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The Humanities Conference 2003

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The Work of Musical Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Maria Jose Martin.

Beauty and originality are two concepts that continue to challenge modern artists, including musicians. Today’s world embraces a wide spectrum of new technological discoveries, daring experimentation, and advanced ideas and ideals that question the boundaries between reality and imagination. It is in this world that the musician-composer must hold firm in his or her pursuit of creativity, sometimes using modern technology in the manipulation and creation of sounds (e.g. electronic and computer music), and sometimes defying it. No matter what the chosen creative methods are, I have to concur with pianist Alfred Brendel that “feeling must remain the Alpha and Omega of a musician.”

The purpose of my paper is to present and analyse the creative process of modern composers in contemporary society, a world dominated by revolutionary discoveries and controversial experimentation such as mechanical reproduction and cloning. I have based my research writings and interviews with the composers themselves, a diverse group that includes artists in different genres, and of varying age, nationality, education, and religious and ethical background. They include the following: the Spanish composer Encarna Beltran-Huertas Lopez, both a musician and poet, well-known for the lyricism of her music; Ana Bofill, a composer and architect, whose music relies on new compositional techniques; Ana Coduras, a composer and conductor with a math and science background; Robert Maggio, on eof the most active composers in the United States and one open to collaborative arts; and Venezuelan composer Arcangel Olivari, prominent in electronic music.

The direct testimonies of these composers will demonstrate diverse sources of inspiration as well as different techniques in the process of composition of new music, and they will aid to explain the role of the creative composer in today’s technological world. Ultimately the paper will establish the parallelism between the creative process of life and the composition of a musical work.


Maria Jose Martin  (United States)
Assistant Professor in music
Arts and Science Department
Neumann College

Born in San Sebastian, Spain, María José Martín studied at the Real Conservatorio de Música in Madrid as well as in Salamanca, where she earned ear-training and End-of-Degree Piano awards. She received a degree in English Philology (literature and linguistics) from the Universidad de Salamanca. Martín continued her studies in the United States, completing her Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music.

She has performed in both solo and chamber recitals in Spain, germany, Austria, and in the United States. Her many recital appearances include performances at the Círculo de Bellas Artes and Museo del Prado in Madrid, and at the Universidad Pontificia in Salamanca.

  • Musical Art
  • Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  • Creative process
Person as Subject
  • Encarna Beltran-Huertas Sanchez Ana Bofill Ana Coduras Robert Maggio Arcangel Olivari

(30 min Conference Paper, English)