Javier Farías, composer

Composer Javier Farías has led a prominent musical career writing extensively for the guitar in varying genres ranging from solo classical and electric to full guitar ensembles as well as other instrumental combinations. Farías’ music has been hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine as “top class” and “outstanding…bracing and evocative,” by The Washington Post as “haunting, lyrical, and intense,” and by Gramophone as “excellent.” His catalogue, which includes more than 80 compositions, is representative of Farías’ devotion for the guitar in addition to his ability to write chamber music with diverse instrumentation, for full orchestra and concertos, jazz ensemble, choral music, as well as with choice instruments such as the bandoneón, flamenco guitar, electric guitar, and charango. 

Javier Farías has been honored by having his music performed and recorded by some of the main exponents of the guitar such as Eliot FiskBen VerderyDavid Tanenbaum, Joaquín Clerch DíazGabriel Bianco, Eduardo IsaacEmanuele SegreJosé Antonio EscobarRicardo Cobo, Carlos PerezAndy Summers—legendary rock guitarist of The Police, and premier jazz-fusion guitarist Mike Stern. His music has also been premiered in lauded venues such as Carnegie Hall, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Instituto Cervantes in New York, The Kennedy Center, Tsuda Hall in Japan, Salle Cortot in Paris, Ateneo de Madrid, and Meistersaal in Berlin among others.

In 2014, Farías was awarded a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University for a new concerto for two guitars composed for Sergio and Odair Assad and the YOA Orchestra of the Americas. He has also won first prizes in the Michele Pittaluga Composition Competition for Classical Guitar (2004), the Andrés Segovia Composition Contest (2005), and the 2 Agosto International Composing Competition (2008) with Canta la Tierra, a work for symphonic orchestra. Since 2004, Farías has been awarded funding from the Chilean Council for the Arts for more than 10 different projects in support of his composing, premieres, and recording. In 2017, he was awarded the Maryland State Individual Artist Award in recognition of the importance of his work of excellence to the cultural vibrancy of Maryland. Other notable commissions have come from L’Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, the New England chamber choir VoceApollo Chamber PlayersSan Francisco Conservatory Guitar Ensemble, and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (VA), and commission funding from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Inter-American Development Bank, New Music USA, and Centro Cultural de Tijuana in Mexico.

Farías’ music has also been premiered, programmed, and or recorded by Philharmonie Baden-Baden, Aspekte New Music Salzburg, The Chamber Music Society of Sacramento, Camerata Argentina de Guitarras, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Quaternaglia Guitar QuartetMarcelo de la Puebla, David Veslocki, Eugenio Gonzalez, Roberto Limón, Piraí Vaca, the Orellana & Orlandini Duo, Alturas Duo, and Daniel Binelli—bandoneonist of Astor Piazzolla’s sextet.

A native of Chile, Javier Farías founded the Ensamble de Guitarras de Chile in 2006; a group that brings together the most outstanding guitarists throughout Chile. In its 14 years of existence, there have been more than 60 guitarists who have participated in premiering more than 25 works by composers from Chile, Argentina, United States, France, Taiwan, Greece, and Puerto Rico that have been written for the ensemble. In July 2020, David Tanenbaum will be conducting Ensamble de Guitarras de Chile in a  program, “Only in the Darkness can we see the Stars,” which will premiere four new pieces that American composers Andrew E. Simpson, Ronald Pearl, Garry Eister, and Pulitzer and Grammy winner Aaron Jay Kernis have written especially for this event. 

In the academic world, Javier Farías has served as professor of composition at Escuela Moderna de Música y Danza in Chile from 2001 to 2012 where he also studied composition. With a subsequent move to Washington DC, he was Composer in Residence at the Latin American Music Center at Catholic University of America in 2013. 

Javier Farías (b.1973, Santiago Chile) is a member of ASCAP. His music for guitar is published by Berben (Italy), E.M.E.C. (Spain), Doberman-Yppan, and Les Productions d’OZ (Canada). Farías publishes the remainder of his catalogue with Axial Ediciones. He currently lives in the Washington, DC area.

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