Composer - Librettist
I’m neither Mexican or American, but Mexican-American. Like my work, I exist in and in between these two cultural worlds. Drawing on my training as a classical composer, my mission is to reinvent classical musical forms by incorporating music from both sides of the border.
Whether it be Mariachi, music Azteca, or corridos ( folk songs) from the fields of the central California, you can find elements of this music in much of my work. This approach allows me and others to explore what it means to be a Mexican American through a new lens - classical music and opera.
Recently, I've been digging deeper into my distant cultural heritage - Spain. My new newest opera, Zorro, ( set in Los Angeles in the 1800s), incorporates Spanish music including flamenco.
Regardless, my mission is to bring my community with me as I explore who I am as a Mexican American composer and to give voice to my community.
Héctor Armienta, a nationally recognized composer, focuses on creating work that explores the Mexican and Mexican-American cultural experience. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, he is one of the few Chicano opera composers to have had his work performed nationally and internationally. His awards and commissions include those from Meet the Composer, the NEA, the MapFund, Forth Worth Opera, the Pacific Symphony, Opera Southwest, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and others. His work for orchestra, theater, and opera has received support from six NEA grants in artistic excellence. Most recently, he was awarded a 2022 CCSRE Arts Mellon Fellowship at Stanford University and a 2021 Map Fund award.
Notable projects included the opera Bless Me Ultima ( based on Rudolfo Anaya's novel), the opera Zorro, and the animated opera film - Mi Camino. Upcoming projects include La Muerte ( Part III of Armienta's opera trilogy Aguas Ancestrales) and a new immersive VR opera project - Campesinos.
Mr. Armienta is also the founder and director of Ópera Cultura, whose mission is to explore music theater and opera through a cross-cultural lens. He holds a BM degree in composition from California Institute of the Arts and an MM degree in composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He also sits on the board of Opera America.