I’m a queer, Quechua/Latinx composer from Washington, D.C. I am also non-binary, and use they/them pronouns. As the child of community organizers, I grew up immersed in concepts of critical consciousness and popular education, descendants of Paulo Freire’s work, and practices such as facilitation, active listening, and community music-making as daily exercises. My musical focus is centered on reconnecting those freedom-based practices to their applications commonly manifested in new music spaces such as agency-based procedures, perception-based decision-making, audience or communal participatory music-making, and Deep Listening (a practice developed by the late Pauline Oliveros). My background as a multi-racial, gender-queer musician puts me in a unique position to integrate my lived experiences into practical frameworks of empowerment and radical music-making.
I am developing a new musical Practice centered on the integration of intersectional feminism, liberation-based work, and critical pedagogy with compositional structures and interactions. Through expansion on ideas codified in the 70’s such as aleatoricism and agency-based communal music-making, I seek to reconnect the aforementioned applications with their roots in freedom-based social movements. By creating musics that explicitly manifest those ethics in musical spaces, I work closely with historically marginalized communities (the very small pockets who’ve gained access to ‘high-art’ musical spaces and institutions) to radically center their voices and musical decisions, subverting the effects of hyper-visibility and the white-washed nature of the classical canon. Locally, I seek to further expand that work in my home city of Washington, D.C. by facilitating opportunities for collaboration between trained and non-trained musicians in local community arts spaces. In parallel, I continue to create notated, timbre, and technique-rich musics that specifically center women of color and queer people of color in spaces traditionally not accessed by people of color in any practice other than ethnic or folkloric musics.
Recently, in my recent piece amplify | augment there is a clear spatial setup that centers performers of color. The work further perpetuates that visibility through a performance-based relationship which centers the musical and aesthetic decisions of the inner quartet of POC while giving white performers a role of ‘supporter’ or ‘listener and responder’. This relationship directly manifests ideal methods of conversation around such topics as racism, cultural imperialism, and/or hypervisibility where the voices and narratives of people of color are radically centered rather than saturated with the voices, fragility, and ‘I’m one of the good ones’ type stories that often derail these dialogues. These efforts in the material manifestation of values reflect a deep belief that radical music-making must have a social and empowering function. I reflect that both in the values that underlie my compositional materials and procedures as well as subversion and recontextualization of common practice notation and canonical values and the pedagogy that perpetuates them. I seek to hold ‘forward-pushing’ musical spaces fully accountable and manifest celebration and centering rather than fetishization and perpetuation of other structurally oppressive practices.
My process of reclaiming and resynthesizing frameworks of music with freedom-based practices, experiences, and ideas remains mostly heuristic. As my experiences and research expand, so too does my music and its why; a nuancing as I learn and further dig into my diasporas, ancestry, communities, understandings.
As most of my music requires experience with critical lenses and understanding for deeper engagement, I’ve provided a few links below that I consider required reading for critically conscious music-makers.
List (no order)
‘White fragility’ -
‘Music and Neoliberalism’ - https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mp/9460447.0011.202/--amazing-together-mason-bates-classical-music-and-neoliberal?rgn=main;view=fulltext
‘Improvised music after 1950: afrological and eurological perspectives’ -
Teaching to transgress - education as a practice of freedom -
Feminism is for everyone - https://excoradfeminisms.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/bell_hooks-feminism_is_for_everybody.pdf
Just Vibrations -
Toward a queer phenomenology -
Take up less space -