Iluminada Pérez Frutos
The Artist's Music
Iluminada Pérez Frutos (Gerona, 1972) is a Spanish classical music composer and teacher. The composer Iluminada Pérez Frutos began her artistic career at the Badajoz Conservatorio Superior de Música¸where she obtained certificates in a variety of specialities: Guitar, piano, voice and music theory. She subsequently completed her studies in composition at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música “Victoria Eugenia” in Granada where the jury unanimously awarded her Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera (special prize for her final year thesis) in the speciality of composition. She is a graduate in business studies in accounting at the University of Extremadura. In 2008, she obtained her diploma in advanced studies from the University of Granada. She has completed postgraduate courses at the University of Alcalá de Henares given by William Kinderman, Juan Carlos Asensio, Benet Casablancas, Ivan Nomick, Michael Musgrave as well as composition courses given by Salvatore Sciarrino, Brian Ferneyhough, Cristóbal Halffter, Tomás Marco, José María Sánchez Verdú, Mauricio Sotelo, David del Puerto, Javier Darias, Manferd Trojahn, José Manuel López López, Jorge Fernández Guerra, Julio Estrada, James Dillon, Kaija Saariaho and orchestra conducting given by Pedro Halffter y Juan Luis Pérez.
Among other prizes, Iluminada Pérez has been awarded first prize in the Unna International Female-Composers Library(2008) held in Germany and third prize in the ‘Kazimierz Serocki 11th International Composers’ Competition’ (2008) held in Poland, second prize in the “Pablo Sorozábal” international competition for composition (2003) held in Spain, the Centro para la Difusión de la Música Contemporánea prize, in the framework of Encuentro de Composición Musical Injuve (2005) organised by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and was finalist at the 24th Alea III International Composition Competition which was held in Boston’s ‘Tsai Performance Center’.Recently Iluminada Pérez Frutos was awarded laureate of the Royal Academy of Belgium for the so-called Prix du concours annuel de 2011 en Musique: the official ceremony will take place in November this year .She has been commissioned by the National Institute for the Performing Arts and Music (INAEM), the premiere of which was performed by the City of Granada Orchestrain the context of the 23rd International Contemporary Music Festival in Alicante in 2007, by the association of symphony orchestras and composers foundation performed by the Extrtemadura Symphony Orchestra in 2010, by the Badojoz Philharmonic Societywith a grant from INAEM (2010), the premiere of which was performed by José Enrique Bagaría, by the Spanish Music Festival in Cádiz. Her other commissions include those from the Trío Arbós, the Ensemble neoArs with a grant from INAEM, the ‘Manuel de Falla’ chair of musical analysis and interpretation, and so on. Her next commissions include the prestigious Junta de Andalucía for a musical composition for a baby’s audio-book, from the Spanish Music Festival in Cádiz for a composition of a trio for piano and voice, the recording and publishing Lamentos de Dolor for organ for the Centro de Documentación Musical de Andalucía.
Recently, Spain’s Radio 2 dedicated its programme ‘Al margen: Inventario de Inventores’ to her. Her music has premiered at prestigious international forums like ‘Civic Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Art’ in Rome (2001), Residezgalerie in Salzburg (2001) organised by the Mozarteum University (Austria), World Forum on Music (2005) Hollywood, the Museo del Obispado (2008) Mexico, Paris. Her music has also been interpreted by Córdoba’s symphony orchestra, the soloists of the Madrid symphony orchestra and choir conducted by Gloria Isabel Ramos, the Andaluza chamber orchestra, under the baton of Michael Thomas, the soloists of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Proyecto Guerrero, Manuel Escalante, José Enrique Bagaría, Trío Kandinsky. She currently teaches at the Conservatorio Superior de Música ‘Victoria Eugenia’ in Granada and is completing her doctorate at the University of Granada. Awards.
Notes on the Musma Composition
“Al-Azhar -Aromas de leyenda“
Capturing the world: What does a musical note smell like, an E, for example? Does it smell like jasmine, orange blossoms, a spring afternoon permeated in absence, a myriad other sounds that, in turn, transport us back two centuries, to the early days of the grand piano? The evocation of Franz Liszt, the scents of the myrtle, echoes of andalucismo that, through the great Manuel García, suggest connections between flamenco, bandoleros, romanticism and smells. Iluminada Pérez Frutos works with all of these. The brilliant young Extremadura composer was born in Gerona and ultimately settled in Granada, the city that had always been waiting for her, was holding a place for her and today offers her an exceptional spot to première her homage to Liszt, “AL-AZHAR”, a work that saw the light in Alhambra’s Court of Myrtles, the only place in the world that lets us imagine with precision a suitable metaphorical correspondence between smell and sound, a completely original choice. “AL-AZHAR” is also evocative of the polo (a musical form), a kind of flamenco that is today less popular and that allows a rhythmic force of which Iluminada takes full advantage with the power of her ostinati (precisely above the E), the energy of her rhythmic changes and the poetry of her timbre. Al-Azhar is the name of the unfortunate protagonist in a suggestive legend from Granada’s Arabic past; intended, because of her beauty, for the sultan Alkabul, the young woman fell for the artist Xurán with fatal outcomes for both. But Al-Azhar’s presence did not disappear as it changed into the persistent aroma that, it is said, “…when the wind sweeps the Veleta, or when the breeze blows through Alhambra, a penetrating perfume, strange and unforgettable, spreads throughout Granada”. It is also said that every concert that includes a world première has additional historical value. For this reason, it is only fair to begin this commentary by mentioning the piece, AL-AZHAR, which was commissioned for the MusMA project and which includes a tribute to Liszt on the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth. Iluminada Pérez Frutos’s work offers a genuine blending of sensory references. Crossing the sense of hearing with the world of the sense of smell is not upheld by synesthesia (there is no correspondence between smell and hearing), but there are very intense associations. Iluminada, following the specialist Dario Sirerol, firmly believes these “impressions that, if not synesthesic, occupy an area very near the confusion of the senses”. And as the composer herself declares: “My objective has been and shall always be to extend music to the entire universe of senses and emotions.” The choice, which appears to have been custom-made for hearing a musical work in Alhambra’s Court of Myrtles where the souls (the duende) of Al-Azhar and Franz Liszt can be found, passing through the evocation of the musical form of Manuel García’s “Los contrabandistas” (The Smugglers), will take shape thanks to the “confusion of the senses”. The magic of smell will also in some way take shape and the secret of this we leave the author to cast the spell. Perhaps, after all is said and done, the greatest riches of Iluminada Pérez Frutos’s work lie in this new sensitivity that claims the confusion of the senses as the main method for capturing the world. Jorge Fernández Guerra