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REVIEWS

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International Press and Reviews

 

[...] when one of Elizondo's compositions is performed today by the San Jose Symphony at the San Jose America Festival, he'll not only become the youngest living composer to ever have his music played by the orchestra, but he'll also be bolstering the bridge the symphony has been trying to forge with the Latin American comunity. [...] Leonid Grin, the Russian-born conductor of the San Jose Symphony, said [...] Elizondo's piece [...] is symbolic of the many cultures that call the United States home. It will be performed along with the compositions of such masters as Tchaikovsky and Copland.

 

Jeordan Legon, San Jose Mercury News (July 6th, 1996, U.S.A.)

 

Jose Luis Elizondo [...] enriches Mexican classical music with his compositions, now performed at venues in England, Scotland and cities of our neighboring country. [...] His music has served as an embassador for Mexico [...] It has served to rekindle the interest for Mexican nationalistic classical music and it has helped to share a vision of Mexico that is far from the stereotypes, and to demonstrate the cultural richness of the country.

Cecilia Ester Castaneda, Diario de Juarez (September 30, 1997, Mexico)

 

Brentwood Youth Orchestra has not earned such a rapturous reception from its audience since the days when the programmes regularly ended with a selection from West Side Story [...] Coincidence or not it was one of the rhythms that Bernstein borrowed for America which thrilled this audience in the last movement of the Estampas Mexicanas by Mexican composer Jose Luis Elizondo [...]

 

Estampas Mexicanas is exactly the kind of music to challenge and then captivate young players as well as audiences. The orchestra rose wonderfully to the challenge [...] The rare encore was well deserved by the orchestra, composer and conductor alike. The rest of the programme was eclipsed by this ending.

Peter Andrews, Brentwood Weekly News (March 9th, 1997, England)

 

The European premiere of the Mexican composer's 'Estampas Mexicanas' was a total triumph [...] The actual performance evoked the atmosphere and sounds of a Mexican street festival and colourful parades, Aztec ritual dances based on the flight of the Bird God and the fusion of Indian and European cultures to provide the distinctive sounds of the Mariachi Bands [...] Percussion, strings and brass dominated as the music swirled and danced. The composer beamed with delight when the orchestra played with such enthusiasm, proficiency and sheer joy. The audience went wild and demanded an encore.

Kerry Stephenson, Brentwood Gazette (March 20, 1997, England)

 

Altough the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 and Brahms Symphony No. 1 were capably performed and enjoyable to listen to, the highlight of the evening was certainly Elizondo's Estampas Mexicanas [...] The outset of Estampas makes one immediately aware of the fantastic colors and rhythms which imbue this work [...]

 

I was easily won over by Elizondo's colorful orchestration and rhythmic flair. His gift for melody was faithfully executed by the orchestra members [...] the winds seemed to provide an endless flow of sunshine that reflected the Latin American origins of the musical landscape [...]

 

The MITSO percussion played with characteristic vitality and brought to life a dimension of music that is so rarely heard in "traditional" European classical music. Elizondo received a standing ovation from members of the audience who clearly enjoyed the piece as much as I did.

 

Thomas Chen, The Tech (December 12, 1995, U.S.A.)

 

Estampas Mexicanas [...] is based on national folk music with clear references to the style of Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chavez and Manuel M. Ponce. [...] It is a fascinating piece, specially the second movement. It departs from the classical vision of "tourist" Mexico in terms of nationalistic language employed.

Radko Tichavsky, Diario de Monterrey (December 12th, 1996, Mexico)

 

Mexican composers Arturo Márquez, Samuel Zyman, José Elizondo, Leonardo Velázquez, Jorge Córdova, Eduardo Angulo y Joaquín Gutiérrez Heras triumph in the American capital city [...] This work [Estampas Mexicanas] demonstrates that Mexican nationalistic music is still alive and well.

Jose Alfredo Paramo, El Economista (June 12th, 2002, Mexico)

 

Elizondo presents in "Estampas Mexicanas" a convincing platform for understanding and experiencing Mexican folklore. The carefully crafted composition presented a hommage, as well as a snapshot of the evolution of nationalistic music in Mexico throughout time.

