Meet the Cone Composers: Iván Enrique Rodríguez
Puerto Rican composer Iván Enrique Rodríguez’ music has been performed in Puerto Rico, in the US, throughout North/South America and in Europe, where, in Italy, his piece Madre Luna received 2014’s Rimini International Choral Competition prize and where his Crípticos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 garnered him one of 2015’s International Composition Competition Maurice Ravel awards.
Q: What experiences have shaped your path as a composer?
A: All of them! We are like an Instant Pot—put everything in, push start and let it cook. This sounds facetious, but it is true. My approach to music is to be absolutely honest, to put all of myself in it. Hence, my creative approach is shaped by every day; from the matutinal cup of coffee to social and emotional events—including unbelievable experiences such as being part of the NJSO Cone Institute.
Q: How would you describe your music to a listener?
A: This questions is, to me, perhaps one of the most exciting. We often try to describe our music technically or pointing what we think must be listened to. We even try to “reveal” the inner gears that support the piece’s “rational” unfolding. Those attempts, though interesting, are rather superficial when describing something so individual. Music is a unique experience. It is art, and art is a human expression. Hence my attempt to describe my music aims to prioritize that, often overlooked, human element. I would say that my music is like a story that, while unfolding with direction, leaves to the listener the thrill to discover where the journey has led them. Perhaps my music is a question, an invitation and the quest itself—hopefully an experience to remember.
Q: What inspired your Cone Institute work?
A: Writing A Metaphor for Power was a surreal experience. The process felt to me like a dream sequence. Every pen stroke happened almost as a reaction rather than a calculated choice. It turned out being the materialization of many inner wounds that I and people like me share. I called this piece a musical essay because, like a written statement, it tries to address a topic—in this case a hurtful situation in the place we call home. This country is truly special, like no other! But, although it has moved forward, it still aches from systemic issues that continue to cause great pains. As a result, the piece, without me realizing it, took control, leaving the port of comfort and sailing into the depths of concealed emotions. It culminated being inspired by those same pains but also by the great virtue and resilience of our country.
Q: What do you hope to gain from the Cone Institute experience?
A: I hope to learn! There is no end to the wealth of knowledge we can receive in experiences like this. But I also hope to gain long-lasting friendships with the NJSO, maestro Măcelaru and my composer colleagues.
Q: A left-field question: if you were a baseball player, what would you choose for your walk-up music?
A: Oh dear! Don’t tell anyone... “The Beginning” by ONE OK ROCK.
Connect with Rodríguez
Don’t miss the world premiere of A Metaphor for Power with the NJSO on July 20 at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton!
Meet the 2019 Cone Composers
» Iván Enrique Rodríguez