I am an independent composer, improviser, educator and activist born in Chile and currently based in Whadjuk-Noongar land in Perth, Western Australia. My creative work focuses on chamber music, looking for new ways of conceiving musical time, often articulating highly detailed textures in contrast with abrupt forms. Research interests include music notation, improvisation, aesthetics and politics, music and mental health, and anti/de-colonial perspectives. Having been professionally trained in the European classical tradition, my musical background also includes knowledge and experience from having been deeply involved with Hindustani classical, Afro-Brazilian, and Andean musical traditions.
While remaining an outsider to the corporatism that pervades the arts establishment in Australia, and free from institutional affiliations, in recent years I’ve taught music and aesthetics as a sessional lecturer and tutor at Edith Cowan University, and University of Western Australia. I have also given guest lectures on my work at Monash University, University of Leeds, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, City University London, and various Latin American cultural centres. Additionally, I’ve served as a peer in multiple Australia Council for the Arts assessing panels.
In 2014 I completed a PhD guided by Liza Lim with a project titled ‘A Situational Approach to Composition’, obtaining the ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Award for an outstanding Research Degree Thesis’ at the University of Huddersfield. During that time I also took editorial responsibility of issue 4 of the CeReNeM Journal (Centre for Research in New Music). Previously, I had completed a Master of Philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London, and had studied music composition with Cirilo Vila at Universidad de Chile (Master of Arts and Licentiate degrees, both awarded with ‘maximum distinction’). Beside formal qualifications, in 2006 a Chilean Arts Council scholarship allowed me to study composition privately with James Dillon in London, and have attended lots of workshops; perhaps the ones I remember most fondly being those with Julio Estrada, Chaya Czernowin and Pierluigi Billone.
Some of the cities where I’ve spent time developing my creative work so far include: Santiago, Valparaíso, London, Querétaro (Artist-in-Residence hosted by the Mexican Arts Council), Mexico City, Vienna (Artist-in-Residence hosted by the Austrian Federal Chancellery), Barcelona, and Perth.
Festivals in which my music has been played so far
Impuls 2011 (Austria)
ISCM World Music Days 2012 (Belgium)
Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik 2013 (Germany)
Connect Festival 2013 (Sweden)
ME_MMIX 2013 (Spain)
ANODE 2014 (USA)
Festival Contrasti 2014 & 2017 (Italy)
Festival Mixtur 2015 (Spain) **Commission 2015.
Festival Musicahora 2015 (Chile)
Sound of Stockholm 2015 (Sweden)
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2013, 2014 & 2015 (UK) **Commission 2014.
Festival de Música Contemporánea UC 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2016 & 2021 (Chile)
Sampler Sèries 2014 & 2016 (Spain)
BIFEM 2016 (Australia)
Totally Huge New Music Festival 2017 (Australia)
Festival Darwin Vargas 2018 (Chile)
Twin Cities New Music Festival 2018 (USA)
Festival Vértice 2018 (Mexico)
Tilde New Music Week 2019 (Australia)
Brisbane Music Festival 2019 (Australia)
Signal to Noise 0.1 2021 (Italy)
eviMus 2021 (Germany)
Artists who have performed my music so far
Argonaut String Quartet (Australia)
Consort Guitarrístico de Chile (Chile)
Ensemble CrossingLines (Spain)
Distractfold Ensemble (UK)
ELISION Ensemble (Australia)
FUKIO Saxophone Quartet (Spain)
Ensemble Hand Werk (Germany)
Ensemble Interface (Germany)
Phidias Trio (Japan)
Spectra Ensemble (Belgium)
Ensemble Soundstorm (Australia)
Strains Ensemble (USA)
Ensemble SurPlus (Germany)
Trace Ensemble (UK)
MP Saxophone Quartet (Italy)
Taller Ciclo (Chile)
Diego Castro Magas (Chile)
Emanuele Dalmaso (Italy)
Jeffery Kyle Hutchins (USA)
Louise Devenish (Australia)
Noriko Kawai (Japan)
Mark Knoop (Australia/UK)
Marco Longo (Italy)
Mark Takeshi McGregor (Canada)
Klaasje Nieuwhof (Netherlands)
Jonas Olsson (Sweden)
Alex Raineri (Australia)
Filip Rathé (Belgium)
Heather Roche (Canada/UK)
Alexandria Smith (USA)
José Luis Urquieta (Chile)
Scott Voyles (USA/Germany)
“Alvarez’s treatment of the material is akin to sculpting, with shifts in perspective that offer new insights into the composition’s elusive core.”
– Eduardo Cossio, RealTime #136, Dec-Jan 2017.
“On stage its longeurs are forgotten, and its subtle shifts in rhythm and texture are well-judged to maintain a sense of inquisitive experiment.”
– Tim Rutherford-Johnson, The Rambler, 18 Feb 2013.
“Pedro Alvarez’s Instead (2013) comes close for creating something distinctly different from a typical solo clarinet work – odd blocks that nod towards minimalism and Zorn, if anything, although that isn’t giving much away.”
– Tim Rutherford-Johnson, The Rambler, 30 Sep 2016.
“Challenging to the point of wilful oddity.” (Whatever that may mean)
– Simon Cummings, 5against4, Nov 2014.
“One can imagine ejected fragments, fragments of a dissolved music, now captured by the ensemble.” (Original in Swedish)
– Roland Horovitz, Nutida Musik, 23 Dec 2015.
“Inherent Nodes evolves within a relative temporality (…) which gives a sense of slightly fluctuating tempo, of a certain elasticity, besides the multiplicity in its different layers. In our opinion, the highlight in this work is its asserting not indeterminate music, but rather a different and refreshed form of determinacy.” (Original in Spanish)
– Mauricio Gómez Gálvez, Resonancias, No.39, Jul-Nov 2016.
“Then two enormous instruments enter the scene, these are baritone saxophones, to perform “Untitled on canvas” by Pedro Alvarez. The two sounds, very velvety in the middle register, combine marvellously to highlight an intertwined, subtle and charming counterpoint. One would think, by the ear, of two turbulent lion cubs devoting themselves to their feline games.” (Original in French)
– Nikola Lutz, concerts-paris-jlp, June 2013.
“The work is imposing upon listening, due to both its iterative global character, and its iridescent, creaking sonority of great expressiveness. Like in previous works by the composer, this one invites into a deeper listening, from which a logics of micro-variation emerges that can remain hidden if we conform to first impressions. Two large sections, determined by the use of cymbals (first bowed, then with mallet) frame a microtonal music that attends to the acoustic properties of both instruments.” (Original in Spanish)
– Mauricio Gómez Gálvez, Resonancias, No.45, Jul-Nov 2019.