B i o g r a p h y
I began my saxophone studies in 1992 under the guidance of jazz teacher Patricio Ramirez. After finishing my secondary school I did a degree in Saxophone Performance at the Instituto Profesional Escuela Moderna de Música (Modern School of Music) in Santiago de Chile where I studied popular and classical music under the guidance of teachers Raúl Gutierrez and Alejandro Vazquez, respectively.
In 1997 I began my career as a performer in Irazu Big Band, playing Latin jazz and Cuban music. In 1998 the band took part at the International Jazz Festival in Santiago and later on performed at highly popular events in Chile, accompanied renowned musicians such as the North American pianist Kenny Kirkland, Cuban percussionist José Luis “Changuito” Quintana and Brazilian composer Iván Lins. I participated in Irazu Big Band for four years and recorded two albums for the Spanish label Caribbean Records.
In the summer of 1997 I had Latin jazz private tuition in La Habana, Cuba, while in the summer of 1998 I studied jazz improvisation with teacher Joachim Ülrich in Cologne, Germany,
In 2000 I was invited to be part of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano de Saxofones (Latin American Saxophone Quartet) playing alto saxophone. The group was awarded the Grants for the Development Of the Arts (FONDART) granted by the Government of Chile. The Quartet then released the CD “Andanzas” investing the prize’s money in the album recording. The CD was an effort to bring together composers whose compositions reflected musical roots of Chilean Folklore. On August 2001 the quartet was invited to the 4th Buenos Aires International Music Festival, Argentina, and performed a concert at the Opera Theater, Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires. In 2002 the Quartet obtains a new Fondart’s grant for their third CD, Fronteras. In later years the quartet went on to perform at the Festival Internacional de las Artes in Costa Rica, National Celebration in Sucre, Bolivia and many Chilean towns. In September 2007 we were invited to perform at the San Francisco State University, USA and at other local venues of San Francisco area. During the tour we also gave workshops on Latin American music. From 2007-2010 the quartet was touring for the north, center and south of Chile, including Isla de Pascua (Easter Island). We performed those concerts and workshops with the sponsorship of the Chilean Government.
During the 2000's, I was invited to perform with the following classical orchestras: Symphonic Orchestra of Chile, Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago and Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Chile. In these orchestras I performed works by M. Ravel, G. Gershwin, L. Bernstein, Z. Kodaly, A. Jolivet, S. Rachmaninoff. In 2003 I performed as soloist “Saxophone Concerto in Eb Major, Op. 109 by Alexander Glazunov” with the Orquesta Moderna (Modern Orchestra) . In the same year I performed, with the same orchestra, the music premiere of “Linea Uno”, a saxophone and strings composition dedicated to me by Chilean composer Sebastián Errazuriz.
In 2004 I participated as saxophonist and composer in the band “Sonambulo”, a project which explores the fusion of Chilean Folklore and jazz elements. In 2005 the CD “Sonambulo” sees the light, a set of compositions that was well received by the local press.
As a session musician I have recorded in more than thirty albums since 1999. As a freelance performer I have participated in concerts, festivals and TV shows with Chilean popular bands and singers.
As a music teacher I worked at The Grange School, British school in Chile where I was the musical director of the school’s concert band and the woodwind instruments' teacher (2002-10). During that period The Grange School Concert Band regularly performed in music festivals organized by the Association of British Schools in Chile and at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we performed at Luna Park concert hall in three consecutive years (2006-08). I also worked as a saxophone teacher at Escuela Moderna de Musica (Modern School of Music) in Santiago, preparing young Chilean musicians (2002-2006).
In september of 2010, I started a Master of Arts in Music at the University of York, UK, focusing on jazz and improvised music for one year, funded by the Bicentennial Conicyt Scholarship. During my master studies I participated as a performer in the University of York Jazz Orchestra and also organized my own jazz quintet performing concerts dedicated to the music of Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Chilean Jazz (including my own compositions).
In 2011 I started a PhD in Music at The University of York funded by Becas Chile scholarship and under the supervisión of Dr. Jonathan Eato. During my postgraduate studies I received saxophone and improvisation individual lessons from saxophonists Joel Purnell, Julian Arguelles and pianist John Taylor.
My doctoral research is focused on the brass band music of the Fiesta de La Tirana, northern Chile, where I carried out fieldwork in 2012. My practical research included compositions and collaborative work in response to the field research with Julian Arguelles Octet, The University of York Jazz Orchestra, electronic composer Radek Rudnicki, the string quartet Quatuor Diotima , contemporary ensemble The Assembled , and Chilean composer Carlos Zamora.
During the last years I have presented my doctoral research in York, Leeds, Belfast, London and Barcelona. Also my music has been performed in different venues around Yorkshire such as the National Center of Early Music, Sir Jack Lyons Hall, York Racecourse, Camra Festival, Woodstoock Festival.
Since 2013 I've held the position of Assistant Director of The University of York Jazz Orchestra. Also I'm working as a saxophone individual teacher based at the Music Department. I'm working my written research based at the Humanities Research Centre of The University of York.
In July 2016 I received my degree of Doctor (PhD) in Music by the University of York. Since September 2016 I'm holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship position at the Arts and Humanities Centre of The Univeristy of York.
Currently I'm presenting my musical ideas with two projects: Ricardo Alvarez Quartet (where I develop my jazz and Latin American folklore influences) and Kirki Project ( a collaborative project with electroacoustic composer Radek Rudnicki).
I hope you enjoy my website!
Irazú Big-Band (1996-99)
Club de Jazz de Santiago, Chile.
Cuarteto Latinoamericano de Saxofones (1999-2010).
Recording of our DVD Lo que queda del paraíso during Costa Rica's tour
Premiere of our first CD. Sala SCD, Santiago, 2005
University of York Jazz Orchestra (2010-...)
Premiere concert of my composition Suite La Tirana. NCEM, York, UK.
Kirki Project (2012-...)
The Basement, City Screen, York, UK
Ricardo Alvarez Quintet (2011-...)
The Phoenix Jazz Club, York, UK