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Arturo Parra

Arturo Parra initially studied music and guitar in his native Bogotá, Colombia. He co-founded Colombia’s first guitar quartet, Espiral, as well as Dúo Contemporáneo de Guitarras. From 1981 to 1989 he gave concerts solo and with these two groups, offering a contemporary repertoire dominated by premieres. Moving to Canada in 1989, he obtained master’s and doctoral degrees in music from the Université de Montréal. He has sought to go beyond the performer’s traditional role by composing his own pieces, which feature some fifty new guitar-playing techniques. In this process, he has significantly expanded the expressive spectrum of the instrument. “Vocal expressions” feature prominently in his works. The meeting of guitar and voice produces a kind of sound poetry suggestive of a “cinema for the ear” — no screen or projector needed. Arturo Parra regularly collaborates with artists from other disciplines: literature and spoken word (group Paroles Égales), wind instruments (duet Parra/Maheu), electroacoustic music, video, dance, theatre, mime, and poetry. He is currently producing a series of “sound portraits” in which the subject’s life and personality are represented in sound. His music has been heard in over fifteen countries and he has won numerous honors, including the following: finalist, Opus Awards, 2002 (Canada); Audience Appreciation Award, Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica, 2001, São Paulo (Brazil); selection, 28th Concours International de Musique et d’Art Sonore Électroacoustique, 2001, Bourges (France); finalist, 2nd Paso al Arte National Composition Competition, 1999 (Colombia).
Arturo Parra
August, 2007