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Rodrigo Mata

Rodrigo Mata: HUUM Los animales de Tenochtitlán for double bass quartet

Rodrigo Mata: HUUM Los animales de Tenochtitlán for double bass quartet

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About the Composition

HUUM for double bass quartet is dedicated to those children and young bassists who are at a beginner or intermediate level and seeks to stimulate their creativity, inviting them to learn a little about animals, the pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico, of peculiar double bass sounds, and of course, experimenting with chamber music.

This piece takes the opportunity to introduce some unconventional double bass techniques that might seem strange, but turn out to be simple and fun, for example, the use of natural harmonics that can be played in the first positions of the left hand, the placement of the bow on the ponticello (bridge), the percussion on the body of the bass, the trill on harmonics or the scratch. In the same way, it uses more conventional techniques such as pizzicato, tremolo, glissando or ricochet.

The word "huum" in Mayan means "sound" and “Tenochtitlán” was the pre-Hispanic city on which Mexico City was later founded and in which a large number of animal species inhabited in those times, some more representative animals are those presented in this piece, especially the eagle and the snake that is found stamped on the Mexican national shield. The word “huum” and the historical-geographic reference connect perfectly with the primary objective of the work which is to sound and recreate the sounds of four representative animals of Mexico, the eagle, the rattlesnake, the jaguar, and owl, as well as sound and perform a theme that is developed around pre-Hispanic music, the sound of birds and traditional Mexican music.


This piece was awarded first place in the composition competition of the International Children's Double Bass Festival (FICI) and premiered by MUSHAMUKAS double bass ensemble in fall 2021.

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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