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Composer and guitarist Ernesto Cordero (born in 1946 in New York and raised in Puerto Rico) has composed a large rich catalogue where he has embraced the music of the Caribbean and used its Afro-Hispanic flavor as a basis for his own language. He has written six concertos (three for guitar, one for violin/mandolin, one for flute-piccolo and one for the Puerto Rican cuatro), a variety of chamber works in which the guitar appears in diverse ensembles and numerous guitar solos, some of which have become standards. He has received important awards for composition and his music is performed and recorded worldwide by the finest artist. To date, there are more than forty recordings of Cordero's works and all of his several dozen compositions that include the guitar, have been published appearing under the banners of leading publishers, for example; Max Eschig (France), Berben (Italy), Chanterelle, Antes Edition and Hubertus Nogatz (Germany), Doberman-yppan (Canada) and Mel-Bay Publications (USA).
Although Ernesto Cordero is now generally known only as a composer, the New York Times reviewer Peter G. Davis highly acclaimed Ernesto Cordero's January 1978 New York Carnegie Recital Hall debut as a guitarist and as a composer: "His technique is impeccable, remarkable for its finger independence and ability to clarify and articulate the most complex textures. The colorist variety of his playing is also extensive, and the subtle interplay of tonal nuances gave each piece a solid musical profile as well as supplying a beguiling sensuous wash of sound". Of Cordero's compositions, the New York Times review said, "...like Mr. Cordero's performances they projected a healthy combination of skill, sensitive invention and sound musical effect".
Milestones for Ernesto Cordero have been the performances and recordings of his guitar concertos: the 1978 and 1983 premieres in Puerto Rico of the Concierto Evocativo and the Concierto Antillano, the 1988 performance of the Concierto Antillano in Paris by the Philharmonic of Radio France under the baton of his close friend and colleague Leo Brouwer, and the 1991 premiere at the Sixth International Congress of Guitar in Mettmann, Germany of the Concierto Bayoán. Ernesto Cordero's countrymen Iván Rijos, Leonardo Egúrbida and Juan Sorroche have all performed his concertos, as have leading international performers including, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa Lima, Manuel Barruecos, Costas Cotsiolis and Alírio Díaz. The Concierto Antillano, has been recorded three times, first by Costas Cotsiolis and the Philharmonic Orchestra of liege directed by Leo Brouwer (Música Viva MV 88.045), later by Carlos Barbosa Lima (Concord CCD-42048-2), and more recently by Angel Romero who made a video of the Concerto (Corporación de las Artes Musicales). Presently, the San Juan Orchestra directed by Roselín Pabón has recorded "Tres Conciertos del Caribe", an all Cordero CD which presents the Concierto Evocativo with Leonardo Egúrbida as guitar soloist, the Concierto Bayoán with Iván Rijos as guitar soloist and the Concierto Criollo with Edwin Colón Zayas as soloist on the cuatro, the characteristically Puerto Rican folk lute which is double strung with metal strings like the mandolin or the bandúrria (Tropical Concerti CD).
Ernesto Cordero began his higher studies in 1963 when he entered the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico and he continued at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, Spain where he earned a diploma in 1971. Subsequently, he did post-graduate work in composition with Roberto Caggiano in Rome, Italy from 1972 to 1974 and with Julian Orbón in New York from 1977 to 1978. He first studied guitar from 1961 to 1964 with Jorge Rubiano and he later worked with several teachers, most importantly Regino Sainz de la Maza in Spain in the 60s and Alírio Díaz in Italy in 1972. Since 1971 he has been affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico, where he now holds the title of Professor in both the Departments of Composition and of Guitar. In addition to his activities as composer, performer and teacher, Ernesto Cordero, was music director since 1980 to 1997 of the International Guitar Festival of Puerto Rico. He is in demand throughout the world as a distinguished participant in leading competitions and festivals.
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