The composer Maria de Alvear was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1960. She studied music mainly in Spain and Germany: harpischord, organ, piano, conducting and composition. Since 1998 she has regulary collaborated with her sister Ana de Alvear (visual artist), who has created photographic installations for performances of Maria de Alvear’s music.
In 1986 she completed a course in “Neues Musiktheater” with Prof. Mauricio Kagel at the Musikhochschule Köln. De Alvear´s work is interactive and based on a knowledge of energy connections. In every musical event (concert) she combines the power of visual art together with musical structure. To give an example: she reates an installation, placed around a chamber orchestra, using several different materials, such as salt, stones, branches or leaves, clothes, golden or coloured threads, or various sorts of video installations, depending on what the piece of music and the performing space suggest to her. She also performs and sings in her own pieces. The inner essence of her work consists in creating protected open spaces (spiritual space, physical space, psychological space etc.) in which the performer and the audience can experience a profound freedom
Some of her pieces are based on themes that are taboo to our Western way of thinking, provoking vehement debates and interesting interactions as a response to her work. This means that De Alvear´s work is also a courageous dialoge with the establishment. The involvement of spiritual qualities and energetic knowledge in her work demands a responsible deep understanding of the great power of music and art, a power that should be taken care of in a good, strong way.
Maria de Alvear has been very influenced by the trips she has made to different aboriginal nations in USA and Russia while looking for the inner essence of music and trying to understand the roots of musical development. Working intensively with Tsolagiu M.A. RuizRazo (Cherokee nation) and Rahkweeskeh (Tuscarora nation) has been very important for her. She feels they have been her most important teachers as regards the interaction between music and both physical and non-physical reality.
The extremely diverse levels on which her work functions simultaneously are very interesting. “Sound has the quality of putting a paricular person’s mind and body in a specific place”. Sound combinations can work on our state of mind as precisely as a surgical instrument, the change of one single note can cause a complete change in the state of mind and physical location in which a person has been before. The way these specific places work in connection with the individual state of a person and interact with a physical and spiritual reality is the foundation upon which Maria de Alvear bases her work.