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News - Dance Series: Composer Profile | Robert Xavier Rodríguez

Image: Grace Richards by Angela Sterlin
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Robert Xavier Rodríguez was born on June 28, 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, where he received his earliest training in piano and harmony. Rodríguez's music embraces all genres and often combines Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque techniques with ethnic and contemporary materials. His operas have garnered him ample success, including Frida, La Curandera and one of the most frequently performed contemporary operas in the United States, Monkey See, Monkey Do, with over 2000 performances to date.

Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s many works for dance include Estampie: Ballet for Small Orchestra, Favola Concertante, The Seven Deadly Sins, Bachanale, Piñata, Tango di Tango, Hot Buttered Rumba, Máscaras, De Rerum Natura and Musical Dice Game. His string quartet Meta 4 was commissioned for dance performances by the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, which toured the work worldwide. Other Rodríguez chamber works which lend themselves to dance are Above All, Women: Four Images of Gustav Klimt (for string quartet), Estampie (chamber version), Tango di Tango (chamber version), Chronies, Meditation, Música, por un tiempo, El día de los muertos (for percussion ensemble) and Xochiquetzal (for violin and percussion ensemble or violin and piano).

Critical commentary 

“Robert Xavier Rodríguez writes expressively and approachably. His music is satisfyingly complex, both texturally and emotionally…”  
Fanfare on Above All, Women: Four Images of Gustav Klimt

“…came into the world alive and screaming… The piece takes a medieval melody, an estampie, and rings rowdy and hilarious changes on it – it becomes a slow sleazy rag (lots of saxophone) that has somehow gone slumming in a Berlin cabaret in the 20’s, where there is a whiff of Viennese serialism in the air; by the end, all of this burst out into a simultaneous shivaree.” 
The Boston Globe on Estampie

“…a vibrant, colorful string quartet…had sweep and lyricism as well as a delightful touch of whimsy.” 
The Boston Herald on Meta 4

“…Based on the Mexican folk holiday, The Day of the Dead, it is the perfect mix of tuned and untuned instruments, its rhythmic drive and melodic invention totally captivating.” 
— David’s Review Corner on El día de los Muertos

“…The work is lush and rich, and the virtuosic violin and piano writing fit directly with the pictures of hummingbirds, thunder, Tristan-style passion and Xochiquetzal’s gifts of dance…”
— ConcertoNet on Xochiquetzal

Listen to RXR on Spotify | Explore all RXR audio

Additional Rodríguez works for dance creation

Semi-Suite (for violin and orchestra) 

Agnus Dei (completion of Mozart's Mass in C minor) 

A Colorful Symphony 

Fanfarria Son-Risa

For more information please contact Matt Trent


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