About Iván Enrique Rodríguez
The young composer and conductor Iván Enrique Rodríguez Mercado (b.1990) is zestfully embarking on an exciting career. 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, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez’s musical curiosity led him to learn a variety of instruments including saxophone, harp, piano, violin, and voice. 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 compositional 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 Concservatorio 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 and, by Comité Noviembre in N.Y.C. which named him a Puerto Rican Heritage Ernesto Malave Scholar of the Arts in 2018.
Naturally the majority of opportunity for Rodríguez’s premieres and conducting have been in Puerto Rico. However his music has also been performed in countries such as Uruguay, Brazil, the United States and Italy where the San Juan Children’s Choir performed Madre Luna and took the First Place award in the 2014 Rimini International Choral Competition and the judges noted the integral part his composition played in their decision 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. Additionally, Rodríguez’s 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.
Rodríguez’s commissions have also allowed the creation of works for specific purposes and celebratory events ranging from chamber music to pieces for orchestra. Exemplary works include a fanfare for brass quintet, Fanfarria a Nuestra Bahía (2013), Prisma (2011) for flute and piano, Himno de Vida (2013) for symphony orchestra, and Viva la Pepa (2011) for strings orchestra. Likewise, by the end of 2016, Rodríguez was commissioned by Música de Cámara, Inc. in NYC to write 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 by Luis Sanz as the soloist on the Puerto Rican Cuatro with the Música de Cámara strings orchestra under the baton of maestro Roselín Pabón.
Fanfarria a Nuestra Bahía (Fanfare to Our Bay) was commissioned by a collective of the Estuary Program Bay of San Juan, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Municipality of San Juan, and Asociación de Padres y Amigos de las Orquestas Secundarias y Superiores (APAOSS) for a promotional campaign to bring awareness of the environmental needs of the Bay of San Juan and premiered by the New Brass Quintet.
Commissioned by Jonathan Figueroa, Assistant Principal Flute with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Prisma was premiered at and received the Second Place Award in the 2011 Chicago Flute Club Competition.
The orchestral overture Himno de Vida was 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 not only conducted his work with the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra for the recording, but 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.
Iván E. Rodríguez has also provided arrangements and orchestrations of piano sonatinas by Beethoven and Clementi to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (OSPR) for a collaborative program with the Children’s Museum of Puerto Rico in addition to an orchestration of Viva la Pepa. In 2011, he received a special commission from OSPR and the Consulate of Spain in Puerto Rico for an arrangement of the traditional danza written by Juan Morel Campos. This commission for string orchestra was in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the CádizConstitution and premiered in the Casa de España in San Juan under the conduction of Maestro Maximiano Valdés.
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 finishing his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School of Music where he has been the recipient of the Gretchaninoff Memorial Prize, the Bernard Jaffe Scholarship and Commission, and the James D. Rosenthal and Marvin Y. Schofer Scholarship. He will begin his Doctor in Musical Arts degree in Juilliard’s prestigious C.V. Starr doctoral program this fall. Rodríguez, 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 lives in Brooklyn, NY (USA).