Luis Felipe Ramírez Santillán (born 1970, Mexico City) is a Mexican composer, arranger and guitarist. In Mexico City he completed his studies of composition at the CIEM – Centro de Investigación y Estudios Musicales (The Center for Research and Musical Studies) and he studied conducting with Guillermo Salvador at the Escuela de Música “Vida y Movimiento” Ollin Yoliztli (The Ollin Yoliztli School of Music). He also took music theory and piano lessons with Vincent Carver. He completed his master of music theory at the Atlantic International University in Hawaii, USA (2009) and received his ArtD. degree in composition at the Vysoká škola múzických umení (The Academy of Performing Arts) in Bratislava, Slovakia (2020), with Russian-born composer Evgeny Irshai as his professor. He was a resident composer and arranger of two Mexican orchestras: OSBUAP (The Symphony Orchestra of the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla) (2010 – 2013) and the Orquesta Típica del Estado de Puebla (The Traditional Orchestra of the State of Puebla) (2014 – 2016), where he also played guitar and viola. He was an original music composer, sound designer and sound engineer for two Mexican state TV channels in Mexico City: the XEIPN TV Canal Once (1998 – 2005) and the CUAED – Coordinación de Universidad Abierta y Educación a Distancia (The Open University and Distance Education Coordination) (2001 – 2002). He was one of the first to write arrangements for the national network of children´s and youth symphony orchestras and choirs Esperanza Azteca. Dozens of his arrangements are still performed by over 80 of these orchestras and choirs in Mexico. For the Orquesta Filarmonica Gran Ensemble in Puebla he wrote over 15 arrangements. His arrangement for the youth guitar ensemble Gitarika was performed at the Slovak National Theater and at the Guitar Festival of J. K. Mertz in Bratislava.
Teaching has always been an important part of his life. He is a founder-lecturer of a master degree in composition and arrangement at the Instituto Tito Puente (2014 – 2016) as well as the founder-lecturer of a bachelor degree in orchestra performing (harmony, counterpoint, composition and music theory analysis) at the Instituto Superior de Música Esperanza Azteca (2012 – 2016), both in Puebla, Mexico. He was also a lecturer in harmony, orchestration, and chamber music at the University of Music Pacelli in Puebla, Mexico (2013 – 2016), where he also conducted the University Chamber Orchestra. Since 2016 he has been living, composing and teaching guitar in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The orchestral compositions form an important and essential part of his work. Besides his 3 symphonies, he wrote concerto for bassoon Concierto a Dios1, Concerto for Violin, Choir and Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto, two works commissioned by the city of Puebla to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla: Obertura Festiva for symphony orchestra2 and Marcha para un hombre solemne for symphony orchestra and mixed choir3, El hombre y la mujer for symphony orchestra and mixed choir (The Man and the Woman, lyrics by Victor Hugo)4, danzón Antes de Amanecer5, Adagio for violin and string orchestra6, 2 operas, 1 operetta as well as chamber music for various instrumentations including 3 string quartets, Lágrima seca for mariachi ensemble etc., solo instrumental pieces such as Duelo for violin7, Srdcové… for clarinet8, Presagio for bassoon9, Espacios for piano10 and many others. He also wrote musicals for children Las orejas del conejo for soprano, rapper and symphony orchestra11 which version for soprano and string quartet was financially supported by PACMYC (Program for the Support of the Municipality and Community Cultures) in 2019 and La ratoncita ciega for string quartet and youth chamber ensemble of people who are blind or with vision impairment12, that was financially supported by FONCA (The National Fond for Culture and Arts) in 2021. His works have been performed in Slovakia, France, Australia, Mexico, Cuba and have been played on Mexican radio. He was nominated for the prize Pantalla de Cristal in the category Best Original Music for Documentary Film (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005).
