A look at the life of a composer with Alice Gomez
Alice Gomez, an internationally acclaimed Latina composer, is inspired by her own Mexican culture, which can be heard in her compositional output. Music is something that is rooted in many different cultures and many people find inspiration from their own cultural heritage.
While she enjoys writing Latin music, it is not the soul focus of a lot of the work she has produced. She is also driven by pictures and social/political events when it comes to her art.
“I don't limit my focus to various Mexican traditions, but I have also written about a variety of subjects including Greek mythology, Biblical stories, dinosaurs, space galaxies, black holes, and social and political issues,” Gomez said.
Coming from a musical background, Gomez has been exposed to music ever since she was a little girl.
“I began writing songs while I was a student in elementary school,” Gomez said. “I grew up in a musical family, so music was always a part of my life.”
Before Gomez starts a new piece, she does extensive background research beforehand in order to produce her best work.
“Before I begin composing a new work, I research the subject that I am interested in writing about. I look at pictures and read articles or books,” Gomez said.
When asked what her favorite piece she created was, Gomez was unable to select just one.
“My pieces are like my children. It is difficult to choose which one that I am most proud of,” Gomez said.
Gomez’s compositional output speaks for itself. She has had many great achievements as a composer and there have been many highlights throughout her career.
“There are several highlights of my musical career beginning with a very successful premier of my first orchestral work in 1992, having numerous published works while I was a student and for several years after, a three year residency as composer with the San Antonio Symphony, receiving several Composer's Awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, performing as an extra percussionist/drummer with the San Antonio Symphony, writing for and performing on several Native American styled compact disc recordings, and teaching music at San Antonio College for 25 years,” Gomez said.
Her achievements do not stop there. Still an active composer, Gomez just finished three new pieces of music.
“I just finished working on three commissioned pieces: a woodwind quintet, a marimba/vibraphone duet, and a piece for solo carillon,” Gomez said.
As a female composer, Gomez has endured discrimination throughout her musical career. This, however, did not stop her from achieving her many goals.
“My main instrument has always been percussion and I experienced plenty of discrimination as a female drummer,” Gomez said. “Many of my school band directors insisted that I play the piano since guys played the drums. This was very unfair to me because I had already been playing drums professionally since the age of eight.”
Gomez felt that women today are starting to have more opportunities within the music field. For those who wish to become composers, she really emphasized the idea that practice makes perfect.
“Nowadays, there are many more opportunities available for females in music composition and performance,” Gomez said. “I would suggest that females who are interested in writing study composition, listen to various styles of music, and write something everyday like practicing a musical instrument.”
Linked here is a page on Gomez's website that allows you to hear some of her work.
Article by Ava Wojnowski
Ava Wojnowski is an intern with LunART. She is majoring in journalism and Spanish and is excited to bring her passion for writing to LunART. Outside of school, Wojnowski loves to spend time outside and also loves to listen to music. She played the viola from 4th to 12th grade, so music has always been a part of her life.