Manuel Enríquez

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Manuel Enríquez Salazar (17 June 1926 – 26 April 1994) was a Mexican composer, violinist and pedagogue. He was a fellow member of the Academy of Arts of Mexico, of the National Seminary of Mexican Culture and the music director of the National Institute of Fine Arts.


Enríquez was born in Ocotlán, Jalisco, and studied composition with Miguel Bernal Jiménez in Mexico, and in New York with Peter Mennin and Stefan Wolpe, from whom he learned about serial techniques. From the 1960s through the 1980s he had a meteoric career as a violinist, composer, and music administrator. Starting in the 1960s he was most prominent representative of the avant-garde in Mexico (Béhague 1994; Saavedra 2001).

Compositional style[edit]

Enríquez's early works, starting with the Suite for Violin and Piano in 1949 through the First String Quartet (1959) were in the nationalist neoclassism widespread in Mexico at that time, featuring folk-like tunes in dissonant harmonies and with propulsive rhythms including frequent syncopation and hemiola. In the early 1960s he adopted a loose form of twelve-tone technique, combined with minimalist designs. Characteristic examples are his Second Symphony (1962) and Pentamúsica for wind quintet (1963). In later works, such as Transición for orchestra (1965), the Second String Quartet and Ambivalencia for violin and cello (both 1967), and Díptico I for flute and piano (1969) he began to experiment with aleatory procedures and graphic notation. Aleatory, contrapuntal, and soloistic passages alternating with long timbral blocks are characteristic of his music though the 1960s and 70s, while his last works returned to strong, lyrical melodies, as in the Fourth String Quartet (1983), and finally to a recasting of his earlier nationalist style within freer, contrasting structures, as in his Fifth String Quartet (1988) (Saavedra 2001).

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Fellow of the Academy of Arts of Mexico, of the National Seminary of Mexican Culture and the SACM .
  • Music Director of the National Institute of Fine Arts .
  • Juror in the International Composition Competition "Carlos Chavez" (1986).
  • Music Advisor of the President of the National Arts Centre of Mexico.
  • He received the medal "José Clemente Orozco," Jalisco Award, the medal "Elias Sourasky" the diploma Mexican Union of Theatre and Music, he won the National Prize of Fine Arts in 1983, and obtained Medal "Mozart" Domecq Cultural Foundation and the Austrian Embassy in Mexico.


  • Béhague, Gerard. 1994. "This Issue of LAMR Is Dedicated to the Memory of Manuel Enríquez (17 June 1926–26 April 1994)". Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana 15, no. 2 (Autumn–Winter).
  • Saavedra, Leonora. 1986. "Los cuartetos de cuerdas de Manuel Enríquez". Pauta: Cuadernos de teoría y crítica musical 5, no. 19: 58–71 and 5, no. 20: 79–85.
  • Saavedra, Leonora. 2001. "Enriquez (Salazar), Manuel". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cortez Méndez, Luis Jaime. 1985. "Enríquez A lápiz". In Luis Jaime Cortez Méndez, Tabiques rotos: Siete ensayos musicológicos. Ensayos, No. 4:53-63. Mexico City: Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical Carlos Chávez (CENIDIM) (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA).
  • Fürst-Heidtmann, Monika. 1988. "Assimilierung ohne Probleme: Der mexikanische Komponist Manuel Enriquez". MusikTexte: Zeitschrift für Neue Musik, no. 23:14-24.
  • Orrego-Salas, Juan. 1985. "Traditions, Experiment, and Change in Contemporary Latin America". Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana 6, no. 2 (Autumn–Winter): 152–65.
  • Wagar, Carol Jeannine. 1986. "Stylistic Tendencies in Three Contemporary Mexican Composers: Manuel Enríquez, Mario Lavista and Alicia Urreta". DMA diss. Stanford: Stanford University.