Irisado is a piece of cross-cultural classical music composed by four young New Zealand composers and inspired by Latin American musical styles and traditions.
Recording session Massey University, 2021
Irisado is an 18-minute piece of cross-cultural classical music composed by four young New Zealand composers. It was recorded and first performed in November 2021 by 18 musicians from the National Youth Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa, Principal Conductor in Residence Hamish McKeich and Chilean charanguista Fernando Figueroa, who lives in New Zealand.
Irisado means iridescent in Spanish. The composers chose this name as it reflects the dynamic nature of the music. The piece was influenced by Latin American musical styles and traditions, which the young New Zealand composers had studied. The piece includes a traditional Latin American instrument called the charango, which is a small guitar-like instrument from the Andean regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina.
Irisado was composed and performed as part of the Latin America Centre of Asia–Pacific Excellence Musicality programme, which was supported by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa, New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī (NZSM), Puentes Abroad (Argentina) and Campus B (Colombia). The Musicality programme involved a series of 12 workshops for young New Zealand composers, who were mentored by Latin American composers and NZSM academics. The programme aimed to spark intercultural musical innovation, build connections between participants and strengthen their knowledge of South America and New Zealand.
After taking part in the Musicality programme, feedback from the four co-composers of Irisado shows they were particularly interested in the impact that history, geography and language have had on Latin American musical styles. As a result of the programme, they planned to recreate Latin American sounds in their own compositions and incorporate more traditional instruments, and look for more opportunities in Latin America.
In 2022, Dr Félix Cárdenas (Instituto de Música, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile) created an interpretation of the Irisado composition, which involved increasing the use of indigenous instruments to underline the Latin American sounds the composers were striving for. This interpretation was recorded by members of the Orquesta Andina and Cuarteto Ímpetu. Felix founded the Orquesta Andina in 2002, pioneering a new mix of classical and Latin American music with indigenous musical traditions.
Videos of both versions of Irisado were premiered when New Zealand and Chile celebrated their 50th anniversary of having embassies in each other’s countries. This celebration took place at the New Zealand Parliament in October 2022.
The Latin America Centre of Asia–Pacific Excellence Musicality programme was created and produced by Lucy O’Neill. Craig Nicholson took over as the project lead in 2021.
Published 02 November 2023
"Being involved in this project has had a big impact on my perception of Latin America and will continue to affect my compositional style for a long time."
2020 to 2022
Languages of delivery