Iturriaga, Enrique (b. 1918)


The renowned Peruvian composer Enrique Iturriaga was born in Lima in 1918. Between 1924 and 1939 he studied piano with Lily Rosay and began his studies in Theory and Harmony with Andrés Sas. After a time studying Economics at the Catholic University of Peru, he decided to dedicate himself to composition and was admitted to the National Conservatory of Music, where he studied this specialty with Rodolfo Holzmann from 1945 to 1950 and graduated as Professor of Composition in 1954. Still a student, in 1947 he was awarded the National Prize "Duncker-Lavalle" for his work “Canción y Muerte de Rolando” for voice and orchestra, with text by the poet Jorge Eduardo Eielson. The work was premiered in 1949 by Theo Buchwald and the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, with Gloria Colmenares as the soloist. In 1950 he travelled to Paris thanks to a scholarship from the French government, and studied with Arthur Honegger during 1950 and 1951. Upon his return to Peru, along with composition and teaching, he worked as chorus conductor and took part in the school music scene until 1958. Between 1953 and 1960 worked as a music critic for the newspaper "El Comercio” in Lima. In April of 1957 he was awarded the "Juan Landaeta" Prize for his work “Suite” for orchestra, in the competition celebrating the occasion of the Second Latin-American Festival of Caracas. The jury was comprised of Aaron Copland, Alberto Ginastera, Carlos Chávez, Domingo Santa Cruz and Juan Bautista Plaza. “Suite” was premiered by Carlos Chávez in Caracas, and a year later in Lima. In 1963 he travelled to the United States to acquaint himself with its universities and other higher institutions in the music field, and to study the work being done there. He visited Columbia University, Harvard University, University of Rochester, North Pacific University, University of Texas at Austin, Howard University, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Juilliard School, among others. That same year he travelled to Santiago, having been invited by the University of Chile to attend the Pan- American Congress of Musical Educators. The following year, in 1964, he returned to Chile to serve as a jury member at the Biennial Competition of Chilean Music. In 1965 he composed his symphonic work “Vivencias”, commissioned by the Committee for the Third Pan- American Festival in Washington D.C. and premiered by Lukas Foss and the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. In Peru he has also written music for the theatrical works of Sebastián Salazar Bondy, Julio Ramón Ribeyro and Alfonso La Torre, among others. Maestro Iturriaga has taught music from 1957 to present, mainly at the National Conservatory of Music (Composition, Harmony and Analysis), where he was Director between 1973 and 1976, and where he is, at present, Emeritus Professor. Until 1987 he was also a professor in the Arts Department – and is now Emeritus Professor– of the School of Letters at the prestigious National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas. Among his other works that have received awards are “Homenaje a Stravinsky”, composed in 1971 for cajón and orchestra, for which he received again the "Duncker-Lavalle" prize, and his Symphony “Junín y Ayacucho”, composed in 1974, for which he won the "Army of Peru" Prize. Enrique Iturriaga is co-author of the book “Music in Peru”, published by Patronato Popular y Porvenir in 1985. In 1988 The National University of San Marcos published his “Method of Melodic Composition”, a synthesis of the work that he developed in Lima and Quito for the Regional Program of Musicology (UNESCO-PNDP) between 1978 and 1981. In addition to the aforementioned works, other highlights are his works for piano: “Pregón y danza, “La máquina”, “Ensayos interválicos” and “Tres piezas para piano”; his works for voice and piano: “Cuatro poemas de Javier Heraud”, “Dos ejercicios poéticos” and “Tres poemas de ‘Sin título’ de Eielson”; his chamber works: “Expresiones” for violin, “Llamadas y fuga para un Santiago” for brass ensemble, “Manormeyor” for string quartet, “Pequeña suite” for violin and cello, and “Paisaje” for flute and guitar; and his choral works: “Las cumbres”, “Adivina, adivinanza…”, “Tres huaynos de Navidad”, “Tres adivinanzas” for children, “Viene y va y vueltas da” and “Desiertos”; and other works: “Obertura para una comedia”, “…De la lírica campesina”, “Tres canciones para coro y orquesta” and “Tres danzas de William Byrd”. In celebration of his 90th birthday, in October 2008 and March 2009 Enrique Iturriaga was invited to attend concerts of his “Sinfonía Junín y Ayacucho” in the cities of Fort Worth and Madrid, respectively. Both presentations were under the baton of renowned conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and the concert in Madrid, with the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, was recorded and broadcast by Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE).

Published Works