Mario Montenegro Uribe, El Informador (December 12th, 1996, Mexico)

 

David Tanner and Jose Elizondo are two contemporary composers chronologically separated by a

distance of about thirty years, but that certainly share poetic expression and technique [...] favoring a

direct musical style that knows how to communicate and get right to the heart of the listener. They adopt a straight-forward tonal style, using themes clearly grasped and often repeated, sustained by pervasive and enthralling rhythms.

 

The orchestration is sparkling, and the emotional content of each song, with few exceptions, is bright cheerfulness, accentuated, in the case of Elizondo, by the use of catchy melodies of South American folk inspiration.

Filippo Focosi, Kathodik (January 19th, 2013, Italy)

 

These two composers [David Tanner and Jose Elizondo] have a lot in common, though one is from Mexico and the other from England. They both have an affinity for energetic, rhythmic and tonal compositions that sound refreshing and enjoyable. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve heard another collection of new music for a very long time that struck me as so listenable as these, and I felt I had to review it right away. They each have varied backgrounds and experiences, but their music seems to immediately appeal to the listener, and will probably do so internationally as well as in North America.

 

José Elizondo’s music is simple and straightforward. He likes to share elements of his Latin American roots with his audiences, and his orchestral works are performed around the world. Estampas Mexicanas was inspired by the music of Mexico’s Carlos Chávez, as well as the mysticism of Revueltas and the romantic lyricism of Ponce. Its last movement brings together European and Mexican sounds, including a symphonic version of a mariachi band. The piece has been performed around the world, including even Antarctica. The Moravian musicians perform both composers’ works to a T.  This is a fine collection of new orchestral works that one need not fear in any way.

 

John Sunier, Audiophile Audition (November 17th, 2012, United States)

 

Elizondo [...] writes in an affable, contemporary style which he claims might be “too simple” for certain tastes. But his pieces Estampas Mexicanas, Leyenda del Quetzal y la Serpiente and Danzas Latinoamericanasclearly reflecting his rootsare joyful and engaging and the two orchestras conducted by Petr Vronsky, Vit Micka and Robert Ian Winstin perform with great bravado. This is definitely “music with a smile on its face”and who’s to say we don’t need more of that these days?

 

Richard Haskell, The Whole Note (March 29th, 2013 – Toronto, Canada)

 

Musicians’ Comments

 

About Danzas Latinoamericanas:

 

I was privileged to have discovered and performed a work of such refreshing charm as 'Danzas Latinoamericanas' [originally] written for two celli by José Luis Elizondo. I am confident 'Danzas' will assume a prominent place [...] as a gem of inspiration, melodic inventiveness and rhythmic vitality. The languid sensuality of the second movement, a Brazilian Samba, is unspeakably beautiful. I cannot think of another work in the musical universe that more effectively evokes the flavors and colors of Latin America than 'Danzas' and we cellists are lucky enough to call it our own!

 

Robert Deutsch, cellist, Houston Symphony Orchestra

 

About Estampas Mexicanas:

 

Driven by exciting and varied rhythms and shaped by beautiful, characteristic melodies Estampas Mexicanas is a favorite of players and audiences alike. This well crafted piece makes effective use of a wide variety of percussion instruments [...] Each of the three movements can stand on its own. Conductors will be challenged to conduct the shifting meters but will find the effort rewarding.

 

Maestro Wayne Toews, Music Director, Saskatoon Youth Orchestra

 

About Pan de Azucar:

 

Pan de Azúcar is an elegantly beautiful piece, lyrical and limpid. It charmed our audience, and my orchestra fell in love with it from the start. It is a real gem of a piece which engages listeners and performers alike.

 

Troy Peters, Music Director, Vermont Youth Orchestra

 

About La Leyenda del Quetzal y la Serpiente:

 

La Leyenda del Quetzal y la Serpiente was a perfect fit for our festival "Mexican Journeys 2002". It explored the imaginary world of the Aztec myths and transported audiences to the magical places of Aztec dreams. The music is hauntingly descriptive --the exotic indigenous world depicted by a mixture of folkloric elements and classical romanticism.

