About Iván Enrique Rodríguez
The young composer and conductor Iván Enrique Rodríguez Mercado (b.1990) is regarded as “one of Latin America’s most promising composers” (KAIA, WFMT Residnecy). Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, he always showed interest in the creative aspects of what surrounded him. Growing up captivated by the music of video games, at age 15, his serious interest in music was sparked with his entrance to Escuela Libre de Música Antonio O. Paoli in his native Caguas. Rodríguez’s musical curiosity led him to learn a variety of instruments including saxophone, piano, violin, and harp. This exploration of sound and texture awakened his inner passion for composition. His first piece Ogoshness, written for choir and string orchestra, was premiered in 2007 by the choir of the Escuela Libre de Música Antonio O. Paoli when Rodríguez was only 17.
Since his debut, Iván Enrique Rodríguez has studied composition under the instruction of the illustrious composers Dr. Melinda Wagner and Dr. Robert Beaser at The Juilliard School, and renowned Puerto Rican composer Alfonso Fuentes at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico (CMPR). Rodríguez also studied orchestral conducting with maestro Paul Nadler (Metropolitan Opera, Isai Philharmonic, Opera de Montreal) as well as with conductors Rafael E. Irizarry, Dr. William Rivera, Roselín Pabón, and Genesio Riboldi at the CMPR. While a student at the Conservatorio, Rodríguez was known for being one of the most active composers of the institution either by presenting his own work, commissions, or arrangements. His cultural involvement and leadership beyond the walls of the conservatory were recognized in December 2014 by the Puerto Rico Chapter of Junior Chamber International with the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) award. His continuous cultural involvement with focus on social justice and equality was recognized by Comité Noviembre in N.Y.C. which named him a Puerto Rican Heritage Ernesto Malave Scholar of the Arts in 2018.
Rodríguez’s music has been performed in Puerto Rico, the United States, throughout North and South America and, Europewhere in Italy the San Juan Children’s Choir performed Madre Luna and took the First Place award in the 2014 Rimini International Choral Competition; and where his Crípticos Nos. 1, 2 & 3 for solo piano won him the Best Composer of his Nation Award of the International Composition Competition Maurice Ravel. On October 2015 Rodriguez won the American Composers Orchestra EarShot Program in which the Columbus Symphony Orchestra gave the US premiere of his piece Luminis under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov, receiving at the concert the Audience Choice Award. His most recent orchestral piece, A Metaphor for Power, having the current Latinx experience as well as the ongoing equality issues in the USA as a central thesis, was also selected for 2019’s prestigious Edward T. Cone Composition Institute to be premiered by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the globally renowned conductor, maestro Cristian Măcelaru. Additionally, Rodríguez received the 2019’s prestigious ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Award and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards’ honorable mention and, his piano trio El Abrigo Negro was selected by maestro Max Lifchitz to be part of the North/South Consonance 2016-2017 Concerts Season receiving its world premiere on May 2017.
Inspired by the factual human experience, Rodríguez’s commissions have also allowed the creation of works for specific purposes and celebratory events. Ranging from chamber music to pieces for orchestra, his commissions have include works with focus on environemtnal issues, social justice and equality, cultural celebration and, the fight against cancer. Some of these works include the orchestral overture Himno de Vida commissioned for inclusion on internationally acclaimed trumpeter Luis "Perico" Ortiz’s album “Tiempo de Amar” (Time for Love), which was produced in support of the San Jorge Children’s Foundation. As a collaborative effort, Iván Rodríguez joined the album’s roster of extraordinary artists such as Panama's Rubén Blades, Andy Montañez, Isnael Miranda, NG2, Alex D Castro, Danny Rivera, José Nogueras, Victoria Sanabria, and Giovanni Hidalgo. The art song Alabaster Thread, in collaboration with the distinguished American bartone Gregory Feldmann, was composed for his recital The Flute of Interior Time, a liturgical recital for a changing demographic.With a social justice focus, this recital, in Feldmann’s own words, was “designed to be a reflection on the changing role of the historically and culturally privileged demographic in America” and a call to honesty and humility when we hear the storiesof others, the oppressed those who have been exploited.”Rodríguez’ Through What is no Longer for solo violin, was commissioned by the award winning violinist Alice Ivy-Pemberton for her project Drowning Monuments. This project, noted internationally, including by the Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, had the vision of brigning awarenes by performing in places of New York City (Ivy-Pemberton’s home-city) that are increasingly threatened by flooding and submersion due to global warming as a way of both calling attention and connecting audiences emotionally to the urgency of the climate crisis. As celebration of the Puerto Rican culture, Música de Cámara, Inc. in NYC to commissioned his Concerto for Puerto Rican Cuatro and Strings Orchestra, which received its world premiere on May 2017 at the El Museo del Barrio in New York City with Luis Sanz as the soloist on the Puerto Rican Cuatro with the Música de Cámara strings orchestra under the baton of maestro Roselín Pabón.
As a conductor, the young Iván E. Rodriguez served from 2011 through 2014 as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra that placed advanced students alongside Puerto Rico’s noted professionals. With this ensemble he was able to premiere not only his own work, but other Puerto Rican Composers alongside the standard orchestra repertoire. Additionally, with his baton, he has conducted the premieres of his El Canto de Kalliope featuring soprano Meechot Marrero and the Abstration String Orchestra (2013) and his Ars, Lux et Veritas featuring soprano Carmenchu Dominguez and tenor Carlos Lamboy with the combined choral voices of the Coro Nacional de Puerto Rico and Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico Chorus and the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra wind and percussion sections (2014). In 2015, Rodriguez was invited to serve as conductor for the Grand Ballet Chamber Orchestra in San Juan for the world premiere of Johanny Navarro's Cecilia & Santiago Ballet Suite. In July 2015 he assisted Maestro Eduardo Marturet in the preparation of the annual Venezuela es mucho más concert featuring the Miami Symphony Orchestra
At present Iván Enrique Rodríguez is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in the prestigious C.V. Starr Doctoral Program at The Juilliard School where he has been the recipient of the Gretchaninoff Memorial Prize, the Bernard Jaffe Scholarship and Commission, the James D. Rosenthal and Marvin Y. Schofer Scholarship, the King Doctoral Scholarship and, the C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship. He received his bachelors degree from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico in 2014. Throughout his undergraduate studies, he participated in seminars and workshops with teachers such as Luis Hernandez Mergal, theorist Pedro Segarra, and harpist Elisa Torres. Complementary studies include workshops in film scoring by the composer, arranger, and conductor Blake Neely (assistant to the film composer Hans Zimmer) and world music through the focus on the cultural exchange of musical ideas with Zou Xiangping, Tina Yijia Bu, and Mao Zhu who are faculty members of the Conservatory of Music Sichuan (China). Rodríguez is affiliated with ASCAP and currently based in the New York City metropolitan area.