Alejandro Viñao

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(‘Water’ sextet) . . a diverse program of strong performances, adventurous works, and two masterpieces by Alejandro Viñao and Toru Takemitsu at New World Center.
Dorothy Hindman, South Florida Classical Review, Nov 2, 2014

". .  the most innovative material of the festival  . . .  holding the torch for the future of new opera  . . .   Baghdad Monologue was a work for a solo performer and live electronics which commented on the middle-eastern intervention. It was constructed from small soundbites, some abstract noise, others obvious references to everyday life: the call to prayer, George Bush's voice; the innocent sound of children playing. These were blended into (Frances) Lynch's voice, used to punctuate it; they faded in, out, were sometimes distorted or bled into one another to create an exquisite patchwork of politically-charged aural meanings. Baghdad Monologue depends on its music to refer to different cultures. If we want to see contemporary opera continue to flourish, then undoubtedly, this 'gestalt' approach is its foremost champion".
Classical Music Magazine  - 13 September 2011

“Alejandro Viñao combines long distances in time and space in his music. It seems easy for a composer of a global era . . . it is like a wind that brings different sounds and rhythms to his ears from different parts of the world and from different periods of time in history  . . . Vinao’s electronic works seem to ring in some timeless space”
THE HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Helsinki, March 7, 2006

"Intensely musical mind"
THE GUARDIAN

“This show (The Baghdad Monologue) was the best theatre production I have ever seen .. technically stunning! . . . It’s a brilliant satire and critical annihilation of Bush and his ‘Shock and Awe’ strategy that is ultimately as moving as it is visually compelling"
AllMediaScotland, Mark Gorman,
September, 2009


"Son Entero shows with evidence his great mastery of the musical writing"
Le Monde de la Musique, october 1990

” a very original and somewhat mysterious kind of music.”(Estudios de Frontera).
Donald Waxman, Palm Beach Arts Paper,  2014



"Pungent, original and imaginative was G
O by Alejandro Viñao, an exuberant tape-piece................... refreshing evidence here once more of a musical spirit at work that is not used by, but uses technology to its own ends: for one the equation is the right way round".
Financial Times, March 30, 1981.

“a frenetic picture of chaos and grief . . . aesthetically breath-taking"
(The Baghdad Monologue)
THE SKINNY, November 4, 2009

“high-energy excitement” (Tumblers)
Chicago Tribune,  October 18, 2011


"A Bold, Vigorous Viñao in Museum Concert: ........ a composer of both vigorous imagination and solid craft. His clearly shaped concerto (Triple Concerto) encompassed brooding beauty, violent musical collisions and, under all the bravura effects, a confident sense of identity.
......... a work of passion and freedom."
John Henken, Los Angeles Times, December 19,1987


" ...the evening's major work was the absorbing Triple Concerto by Alejandro Viñao: over half and hour of vigorous and inventive tape sounds from flute, cello and piano, juxtaposed with live contributions from the same players."
Nicholas Kenyon, The Sunday Times, 10 March 1985


" Viñao's Hendrix Haze is, I believe, one of the most accomplished tape-pieces to be made anywhere in the past decade."
Financial Times, 17th March 1984.

"Powerful and impressive: one of the most exciting combinations of rock energy and classical formal strength that I have heard for some time." (Hendrix Haze)
Keith Potter, Classical Music, April 30 ,1983.

.... a very substantial work indeed (Triple Concerto) ; it mixes tape and live instruments to produce a kind of virtuosic and almost romantic expression that I found quite new."
Classical Music, April 13 ,1985.


"Viñao's composition (Go) avoided all the cliches of electronic composition: it created its own absorbing world and above all sounded like music rather than a collection of effects."
THE GUARDIAN


" Most interesting musically of the two festival programmes I attended was Hendrix Haze by Alejandro Viñao .........an impressive tape-piece which uses the Fairlight's remarkable potential to the full without ever resorting to easy clichés.
Dominic Gill, Financial Times, March 12 1983


" Great ingenuity and complexity (Triple Concerto)"
William Glackin , The Sacramento Bee, April 27, 1987.


".....mesmerizing and wholly convincing ..... " (Triple Concerto)
Nancy Miller, THE BOSTON GLOBE, November 10, 1987


" ...., all with such lucidity and directness (Triple Concerto) that the final section bringing the entire ensemble together made a powerful impact"
Meirion Bowen, THE GUARDIAN, December 1, 1988



".... highly polished surface (Go), its inventiveness and scope become ever more appealing. It is the EMAS popular classic."
Paul Driver, Financial Times, April 24, 1986



Mastery of the computer is but one step: it takes a creative person to use it as a musical instrument. Alejandro Viñao is such a composer........ Viñao works wonderful manipulations and the listener is soon deep into the fantasy. The live trio plays episodes grateful to the instruments and tightly fitted in rhythm to the computer, imaginative and vivid. Viñao's Triple Concerto is an original."
Rob Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle, December 7,1987



" .... Alejandro Viñao's Son Entero for voices and tape seemed to declare a point of arrival for electronic composition. A point where it can take the technical complexities for granted and be music. "
Michael John White, THE INDEPENDENT, September 11, 1989



"The sense of propulsive, rhythmic swing (Tumblers) was one big thing about it. Another was the palette of witty, sensuous fresh sonorities. Alejandro Viñao is a composer one wants to hear more of."
Richard Buell, THE BOSTON GLOBE, April 24,1990.