 

Sergio Buslje, Music Director, Pan American Symphony Orchestra

 

About Estampas Mexicanas:

 

Its Mexican flavor has a refreshing vitality [...] particularly those passages which explore the pre-Columbian roots of Mexican culture.

 

Robert X. Rodriguez, composer-in-residence, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra

 

About Estampas Mexicanas:

 

Very attractive composition

 

Vladimir Ashkenazy, Music Director, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester

 

About Estampas Mexicanas:

 

Our performance of Estampas Mexicanas met with great enthusiasm at our concert yesterday! We opened the concert with the piece and people were already applauding right after the first section!

 

David P. Schwan, President, Chicago Businessmen's Orchestra

 

About Princesa de Hadas and Excursion a la Montaña:

 

Jose's writing for flute centers around his beautiful melodies, which make his music as enjoyable to play as it is to listen to. His wonderful programmatic titles never fail to inform and inspire my performances.

 

Sarah Twichell, Flutist, The Hart School of Music

 

About Estampas Mexicanas:

 

It was a great pleasure to work with Estampas Mexicanas which combines innate, expressive sensibilities with fine compositional technique and secure orchestration. Both the audience and the orchestra thoroughly enjoyed this piece.

 

Dr. Bruce Polay, Music Director, Knox-Galesburg Symphony

 

Working with Elizondo

 

Jose Elizondo’s participation in the “Mexican Journeys 2002” music series proved invaluable in presenting a new perspective on Mexican music -- Mexican music that is not dance or mariachi music, but music that is dedicated to the concert halls with a hitch: It will make you want to sway, or dream, or even get up and dance. Mr. Elizondo effectively communicated the significance of his life’s endeavor to create orchestral music that is distinctly “Mexican”.

 

Mr. Elizondo is an excellent speaker who knows how to engage his audience. He has a charming sense of humor and is a treasure-trove of knowledge on history, culture and music. He was able to relay his vast knowledge to the audience in a concise and interesting way and the audience was eager to learn more. The result of Mr. Elizondo’s participation in this special “Meet the Composers“ segment of our music series was a deeply committed audience during the concert performances, an audience with an understanding of the music, and above all, with an enthusiasm that was unmatched in our previous concert series.

 

Maureen A. Dunn, Executive Director, Pan American Symphony Orchestra

 

Performing Jose Elizondo's flute music has been a source of delight for me. Not only do I personally enjoy performing his music, but my audiences have also commented on the charm and beauty of his pieces. His music is readily accessible to all listeners. Jose is open-minded about my performance suggestions and is always positive and kind-hearted in his responses. I particularly appreciate his willingness to attend my performances of his pieces and speak to the audience about his music. I only wish he had more time to compose additional flute pieces!

 

Laura Vincent, classical flutist

 

In early 2002, I asked Jose Elizondo to write new works for orchestra for a music festival dedicated to Mexican music. I consider Jose one of Mexico's most talented new composers and felt that the Mexican Journeys 2002 Festival would not be representative of Mexican symphonic music without Jose's contribution. The Pan American Symphony Orchestra has performed several of Jose's works in the past, and always with an enthusiastic response from our patrons.

 

Over the past 12 years, my goal has been to bring new Latin American works to American concert halls. Following in the path of Manuel Ponce, Jose Elizondo has brought a renewed focus on Mexico and its rich musical traditions through his dynamic compositions that continue to enthrall my audiences.

 

Sergio Buslje, Music Director, Pan American Symphony Orchestra

 

It was my great fortune that Jose accepted my commission to write a musical piece for the woman I loved. The beauty of the resulting composition was beyond what I expected. I feel honored to have been involved in the generation of this composition [Princesa de Hadas], which started as a present for my beloved, but has now transcended its scope to become a great addition to the flute repertory.

 

Dr. Patricio Mendez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Thank you for sharing "Danzas Latinoamericanas" in our October 29th fine arts recital at Milby High School. The experience of hearing music drawn from their Latino culture introduced this largely Hispanic student audience to the possibilities of classical instruments and music being relevant media for their own thoughts and feelings as they grow toward adulthood.

 

Charles Powell, Head of the Fine Arts Department, Charles H. Milby Senior High School