Firmly established as one of the leading Mexican composers of her generation, Hilda Paredes has made her home in London since 1979 and her music is now performed widely around the world.
As an active participant in master classes at Dartington Summer School, Hilda studied with Peter Maxwell Davies and Richard Rodney Bennett as well as attending Franco Donatoni’s classes at the Academia Chigiana in Siena. After graduating at the Guildhall School of Music, she obtained her Master of Arts at City University in London and completed her PhD at Manchester University.
Her collaboration with choreographers led her to receive the Music for Dance Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1988.
After taking part at the Garden Venture Opera Project in Dartington, she completed her first chamber opera The seventh seed, released by Mode Records.
She continues to be involved in the musical life of her native country, teaching at the University in Mexico City and several other music institutions and was also a radio producer of new music.
She has been the recipient of important awards, such as the Arts Council of Great Britain fellowship for composers; the Rockefeller, Fund for Culture Mexico/USA and the J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship in the USA and is currently a beneficiary of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores, (FONCA) in Mexico.
Hilda now lives in London as a freelance composer and has taught composition and lectured at Manchester University, the University of San Diego California, University of Buffalo and other prestigious Universities in the US, at Centre Acanthes in France and in 2007 was appointed the Darius Milhuad Visiting Professor at Mills College in the US. This year, she has been visiting professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Her second chamber opera El Palacio Imaginado, commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte, English National Opera and the Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, was premiered with much acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.
Recently completed works include Revelación for ensemble and live electronics, choreographed by Ana Luján, commissioned by Integra - Fusing music and technology and by Grup Instrumental de Valencia and Altazor based on the epic poem by Vicente Huidobro a commission for Festival D’Autumne a Paris 2011, for Guillermo Anzorena, L'Instant Donné and live electronics realised at IRCAM.
Hilda is currently working on a new work for Signal, a commission from Miller Theatre in New York for a portrait concert in 2012.
Hilda Paredes has been commissioned by soloists, ensembles and orchestras around the world. Her music has been performed by internationally renowned ensembles such as Lontano, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Neue Vocalsolisten, Ensemble Recherche, Aventure, Ensamble Sospeso, Grup Instrumental de Valencia, Court Circuit, L’Instant donné and Arditti Quartet, amongst others. Her music has been widely performed at important international festivals, such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Edinburgh Festival in the UK; Eclat and Ultraschall in Germany; Festival d’Automne à Paris, Musica and Octobre en Normandie, in France; Wien Modern, in Austria; Akiyoshidai and Takefu Music Festivals, in Japan; Archipel ans Music monat , in Switzerland; De Ijsbreker Chamber Music Festival, in Amsterdam; Warsaw Autumn, in Poland; Ultima, in Oslo; Melbourne Festival, in Australia; Festival of Arts and Ideas in the USA, Ars Musica in Bruxelles; Festival de Alicante and ENSEMNS Festival, in Spain; Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, amongst others.
"One of the most powerful of the compositions was by Hilda Paredes" MAIN-ECHO. Germany, 2001
"What the music of the Maya's sounded like, nobody knows anymore. But the Mexican composer Hilda Paredes searches for answers in each recorded thought, in each numerological symbolism, and thus in the roots of her own culture" Wiesbadener Kurier, Germany, 2001
"Its rhythmic vitality seduced an audience that was previously sceptical to any proposal by this Latin woman... the reaction was shocking, but with a telluric presence, like our volcanoes." Reforma, Mexico/Canada, 2001
"...nothing to match the refinement of seamless, Mayan influenced "concerto for ensemble" Ah Paaxo'ob by the Mexican Hilda Paredes" Sunday Times, London, 2002
"Watching the world premier of Hilda Paredes' chamber opera Phantom Palace, I had the sort of out-of body experience where you say to yourself "This can't be happening in New Haven". I simply couldn't come to terms with the realization that I was seeing topflight European modern opera, performed by a major international company premiering a ceaselessly provocative, unexpectedly comic and altogether amazing work... just a few blocks from my home. This is the kind of thing you feel you can only travel huge distances to see. But there it is: New Haven should be talking about Phantom Palace-in a number of languages- for years to come". New Haven Advocate, USA, 2003
"Ghosts visited the stage of Yale University Theatre this month, native ghosts from distant past of an unnamed Latin American country ruled by a brutal dictator...
In setting the story, Paredes evidently sought to draw on the musical qualities of the languages used to tell it, sometimes employing electronic means to manipulate her sound material (the spirit voices are made to come from different parts of the theatre), and sometimes using leitmotif textures (rather than themes) to evoke dramatic situations.
As her tale is one of pain, she has produce music of pain, full of angularity, pointillism and dissonances, often pervaded by an aura of tension and mystery." Toronto Star, Canada/USA, 2003
"I cannot resist praising the Homenaje a Remedios Varo by Hilda Paredes as outstanding, not to mention its acute and clear formal construction, with nothing less than a sweeping and impressive finale." Mundo Clásico, Spain, 2004
"Amongst the jewels of the programme was the emotive and well crafted Homenaje a Remedios Varo, written in 1995 by the ascending Mexican composer Hilda Paredes." El Mundo, Spain, 2004
"The pieces on this disc were written over a three-year period, from the 1998 string quartet Uy U Tan through the settings of Mayan spells and incantations in Can Silim Tun (1999), to the piano quintet Cotidales and the ambitious ensemble piece Ah Paaxo'ob from 2001. All show that Paredes is a composer with a fresh aural imagination, while her Carter-like use of instrumentalists as dramatic protagonists gives her music an extra dimension. Superbly played, it's music worth investigating." The Guardian, 2005
"From the composer Hilda Paredes, ONIX performed Corazón de Ónix, conducted by José Luis Castillo. This is a complex and ambitious piece, well written and with atmospheric and colouristic qualities. It also has solid treatment of different sound production of the instruments. These timbric qualities are enhanced by Paredes with the use of the bass and alto flute as well as bass clarinet. Corazón de Ónix is marked by an interesting expressivity and by very attractive harmonic instability, which is enhanced by the use of micro-intervals and glissandi. All these elements merge in numerous moments of an evocative poetic sonority that is at the same time intense and concentrated". Juan Arturo Brennan, La Jornada, Mexico, 2006
Photograph: Tony Hutchings