" Attention, a name to remember ! Viñao has touched all the musical genres of today, including rock and music theatre. His work "Son Entero" for 4 voices and computer seduces us through its direct force and its effectiveness which never fails."
Elisabeth Sikora, DIAPASON Harmonie, November 1990.



"Viñao's music presents a fusion of Latin temperament and British technical skills: the computer-generated part that wines among the voices of Son Entero whirls through spectacular flourishes and moves on to driving percussion as the excitement mounts. With its engaging sounds and power to grip the imagination, this makes one of the best recorded introductions to a musical world where much of the most exciting work in Britain is happening. "
Robert Maycock, THE INDEPENDENT, 1990


" Son Entero especially (with its sampled Latin percussion among other imports) generates from the computer imaginary orchestras of enormous sophistication and a very human sense of gesture and timing. ..... a composer for whom technology is neither a fetish nor a prison, just the natural vehicle for his musical ideas."
Richard Barrett, THE WIRE, March 1991


" Son Entero for four voices and computer-generated sound, is often intense but still very attractive, sonically fascinating music. Viñao knows how to communicate. That is what makes this fully-digital disc an attractive choice even for those relatively new to computer music."
American Record Guide, January/February 1991



" Alejandro Viñao achieves in these two electro-acoustic works (Son Entero & Triple Concerto) a rare mastery over the electronics' integration with living participants, particularly in terms of euphony. Composers who synthesize, like economists, are obliged to learn highly technical , volatile skills, which lead them not infrequently into dead-ends. And then we've the likes of this beacon of hope.The composer's taste for the luscious dominates Son Entero. Sensuality is not without its dangers: Viñao walks the line between substance and mere mood and it pleases to report that substance triumphs, as befits the fruit of the creative, rather than the decorative, mind. One looks forward to hearing more."
Fanfare, January/February 1991


" This work for four voices and computer (Son Entero) is available on WERGO, a dazzling recording that couples Singcirle's performance with Viñao's Triple Concerto for flute, cello , piano and computer. Lyrical and ominous by turns, the concerto casts the computer in a role both contrasting and complementary to the instruments".
TIME OUT, May 22/29, 1991


"Alejandro Viñao's Son Entero is one of the most impressive compositions with computers. The work combines an extremely well written vocal score with the refined sounds of new technology. Viñao succeeds in the musical recreation of text-structure, always returning to the motto 'son entero', as well as in the creation of a sensuous musical language.
Martin Moller, Trierischen Volksfreund, 23/24 March, 91


"This is a virtuoso work (Son Entero), accompanied by a vivid electronic score, and complete with a compelling Latin-American swagger. "
Stephen Pettit, THE TIMES, May 29, 1991


"The eruptive 'Toccata del Mago' by the Argentinean composer Alejandro Viñao is a work of exuberant imagination."
Världens Gang, Oslo, October 12, 1992


" A vivid route through exotic rhythms and colours (Algebra on Fire)"
HAM & HIGH, London, October 16, 1992


" A fascinatingly free development (Chant d'Ailleurs) of an idiosyncratic style of singing and sound, based on a Mongolian folk tune"
Dagens Nyhelter, Stockholm, September 9, 1992


" Viñao's imaginative range and dramatic sense made this (Chant d'Ailleurs) a vivid and convincing experience."
David Wright, The Musical Times, September 1993
" A muscular icebreaker: like Alejandro Viñao's Latin-American-explosive Marimba Concerto which received its first UK performance at the expert hands of Robert van Sice and the London Sinfonietta."
Meredith Oakes, THE INDEPENDENT, July 28, 1993



"One would say that the composer is a great inventor who used technology to transcend the possibilities of the voice and of polyphony to create his own universe of sound; singular indeed, as is shown by the three following pieces. It was already clear two years ago that Chant D'Ailleurs had invented a multicultural music.
Viñao's work is a defiant protest against all academia. His music is complex...... but without complexes."
Jacques Bonnaure, LA LETTRE DU MUSICIEN, May 1994


