On November 18, 2022, we get to experience something wonderful at Teatro Esperanza on 5th & Bristol, Philadelphia, PA. For the first time ever, a compositional piece from a world-renowned composer by the name of Sergio Delgado Rodriguez will be played live on stage starting at 7:30 PM. Delgado is an outstanding, highly acclaimed LatinX composer whose wide and varied catalog of music has been performed by prestigious performers and ensembles in North, Central, and South America, Asia, and Europe.
This time around, the world stage featuring Delgado’s music is none other than Teatro Esperanza, with a spotlight on the world premiere of one of Delgado’s symphonic pieces. It will be interpreted live on stage by Astral Artists of the Flute, Clarinet, Piano, and Guitar.
More than that, Delgado aims to deliver music to the ears and hearts of those who will listen and awaken feelings in his audience. Through his compositions, Delgado insists on relaying that there is no language barrier with his type of music. The only language spoken is the language of the heart. The language of human connection. Delgado feels that art is not complete until it is shared, received, and interpreted by willing hearts.
In Delgado’s own words he says of composing and playing music, “Music inspires me so much because it draws me nearer to humanity.”
But you may be asking, “Who is this Sergio Delgado Rodriguez whose music will grace the stage of Teatro Esperanza? “
Delgado is one of Latin America’s most acclaimed composers of his generation. His compositions have been played globally. He is also a clarinetist. In 2019, he was awarded the National Prize in Music by the Ministry of Culture of Costa Rica. He is the youngest to receive this prestigious award in the category of classical composition.
As an active clarinetist, Delgado is a member of the University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra and Heredia Symphony since 2011. Delgado has also performed as a soloist with different ensembles and regularly plays chamber music in the most important concert halls of his country. He studied at the Conservatory of Castella, and the University of Costa Rica, and has received master classes and private lessons with famous artists.
Did I mention that he is only 29 years old?!
Rewinding a bit, Delgado was born in Costa Rica. He lives there now, but he’s looking for a school outside of his home country so that he can take on post-graduate study in music theology and eventually teach children under the age of 18 how to compose symphonic, and classical music.
Why the passion for teaching? You see, at the tender age of 8, Delgado discovered a piano in his family home and started playing it on his own. By 12, he was getting private lessons and learning how to read music. As a teenager, his parents noticed their son’s natural gifts and talent with music and entered him into the prestigious Conservatory de Castella at home in Costa Rica. At the age of 13, the young Delgado decidedly focused on composing music and playing the clarinet. You could safely say he is a child prodigy. Delgado credits the support of his family for much of the direction his life took.
After the Conservatory de Castilla, which is like finishing high school, Delgado went on to study at the University of Costa Rica. He studied the clarinet and other art forms. Composing symphonic music is something he took on by personal choice. He is currently pursuing a study in musical theory in composition. He hopes to one day teach composition to young children ages 18 and under. He feels that the pre-teen years of a child are key times to learn music composition.
In his own words:
Q: What type of music did you listen to growing up? Was it always classical?
A: “I didn’t start listening to classical music until I was 13. I used to listen to everything my parents, siblings or the stores would play and enjoyed it. But, from 13 years of age until now, I started listening solely to classical music and have not stopped. All my vinyl albums are like maestros because the most effective way I’ve learned to compose is by listening.”
Q: Who has influenced you musically?
A: “Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Boulanger, Prokofiev, Ginastera, Revueltas, along with certain Argentinian and Mexican composers. Since the age of 17, I have played in orchestras, which became like a school of learning for me because I had to execute so much music. It also became a great place to listen, learn and execute my own compositions. I attended Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia in Costa Rica where it specialized in contemporary music and Latin American music.
Q: What about these composers inspired you?
A: Their lives and how life intertwined with their musical masterpieces. There is something beautifully spiritual in how Bach composed. It is perfect music. And Schubert is one of my favorites. He inspires me a lot. His capacity for melody is amazing even though he led a tragic life that ended at the early age of 31, yet there is joy and beauty in the over 600 compositions that he left the world behind to enjoy. Then there’s Mozart because he started at such a young age and wrote a lot of music. The list goes on, but all this to say that life itself inspires the music and hopefully, the music can connect us soul to soul, heart to heart.
Q: Why do you think you chose being a musical composer/clarinetist as a career?
A: For me to compose music is like breathing. To create art is like life itself. It’s not about prestige or titles so much. My compositions are like my children, borne out of a love for humanity and a tool that can be recorded, performed, and shared throughout the world. My compositions draw me closer to humanity. What I compose, I try to compose for everyone. I insist on it. The listener is a very important part of the writing experience. I want to provide a special moment for my audience. My desire is that an aficionado of classical music as well as someone hearing this ensemble for the first time enjoys my compositions. The artist needs to be a humanist— and must have a passion to share.
Q: How long have you been composing music?
A: I am 29 years old now and I have been composing since I was 12 years old. But, in the past 5 years, I’ve accelerated that passion. I have written over 60 compositions, which have been interpreted and recorded all over the world within these past 5 years alone. This vocation requires lots of discipline and passion. You cannot have one without the other. Also, you must practice a lot to create this type of music. Being consistent in my writing and disciplining myself with lots of practice is how I have found a balance which has given me my own voice. There has been a lot of growth and my style has become solid in the process. I am constantly composing music in my head. I cannot stop hearing them. What I transmit in my compositions is who I am. My personality comes through them. My music sounds like me. My humor, my sensibilities; there’s a maturity now. Even how I speak, you can hear it in my music. One can also denote Latin American overtones in my compositions.
Q: Lastly, what message would you like the reader to receive from you?
A: I am grateful for how easy it is to compose music for me. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’m grateful that I started so young. I was a curious child and now I’m reaping the benefits from all the hard work. I want to thank Esperanza and Astral Artists and the musicians who will interpret my symphony for this wonderful opportunity. I think it’s fitting that we have mutual goals, which are that we cannot forget who we are and where we came from. As a matter of fact, the Astral Artists playing my piece at Teatro Esperanza are culturally diverse as well. Being authentic and never forgetting our roots play a big part in connecting with the audience. We need to be authentic as artists. I insist. People have told me they get emotional when they listen to my pieces and that’s important to me. I’ve made a connection. A human-to-human connection.
Astral: LatinX Composers
Friday, November 18, 2022, 7:30pm-9:00pm
In-Person: $10 Full; Students & Seniors Free
Livestream: Pay As You Wish
Astral Artist’s roster of emerging virtuosos will perform chamber music by Latin American composers, including the world premiere of a new work by Sergio Delgado Rodriguez.
Featured Astral Artists
Beomjae Kim, flute
Amer Hasan, clarinet
Byeol Kim, piano
Hao Yang, guitar