William Ortiz

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Mr. William Ortiz
1275 Calle España,
Urb. Plaza de La Fuente,
Toa Alta
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican composer William Ortiz-Alvarado was raised and educated in the United States, but his Latino identity plays a vital role in his music. Particularly, his experience as a Nuyorican in the 1970's have informed the aesthetics of his music, which transforms the sounds of the streets into art music. Unique in that respect is the use of what Ortiz calls "vocalized graffiti", verbal passages that are integrated in some of his instrumental narrative. His musical studies began at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. He received a master's degree in composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Ph.D in composition from S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, where he studied with Lejaren Hiller and Morton Feldman. His compositions include all types of instrumentation and genres; from simple percussion to opera, from chamber to orchestral works. Among his numerous awards, grants and commissions is the 2001 Latin Grammy Nomination for his Guitar Concerto "Tropicalización" recorded by the Baja California Orchestra. William Ortiz is professor of music and humanities and Director of the University Concert Band at the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón. He has also taught at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and is Music Director of the Ateneo Puertorriqueño. He makes the following statement on his music: "I conceive of music as the 'violent beauty' of urban life; as the expression of the cries and shouts of the street - cries and shouts that reflect the thoughts of those who feel, of those who are oppressed. It is my intent to convert the language of the street into a legitimate instrument."

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