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Rodrigo Mata

Rodrigo Mata: Peregrino (Pilgrim) For double bass trio (2022)

Rodrigo Mata: Peregrino (Pilgrim) For double bass trio (2022)

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About the Composition

TRIO PEREGRINO (PILGRIM) is a sound journey through three spectacular places worldwide, as if the piece itself were a pilgrim who visits the top of the mountains and contemplates the immense landscape around each place. 

It is divided into four movements, the first is a very brief Prelude in which one bass recites a phrase with subtle variations while the rest remains on two drone notes. This fragment only alludes to the expectation of starting a journey.

The second movement is inspired by the American roots music, hillbilly, and bluegrass that had their heyday in the Appalachian Mountains area in the United States, hence the movement is titled Apalaches (Appalachia) as it portrays the musical culture of this region and develops around a simple melody accompanied by a rhythmic duet faithful to the style of bluegrass.

The third movement takes us to a contrasting sound inspired by the traditional music of the Middle East, right in the area where Europe connects with Asia. It is titled Pónticos (Pontics), referring to the homonymous mountains that are found in the north of Turkey. In this section, a new melody arises full of melismas, glissandi, and a very particular scale that passes through two microtonal intervals from which a peculiar sound sequence flows together with the percussive rhythm and the multiphonics that color the space with exotic textures.

The last movement is titled Mendip, alluding to the homonymous mount located in the southwest of England, which transports us to a very different landscape. This last section, inspired by the music of the English Renaissance, shows us a triumphant melody supported by chords made up of natural harmonics, ordinary notes, and a constant ternary rhythm like a Romanesca. In the end, it connects with a small coda that arises from a variation of the phrase set forth in the prelude, this time set out in a much lower register. All movements are attacca and must be played without interruption. 

Most of this work has been written in a traditional manner. That is, it does not have writing that can be considered contemporary. However, in brief moments it uses some unconventional double bass technical resources to enrich the sound textures of the piece, such as multiphonics, extended ricochet, microtonalism, battuto bow on the string and on the tailpiece, percussion on the fingerboard or the bass neck and the use of scordatura for one of the basses. 


This work has been commissioned by David Heyes and co-commissioned by Susan Hagen, Elizabeth Harre, Lynn Hannings, Eric Hansen, David Murray, May Halyburton, David Whitla, Rob Nairn, Chris Kosky, Liz Foulser, Marcos Machado, Sergio Barbosa, Martin Penning, Simón García, Joel Quarrington, Phil Parker, Jacob Head, Malcolm Healey, Davide Botto, David Desimpelaere, Chris Clark and Randy Zigler. And it is dedicated to the same David Heyes and Susan Hagen. 

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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