Angel Illarramendi

Composer

Author

About

Angel Illarramendi Larrañaga, was born in Zarautz (Gipuzkoa) in April 1958.

At the early age of six, he took his first steps into music, singing at several festivals around the Basque Country, introduced by Manolo Urbieta.

From 11 years on, he started composing his first songs, playing the guitar self-taught. At the same time, he studied music and piano with Maria Barbara Aranguren, as well as secondary education.

At the age of 16 he begun harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition studies with Francisco Escudero at San Sebastian's Music Conservatory.

In 1978 his first recording was published, containing not only songs -it was a singer-songwriter album mainly- but also his first instrumental pieces. He embarked then on a tour around the Basque Country in order to introduce the album, from which the concert performed at "la Trinidad" Square in San Sebastian. The album stood out, due to a string quartet accompaniment.

In 1981, once finished musical studies, he started a brief but fruitful collaboration at the new-born Basque Theatre School "Antzerti". He composed the score for various scenic works (more information at "Work > Theatre work" section) as well as his first soundtracks, while teaching harmony at different music schools.

From the 1990's on he withdrew from teaching to dedicate entirely to compose both concert and cinema music.

Amongst his various concert works, the following; nine symphonies, his "Concerto for clarinet, piano, viola and orchestra", both his symphonic poems "Espacio sonriente" ("Smily space") and "Zarautz", his suite "Una historia reciente", his "Mass for 4 mixed voices and organ", and also the chamber opera "Zapatos de mujer"- are noteworthy, together with his chamber music output ("Work > Chamber music" for further information).

As a filmscore composer, he has worked with several directors and proucers ("Work > Film scores" for further information), being his collaboration with the producer Elías Querejeta remarkable.

Among several rewards he has received, the following awards and nominations must be mentioned:

"Premio del Circulo de Escritores Cinematográficos" (C.E.C.) (Cinematographic Writers' Circle Award), "Premio EL MUNDO DEL PAIS VASCO" (Basque "EL MUNDO" Award -newspaper-) and a nomination for the Best Soundtrack at the 1996 GOYA Awards edition for "Robert Rylands' Last Journey", by Gracia Querejeta.

Nominations to C.E.C. and GOYA in 1999 for "Cuando Vuelvas a mi Lado", by Gracia Querejeta.

2001 C.E.C. Prize Nomination for "Aunque tú no lo Sepas", by Juan Vicente Córdoba.

2002 CONDOR Prize Nomination (Argentina) for "Son of the Bride" (El Hijo de la Novia), by Juan José Campanella.

" Teledonosti" Prize 2003 (award given by a Basque TV channel) to a professional career.

CLARIN ESPECTACULOS 2004 Nomination and Argentinian CONDOR Prizes 2005 Nomination for Juan Jose Campanella's "Luna de Avellaneda".

Prize C.E.C. 2005 for "Hector" by Gracia Querejeta.

Nomination to GOYA 2005 for "Hector" by Gracia Querejeta.

Nomination to CONDOR 2005 (Argentina) for the film "Luna de Avellaneda" directed by Juan Jose Campanella.

The "7th Symphony" receives Best Spanish music record of the year "CD Compact 2009" award.

14th Toulouse Film Festival chose "La Buena Nueva" (an adaptation of the 7th Symphony) as best soundtrack in October 2009.

2011 - Illarramendi is awarded best classical music author by the Academy of Musical Arts & Sciences for his 3rd Symphony "HARRI ZURIA".

Videos

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

La música es mi lenguaje más íntimo y personal. Lo ha sido siempre, desde que tengo consciencia de mí mismo. Un lenguaje con el que puedo expresarme con naturalidad y soltura.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

La música es esencial y genuinamente humana, y la fantasía vive muy presente en los humanos.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

Tal vez marino, o astrónomo...

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

La música clásica tiene dos virtudes con mucha fuerza: su gran belleza y su poder escénico. Solistas, grupos de cámara o una orquesta sinfónica sobre un escenario tienen un gran impacto visual. La complejidad de los instrumentos, la atmósfera mágica de un teatro o un auditorio y la puesta en escena de los cantantes y músicos en general, ya en principio es un espectáculo a nivel estético. Eso solo en lo visual; que luego viene lo mejor, lo que vamos a oír. Claro que creo que tiene un gran futuro.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

La música va con los tiempos y siempre está viva; forma parte del ser humano. En el siglo XX en el seno de la música clásica hemos tenido corrientes muy intelectualizadas. No olvidemos que si bien la música es también matemática - la matemática está en todo - la matemática no es música. En este sentido, creo que en el siglo XXI está habiendo más libertad y menos prejuicios. También creo que vamos a entrar en un tiempo más espiritual.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Todo ser humano es creativo, y en el arte la creatividad es como la harina en el pan. El artista debe estar receptivo, creativo, ser valiente y con una buena técnica para olvidarse de ella y ser libre.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Hay que divertirse; la diversión es contagiosa, como la risa. Hagamos buena música y disfrutemos de ella creando una dinámica fluida, viva, apasionante.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

No tengo una pieza favorita. Cada obra tiene su momento y su tiempo. Una vez que tengo una idea, la dejo crecer; voy trabajándola, desarrollándola, manteniendo el equilibrio..., es toda una aventura llena de encuentros, sorpresas, dificultades a superar, mucho trabajo y mucha emoción.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Que no le tengan miedo ni tanto respeto. Que empiecen a abrir puertas y que disfruten de un mundo apasionante.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

El primer público soy yo, y me tiene que emocionar lo que escribo. Cuando lo consigo, pienso que se puede dar esa comunión con el público.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Mi última obra es una Cantata para Orquesta, Coro y solistas que se titula "Homo Spiritualis".

Así mismo, dentro de unos días se edita un doble Disco con mis obras: "Zarautz", Concierto para Clarinete, Piano, Viola y Orquesta y Séptima Sinfonía con la Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Orfeón Donostiarra y Coral de Zarautz. Se trata de la grabación en directo de un concierto monográfico que se me dedicó en Zarautz en septiembre del pasado año.Y ahora tengo entre manos una obra de cámara. Es un sexteto con Cuarteto de Cuerda, Txistu (flauta vasca) y Trombón.