Marina López2023 Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission Recipient
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Marina López’s LEAGUE COMMISSION Will BE PREMIERED BY Grand Rapids Symphony (date TBD).
An additional four orchestras will perform the work, part of a 30-orchestra consortium performing works commissioned by the the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program for women composers, an initiative of the League of American Orchestras in partnership with the American Composers Orchestra.
Marina López is a Pittsburgh-based composer, educator, and budding writer. She has a deep interest in challenging boundaries between musical genres and art forms in order to craft immersive experiences that subvert audience’s preconceptions. Born and raised in Mexico City, her music often explores the psychological, ethnomusicological, and physical roots of her heritage.
Her music has been performed by the Transient Canvas, the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, Counter)inductions ensemble, the Carnegie Mellon University Philharmonic, Kamratōn ensemble, and Bosto’’s White Snake Project, among others. She has participated in orchestral reading sessions with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, as well as an Earshot reading with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under Yue Bao.
Her first opera Not Our First American premiered at Pittsburgh Opera on April 13th, 2019, as part of Co-Opera, a year-long collaboration between Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon’s music and drama departments. Her second opera Rosa premiered December 2022 by Boston-based opera company Whitesnake Projects.
From March to April of 2023, she was awarded a 50th Anniversary Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Amherst, Virginia.
She approaches each piece as its own system, a universe with its own set of rules that govern its unfolding through time. Her goal is always to make these systems intuitively perceptible to the audience. For her piece Nieve (snow), she created a harmonic system based on snowflake crystals that governs not only pitch content but also the harmonic relationships that develop throughout the piece.
She is also interested in deconstructing and reconfiguring Western classical musical forms in unexpected ways. In her piece Folia she atomized the Renaissance dance form la folia, resulting in a fractal structure with smaller folias within larger ones.
From the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021 she developed and led a music education after-school program with local nonprofit Casa San José, which serves the Latino community of the greater Pittsburgh area. She also developed similar curricula for Volta Music Foundation, which seeks to make music education accessible to students in need in Latin America and create music programs that help underserved communities in the US.
Ultimately, her goal is to break down the barriers between the Western musical canon and the music of those who have been previously excluded from it.
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Photo Credit: Clare Welsh