recibido varios galardones; entre ellos el Premio Nacional de Música Aquileo J. Echeverría, el más importante que en su ramo concede en Estado costarricense; además una mención de honor para el Premio Iberoamericano Rodolfo Halffter de Composición, en 2004.
Cardona, además tiene una sólida formación en el campo de las artes visuales, desarrollada en Inglaterra y Holanda. Cuenta con una Maestría en Síntesis de Imagen y Animación por Computadora. Como cineasta tiene a su haber dos películas: Testimonios y Tejidos rebeldes.
De la obra musical de Cardona pueden destacarse “Códices (1999), “Bajo sombras”(2000), “En el eco de las paredes” (2002), “ Zachic 3” (2004), “Son mestizo”, “La Delgadita”, “Fantasía quasi una sonata”, para piano (sobre textos de Juan Rulfo).
Fuente de información
Calendario EUNA 2005, Editorial Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica
En el eco de las Paredes (Cuarteto No. 3)
for string quartet
This work was composed for the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. It has 8 movements which are to be played without pauses. (Even the silences between movements are strictly notated with written measures.) The end of each movement is the germination of the one that follows.
The quartet begins with a prelude, “Ecos” (echoes), which introduces, through a series of harmonic resonances in a choral-like texture, the sonority which characterizes the work, and especially the non-tonal modulations which are to be found in the second, sixth and eighth movements, “Ya se va … (canción)” (“They’re leaving now”).
The second movement, “Ya se van 1 (canción)”, is based on a villancico of Spanish origin. This tune is a cyclical element which reappears in the sixth and eighth movements. With each return, the tune finds itself in a new harmonic and contrapuntal setting. The last of these returns closes out the quartet.
The third movement, “Homenaje (danza 1)” pays tribute, from a Latin American perspective, to Beethoven’s the particular rhythmic sensibility, specifically that found in the second movement of his opus 135. Apart from the use of direct quotes, the idea was to freely explore the rustic dance-like character and the brusque non-conventional metric structures found in opus 135.
“La Sanmarqueña (interludio)”, (The woman from San Marcos), the quartet’s fourth movement, is a short interlude based on a tune from the Costa Chica of Mexico. The material is presented in fragments, like a memory that little by little comes together.
The fifth movement is a corrido with a serie of variations (denominated diferencias, as they were called by the Spanish Renaissance composers). The harmonic setting of the tune is the basis for the variations, like a chaccone. The transformations are more of a timbric and rhythmic nature than melodic.
Between the sixth and eighth movements is the “Toque de santos”, or “Saint drumming”, a rhythmic movement based on Afro Caribbean materials. In many parts of this movement the quartet plays polymetric patterns, like a drum ensemble.
The work takes its name from the following text by Mexican writer Juan Rulfo:
My hollow footsteps, repeating their sound in the echo of walls painted red by the sun at dusk.
Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo