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Alejandro Viñao

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Alejandro Viñao

Biography

Alejandro Viñao (b. 4 September 1951, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an Argentinian composer living in Britain.

Viñao studied musical composition in Buenos Aires with the composer Jacobo Ficher. In 1976 he was awarded a British Council scholarship to study in London at the Royal College of Music and later on at the City University where he was awarded a Ph.D. in composition. He has been a British citizen since 1994, holding double nationality.

During the 1980s he worked at IRCAM in Paris where he developed a particular interest in sound interpolation (sound morphing), a technique that has featured in many of his compositions such as Chant D'Ailleurs which won the Prix Ars Electronica in 1992. Viñao has written orchestral and chamber music for the concert hall, opera and music-theatre, film scores, music for multimedia events and rock and popular music. He has also created and presented programs for the BBC, radio 3. He has written a number of percussion works, such as Khan Variations for solo marimba, which have become very well known in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

At the rhythmic level Viñao's work has been influenced by non-western musical traditions as well as by the music of Conlon Nancarrow. In percussion pieces such as Estudios de Frontera, Viñao used complex polyrhythms to realize with percussion instruments played by human performers ideas derived from Nancarrow's etudes for pianola. He also explored complex ideas on multi temporality using acoustic instruments combined with electroacoustic means, most noticeably in his string quartet Phrase & Fiction. Viñao presented his views on Nancarrow and his influence on a generation of composer such as himself in a BBC radio programme entitled 'Children of Nancarrow'.

Later work by Viñao's focused on social and political issues, writing music-theatre or concert pieces concerned with themes such as the invasion of Iraq (The Baghdad Monologue), the fate of deprived children around the world (Chicos del 21) and the financial crisis of 2008 (Greed).


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