|Occupation||Arranger, Composer, Conductor, Performer|
|Categories||Classical, Fusion, Jazz, Soundtrack/Film Music|
JOSÉ MARÍA VITIER
An outstanding composer and pianist, Cuban José María Vitier (1954) has created an innovative fusion of the classical language and the popular roots of Cuban music. He has written music for piano, symphonic and chamber orchestra, choir and jazz ensemble, among other formats. Various world-famous musicians from Cuba and abroad consistently include several of Vitier’s works in their concerts’ repertoire.
He has created musical scores for over 60 films, as well as for many TV series, theatrical plays and ballets. His musical output ranges from love songs and music for children to oratorios and sacred works like his Misa Cubana, which has been played in over twenty countries. In 2008 he premiered in Mexico his first opera, Santa Anna, from a libretto by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.
Among his most celebrated works are: Misa Cubana, Salmo de las Américas, El cantar del caballero y su destino, Danzas Cubanas (for piano) and Canciones (for voice, piano and orchestra). Some of his film scores are El siglo de las luces, Un embrujo, Lista de espera, Un paraíso bajo las estrellas, Cosas que dejé en La Habana and Oscar nominee Strawberry and Chocolate. He has been given the Ocella award to the best music for film at the International Film Festival of Venice, several Coral awards at the International Film Festival of Havana, and he has been nominated to the Goya awards in Spain and the Ariel awards in Mexico.
As a pianist, José María Vitier has been invited to perform at many prestigious festivals and concert halls in Europe, Canada, the United States and Latin America. He has recorded over 25 albums with his own compositions. Performers from all over the world have also recorded his music. In Cuba, Vitier has been awarded the highest official acknowledgement and distinctions for a lifetime’s oeuvre. In 2000, his CD “Salmo de las Américas” was a nominee at the Latin Grammy Awards, among the five best classical music albums.
Most important acknowledgements and awards
For a lifetime’s work:
Distinción por la Cultura Nacional (1988) and Medalla Alejo Carpentier (1998); both of them granted by the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
Orden Félix Varela (2004). This is the highest acknowledgement granted by the Cuban government for outstanding artistic merit.
Nomination to Premio Iberoamericano de la Música “Tomás Luis de Victoria” (2002, 2004 and 2006).
“Premio de Honor Cubadisco” for a lifetime’s achievement.
Honorific Spanish citizenship has been granted to him for artistic merit.
For his music for films:
Ocella Award to the best film score at the XLV International Film Festival of Venice (1989), for the music created for the film “Un señor muy viejo con una alas enormes”.
“Premio Coral” to the best film score at the International Film Festival of Havana in 1992 and 1999, for the music created for the films “Mascaró” and “Un paraíso bajo las estrellas”.
Cuban film Strawberry and Chocolate with original soundtrack by José María Vitier was nominated to the Oscar Award to the best foreign fil in 1993.
“Premio “Panambí” to the best original soundtrack at the 5th Film Festival of Asunción, Paraguay (1994), for the music created for the film Strawberry and Chocolate.
Cuban film El elefante y la bicicleta with original soundtrack by José María Vitier was nominated to the Goya Awards (1993).
The music created for Mexican films Salón México and Un embrujo were nominated to the Ariel Award in 1996 and 2000.
Spanish film Cosas que dejé en La Habana with original soundtrack by José María Vitier was granted the “Espiga de plata” Award (ex aequo) at the International Film Festival of Valladolid (SEMINCI) in 1997
Premios ACDAM (Cuban Composers’ Asociation Awards) to the best music for a film:
-In 1995, for the music created for Salón México
-In 1999, for the music created for Un embrujo
-In 2000, for the music created for Un paraíso bajo las estrellas
For his albums:
“Premio EGREM” to the best Cuban album of music for orchestr