Composer Héctor Armienta considers himself neither Mexican or American, but MexicanAmerican. His work exists in and in between these two cultural worlds. Drawing on his training as a classical composer, his mission is to reinvent classical musical forms by incorporating music from both sides of the border. Whether it be Mariachi, music Azteca, or corridos ( folk songs) from the fields of the central California, you can find elements of this music in much of his work. This approach allows him to explore what it means to be a Mexican American through a new lens - classical music and opera.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, he is one of the few Chicano opera composers to have had his work performed nationally and internationally. His awards and commissions include those from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Pacific, Arts International, Opera Pacific, the Pacific Symphony, Opera Southwest, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Western Stage Theater. His work for orchestra, theater, and opera has received support from six NEA grants in artistic excellence. Most recently, he was awarded a 2022 CCSRE Arts Mellon Fellowship at Stanford University and a 2021 Map Fund award. [read more...]
"... a tuneful and emotive score..." – The Classical Review
Zorro – "Composer, librettist and history buff Héctor Armienta took about ten years to complete his new opera Zorro... It was a decade well spent based on the world premiere given by Fort Worth Opera…Credit a tuneful and emotive score, powerful use of leitmotif, nimble direction and staging, and a strong cast to put across the opera’s winning mix of humor, action, romance and bilingual flair…Armienta’s score is lush with cultural influences that highlight the vast musical palette of Latin and Hispanic artistic traditions.”
"...Armienta deploys his harmonic capabilities to score climactic moments..." – San Francisco Classical Voice
Bless Me, Ultima – "the opera offered grand moments to Sunday’s receptive audience... Armienta deploys his harmonic capabilities to score climactic moments between these two characters and on Sunday the orchestra made these moments come alive: Wagnerian textures, Coplandian sonorities, and Philip Glass-like undulations combined in pieces such as “We are born into this world,” a superior duet between Anthony and Ultima in Act Two."