"The listener, attacked by the acidity, the sharpness of these bagpipe-and-young-goat quavering, by the animality of the girl (the singer) worked up by her own cries, is immediately provided with the basic essentials of the astounding message of this pseudo-rural, subtly erudite little marvel, Chant d'ailleurs; discreetly and effectively "technological", situating its musicality between the brutality of the jet and a sophistication full of tact, grace, elegance (evoking the best of Berio: in the light harmony and airiness of its sweet, refined vocalities).
Otherwise, slim heterophony, which is thickened without losing its quality of slimness, by demultiplication of finesse - a feat: multiple slivers of a quivering musical epithelium, set on a thousand levels, in height and in space.
In particular, the hierarchy and balance of these thousand veils of vertical sounds and echoes strike me as being organically perfect, compared to the living "kernel", the human source in the centre, based on voices and simulated animal cries; the dynamic balance of the frail barques of these chords unerringly brings together the simple and the complex; invisible writing that is both generous (global) and finely woven, thread by thread."
Jean Christophe Thomas, LA LETTRE DU MUSICIEN, Feb. 1992


"For dessert, Dinosaur Annex offered up one of its "greatest hits" the Triple Concerto of Alejandro Viñao......The form is sectional, alternating episodes for tape solo, tutti, live instruments solo and with tape, all interweaving in fabulous ways. There is a brilliant finale tutti and an even more brilliant whizz-bang coda. This was a dynamite concert.
Susan Larson, THE BOSTON GLOBE, Nov. 1,. 1994



"One composer, however, who did show that a true synthesis can be made was Alejandro Viñao. His Borges y el Espejo, for soprano (superbly sung by Frances Lynch) and tape manipulated the flow of the acoustic pitches and slides - inspired by the melisma of Turkish singing- in and out of the electronic elaborations, with tremendous expressive flair. What VIñao had particularly well worked out was a sophisticated play of overlaps, points of rhythmic co-ordination, areas of separation and coming together, between the two media, with one event truly triggering another."
Michael Zev Gordon, The Musical Times, May, 1995


"Alejandro Viñao uses "technology to develop a rural and ethnic tradition" in his own terms. (HIldegar's Dream CD). He does so with such mastery that his mixed compositions (which combine the very supple Frances Lynch to a computer always loaded with delicate intentions) achieve a veritable timeless beauty."
Pierre Gervasoni, DIAPASON Harmonie, January 1995

"breaks new expressive ground" (Rashomon: the opera)."
THE SUNDAY TIMES, 25–7-99


"a ravishingly beautiful section in which flute and vocal line change timbre, intensity and dynamics as they curl around and colour Masago’s melismatic narrative" (Rashomon)."
THE STAGE, 22–7-99


".....most convincing because of the material, the composition and the brilliance of the interpreters. The British experimental theatre group Vocem performed Alejandro Viñao’s ‘Rashomon’ - an entrancing, intense re-retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese film classic"
Badisches Tagblatt, 3-11-1997


The most convincing work of the evening comes from the Argentinean composer Alejandro Vinnao. In a tight-knit production by Henry Akina, the brilliant singers of the British vocal theatre troop Vocem dramatically tell anew a classic story: ‘Rashomon’, in a libretto by Craig Raine. The rich sound-collage, inspired by eastern music, really takes off. The work covers new terrain of expressive, potent deployment of the human voice in a rhythmically pronounced way - and exploring the extremes. It will cut a swathe across larger stages than this.
Stuttgarter Zeitung, 4-11-1997


"(Rashomon)... the players or singers of the Vocem Electric Voice Theatre adhere to the prescribed musical process, compete with the sometimes bizarre machinery and produce something truly unprecedented. The human voice does not merely follow pitch or rigid rhythms but becomes, in pursuit of the highest expressiveness, a swichbox of the soul."
Die Rheinpfalz, 3-11-97


Of vocal, instrumental or concrete origin, the material treated by Viñao (Rashomon) always achieves a high degree of dramatic power. It reveals the details with subtlety and projects brilliantly the dominant characters.
Le Monde 29 –6-99


Viñao has an unerring sense of drama which keeps the intensity unflagging (Rashomon).
Time Out 7–7-99

"a lesson familiar from the Noh-drama, less is more, has been learnt to powerful effect." (Rashomon).
THE SPECTATOR, 31–7-99

“ overwhelming percussive force and intricate polyrhythms " (RIFF)
PUBLICO, Lisbon, July 3, 2008


“ The Baghdad Monologue, written and composed by Alejandro Viñao, communicates most effectively.  . .  when (Fances Lynch, soprano) vocal power is unleashed . . . it's incredibly moving ”
The Scotsman, Scotland, September 19, 2009

“Alejandro Viñao’s Baghdad Monologue is a pulsing, abrasive electronic work”

The Times, September 23, 2009

“Viñao’s (music is an) inspired blending of Arabic singing styles with electro-acoustic rhythms and the sound of children’s voices” (The Baghdad Monologue).

The Herald, Scotland, September 17, 2009

My favorite, however, was Alejandro Viñao’s Khan Variations , a twisting series of melismatic variations based on a Qawwali theme previously recorded by Pakistani vocalist Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan, given a seductively husky and rich resonance on.

FANFARE, April 18, 2010