The music on this CD brings together the most important orchestral works of Luis Felipe Ramírez Santillán:
With Symfónia z dial’ky (2020) he graduated his ArtD. studies at the Vysoká škola múzických umení (The Academy of Performing Arts) in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The first movement is based on the events that took place between the day I took my flight to Bratislava and the time of the end of my entry exam at Vysoká škola múzických umení (VŠMU) to do the doctoral studies in composition.
Which involves carrying your illusions in two suitcases and leaving many of luggage behind me.
On September 19, 2017 at 1:14 p.m. local time in Mexico City. There was a earthquake that destroyed many of the buildings, schools, streets, homes, leaving hundreds of people trapped.
The second movement talks about what happened after the earthquake, people helping people trapped inside buildings, schools, houses.
The second movement has three parts: Fall, Solidarity, Oblivion.
Fall: it is the beginning of the second movement, when everything is rubble, the end of the telluric movement. The arrival of the military and the government to the affected places.
The metal quintet in scordatura, shows some soldiers who go the affected areas. Not letting people help. Percussions symbolize military drums, the total shelter of some devastated areas.
The microtonal harp (not recorded) alludes to the resonance force of that great earthquake, which continued to be heard for a long time by trapped people. They listened to the rubble settling in, waiting for the aftershocks and fearing the approaching death waiting for a miracle: to be rescued.
Solidarity: A trumpet interprets the “Cielito Lindo” a song of solidarity, that people shoulder to shoulder for many days, without rest, sang, managing to get several survivors out of the rubble.
Oblivion: The government was silenced, the military was silenced, the press … no comments. People worked and got tired. The humanitarian aid of countries, artists and foreign people: disappeared in the forgetfulness of indifference.
From my eyes, from my heart, from my distance: I hugged my loved Mexico.
Sometimes I remember my land with their songs, but always: without them.
Huapango, Son and Danzón are genres of Mexican origin characteristic of regional folklore. Result of miscegenation, European influence and African and Caribbean rhythms.
The essence of them, the rhythms in my perception, in my way of composing, I use in this movement. Achieving the creation of contemporary orchestral music with the nature of the rhythms and structure of Son, Danzón and Huapango.
Poema sinfónico FES-C for symphony orchestra (1995) is dedicated to the FES-C – La Facultad de Estudios Superiores Cuautitlán de la UNAM (The Cuautitlán Faculty of Higher Studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico). The work had its world premiere on 1st December 2002 in St. Peter´s Church in Victoria, Australia with the Whitehorse Orchestra conducted by Gerald Keuneman. The symphony poem premiered in Mexico on the 30th anniversary of the FES-C, 24th April 2004 in Auditorio de la Facultad de Estudios Superiores Cuautitlan, Mexico with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Escuela Nacional de Música in Mexico City conducted by Villegas.
Sinfonía No. 1 (2004) is dedicated to the Facultad de Ingeniería de la UNAM (The Faculty of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico). The composition won the world music competition IBLA Grand Prize in 2005.
El Piano for piano and symphony orchestra (2007). A part of this work’s recording was used in the short film Matices (Shades) directed by Saúl Masri. The film won first prize in the short film category at the Festival Internacional de Cine Judío en México (International Jewish Film Festival in Mexico) in Mexico City, as well as the Best Drama Short Film Award at the KisaKes Short Film Festival in Istanbul, Turkey. The work was performed for the first time on 12th February 2012 in the Auditorio del Complejo Cultural Universitario de la BUAP, Puebla, Mexico by the OSBUAP (The Symphony Orchestra of he Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla) conducted by Guillermo Salvador and with the pianist Gerardo Molina.
My special thanks go to God, Jesus Christ, la Virgen de Guadalupe, my beautiful wife Elenka, my parents, my brothers, my profesor Evgeny Irshai, Marina Dubovskova and friends that helped me to express myself in sounds and silences.
Luis Felipe Ramírez Santillán © 2021
Luis Felipe Ramírez Santillán (born 1970, Mexico City) is a Mexican composer, arranger and guitarist.