Rodrigo Mata

Rodrigo Mata: VIII Decennium for Unaccompanied Double bass

Rodrigo Mata: VIII Decennium for Unaccompanied Double bass

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About the Composition

This work has been commissioned by master David Heyes, who is organizing a great celebration for the 80th birthday of the great composers and bassists Frank Proto and Teppo Hauta-aho. These great musicians, who have contributed so much to the musical literature of the double bass, have been the reason and the inspiration for the present work, which has had the intention of express in a brief musical moment, a few of the character and the colors that emerge of the works of these great composers and translate them into a new creation. The musical contribution that these great composers have made in the last 50 years is a large catalog of works that have allowed us to explore new sounds on the double bass, new stories to tell, new pieces to perform and are part of a unique and interesting repertoire that personally motivates me to continue playing my instrument and to continue composing for it.

"VIII Decennium" is a piece that uses the resonance and sustain of the instrument as a predominant resource, especially the open strings and harmonics. The introduction is presented with an insistent rhythmic figure that recites a melody between chords creating rich and warm support to the phrases, here full-bodied pizzicatos are used, letting some notes vibrate, the use of harp harmonics (technique provided by S. Scodanibbio), and the particular effect of multiphonic in this type of harmonic (technique provided by T. Hauta-aho). Subsequently, after a calm last pizzicato chord, a new voice emerges with the bow addition, this is the intermediate part in which two voices with different timbres (pizz and bow) carry out a small contrapunctus game, which gives way to the final speech that It transforms the previous rhythmic character into a small choral that gives a contrasting turn to the piece, using double notes and mixing high harmonics with notes from the lowest register played at the same time. It ends with a long and spectral note full of artificial harmonics obtained by the extreme vibrato, the use of the ponticello, and the lightness in the bow. The last note is as the last tiny bell that sounds before the final silence and, as a musical joke, it is reminiscent of the combination of pizz and bow that developed in the middle of the piece.

This work has been premiered by Rodrigo Mata himself virtually in July 2020 for the "Quarentine Challenge" competition of the International J.M. Sperger Competition organized and directed by Christine Hook, remaining as a finalist. In the same way, it has been premiered in a virtual concert by MUSHAMUKAS double bass ensemble on August 12 from León, Mexico.

About the Composer

Bassist and composer born in 1985 in Guanajuato, Mexico, he graduated in double bass at the University of Guanajuato. Concurrently, he studied with Valeria Thierry (Mexico) in Mexico City and, in 2010, completed an academic stay at Mount Royal University in the city of Calgary, Canada, with Sheila Garrett (Canada), John Hyde (Canada) and Rubim de Toledo (Brazil). From 2019 to 2021, he studied for a Master's Degree in Music Performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Dan Styffe (Sweden) and Håkon Thelin (Norway). He has received master classes from renowned musicians such as Stefano Scodanibbio (Italy), Bertram Turetzky (United States), Frank Proto (United States), Markus Stockhausen (Germany), Dominic Seldis (United Kingdom), Thierry Barbe (France), Jeff Bradetich (United States), among others.

As a soloist, he has premiered works by contemporary composers in Mexico, the United States, and Norway. He has performed with Calgary Youth Orchestra in Canada, Orquesta de Cámara de Leon, the Norwegian Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, Ensemble 3030, and the Bergen Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently a bassist in Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato, as well as several chamber music and jazz projects. He is conductor and founder of the double bass ensemble "Mushamukas," with which he has premiered works by avant-garde composers and with which, in 2022, he was a beneficiary of FONCA's Programa de Fomento a Proyectos y Coinversiones Culturales. In 2021 he was a beneficiary of Programa de Estímulos a la Creación y Desarrollo Artístico (PECDA) as a creator with trajectory.

As a composer, he has won first prize in the 2020 and 2022 ISB (International Society of Bassist) Composition Contest, first prize in the 2021 FICI (Festival Internacional de Contrabajo Infantil) Composition Contest, and has been the resident composer of the Latin Orchestra of Europe in 2021, his works have been performed in Norway, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Germany, Venezuela, Peru, and the United States.

Both as a performer, as a composer, and as a director, he has participated in numerous international events such as the International Cervantino Festival, the Fjord Classics Festival, the International Festival of Contemporary Art, the Callejón del Ruido International Festival, the International Jazz Festival in Irapuato, the Convention of the International Society of Bassists and the Baja California Latin American Double Bajos Festival, to name a few, and has made album recordings with the Tagma Records, Quindecim Recordings and Evidence Classics record labels.

Additionally, he has served as a teacher in the Community Orchestras of the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, Trinitate Philharmonia, and continues as a double bass professor at the University of Guanajuato.

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