Manuel Rocha Iturbide

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Manuel Rocha Iturbide (born 1963 in Mexico City) is a Mexican composer and sound artist.


Manuel Rocha Iturbide was born in 1963 in Mexico City, he started musical studies when he was 13 years old. In 1983, after studying musical pedagogy in Lyon France for one year, he decided to start a career as composer at the "Escuela Nacional de Musica" of the University of Mexico. The extremely academic and traditional studies in that institution led him to explore different creative ways beyond instrumental music and so he practiced photography at "Taller de los Lunes", a workshop organized by Mexican digital photography pioneer Pedro Meyer. In 1988 he started using video work and in 1989 he realized his first sound sculpture at the mild stone exhibition "14 artists around Joseph Beuyce" in Mexico City along with important Mexican artists from his generation such as Gabriel Orozco. In 1989 Rocha Iturbide travels to USA to Mills College in order to pursue an MFA in electronic music. There, he composes "Frost Clear", a piece for amplified refrigerator, double bass and electronic sounds that has been played by him through the years in different important festivals such as the "San Francisco electronic Music Festival" in 2006. In 1991, Rocha Iturbide travels to France where he studies and works as a researcher at IRCAM, and where he pursues his doctoral thesis on granular synthesis and Quantum Mechanics in relation to sound from 1992 to 1999. In these years, Manuel Rocha Iturbide worked with Curtis Roads and Barry Truax, two of the most important pioneers on granular synthesis computer music techniques. In 1999 the president of the jury of his doctoral thesis defense was Jean Claude Risset (The name of his thesis was "The granular synthesis techniques"). The influence of this research can be seen in different electroacoustic music works of this composer: "Transiciones de Fase" for brass quintet and electronic sounds (1994), Moin Mor for electronic sounds (1995), SL-9 for electronic sounds (1994), etc.

At his return to Mexico after 7 years abroad, Manuel Rocha Iturbide devoted himself to sound art, being one of its pioneers and biggest promoters. His first important work at that stage was "Ping-Roll", an aluminum Ping Pong Table with speakers underneath where over 60 ping pong balls reacted to the continuous and discontinuous sounds produced by sine waves and bouncing sounds, jumping and then rolling. This sound sculpture was exhibited at the "Sidney Biennale" in 1998. From there on, the Work of Manuel Rocha Iturbide has been devoted to sound art and electroacoustic music, having had important commissions in both fields. In 2006 he received a commission from the Arditti Quartet, the composition "Tetraktis" for string quartet and 4 digital tracks, and in 2010 a commission from the Japanese piano player Aki Takahashi for Piano and electronic sounds ("Ashimakase"). On the other hand Rocha Iturbide has devoted also himself as the curator of the international sound art festival in Mexico and as a researcher, writing articles about the history of electroacoustic music and sound art in Mexico, or about the aesthetics of sound art expressions such as the sound installation and the sound sculpture.

Selected Electroacustic Compositions[edit]

  • Avidya for tape. 1989.
  • Atl for tape. 1990.
  • Semi No Koe for flute and tape. 2001.
  • Cantos Rituales for tape. 2003.
  • S-36-A for 19 digital tracks. 2004. Commission from the "Oasis sonoro" project.
  • Purusha-Prakrti for tape. 2005. Commission from the IMEB electroacoustic music institute in Bourges France.
  • Light and Dust for Oboe and tape. 2006.
  • Tetraktys for string queartet and 4 digital tracks. 2007. Commission from the Arditti String Quartet.
  • Ashimakasefor piano and electronic sounds. 2010. Commission from Japanese pianist Aki Takahashi.

Selected Sound Art Works[edit]

  • (+ * -) = - Sound Sculpture. 1989.
  • Ligne d'abandon conceptual sound piece in collaboration with Gabriel Orozco. 1994.
  • Mechanisms for the absolution of waste sound installation. 1997.
  • Rebicyling Sound Installation. 2000.
  • El eco esta en todas partes Sound Installation. 2003. Commission for the art collection JUMEX.
  • I play the drums with frequency Sound Installation. 2007.
  • Sónca Tal Sound Sculpture. 2010.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Manuel Rocha Iturbide has had solo exhibitions in ARCO 99 in Madrid Spain, Surge Gallery in Tokyo Japan, Avatar in Quebec Canada in 2002, etc. And collective exhibitions in Chantal Crousel Gallery in Paris France, 1993; Artists space New York in 1997; Biennale of Sydney in 1998; Puddles Artists-Initiative links in Tokyo Japan, 2003; Colección Jumex in 2003 and 2006; Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas Venezuela in 2003, Museo el Eco in 2008.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]