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My interest in composition emerged as a consequence of performing contemporary music. My very first attempt at it was when I was 15 but I did not formally have any lessons until 2014 and began having lessons with Patrick Carrabré during my Master’s degree in Composition at Brandon University. I have an affinity towards rhythmically colorful textures and visually-evocative sonic worlds, which often incorporate elements of Mexican folklore and a cinematographic approach to musical story-telling. I am currently pursuing doctoral studies in Composition at York University in Toronto with Randolph Peters, exploring the digital landscape for music-making and humanity’s often pernicious dynamics with the internet.

I like to make music about the Internet with the Internet.


Mi Piñata, Videoscore

Mi Piñata, Videoscore

Mi Piñata, by Luis Ramirez World premiere performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Gustavo Gimeno conducting. Roy Thomson Hall, April 27th, 2022. Toronto ON Program Notes This piece is about the empowerment, jubilance, and catharsis in meticulously crafting something whose ultimate purpose is to be destroyed ferociously. There is something viscerally powerful in the destruction of a beautiful, meticulously crafted creation. While the history and symbolism of the piñata are interesting, this piece is not about that. This piece is about its deeply meaningful presence to a child, focusing on the excitement and anticipation of breaking "Mi Piñata". In the Mexican tradition, the breaking of the piñata is the highlight of any major communal celebration. During the celebration, all the children line up and take turns to strike the piñata, and the moment you receive the stick you are immediately empowered. The anticipation of landing the final blow can feel more meaningful and enjoyable than the delectable reward inside. The moment of destruction is a glorious one - a cathartic experience and an incredible way to release deeply-rooted emotions we otherwise might not know how to address. Piñatas are a certainty in any party or celebration, and this ritual of physical and psychological release leaves an indelible imprint on those who grow up experiencing it. "Mi Piñata" captures this powerful sensory and emotional experience from the perspective of a child, for whom it constitutes a kind of focused excitement and exhilaration like no other. The piñata artisans put painstaking work and immense craftsmanship into their products, transforming scraps of cardboard and paper into an exciting shape to be destroyed. I represent this in the music by constructing the entire piece around a single idea, a tiny melodic fragment evoking the folk songs chanted during the breaking of the piñata. The small fragments build up one after another, as the full piñata gradually emerges accompanied by a childlike spirit of anticipation and excitement. Once assembled, the music is festive and jubilant up until the first strike of the stick. Each “hit” that lands increasingly distorts the musical content, morphing into joyous cacophony until there is nothing left but a kaleidoscopic display of colour, candy, and cheers. The premise of creating something beautiful only to destroy it is counter to the human instinct to preserve and cherish. At the same time, it is an empowering and liberating act akin to what occurs in nature and life: the certainty of the impermanence in all things, even the most beautifully and meticulously crafted. What matters in the end is the community and the joy of being with each other. Mi Piñata was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to celebrate their 100th season. The piñata is an icon of Mexican folklore and, for me, a most fitting way to celebrate this incredible achievement.
Doomsurfer - Improvisations on Behavioral Addiction

Doomsurfer - Improvisations on Behavioral Addiction

Music, video, and performance by Luis Ramirez Commissioned by GroundSwell as part of their 30th anniversary season in 2021-2022 Special thanks to Scott Howarth for letting me use his piano. Program notes: The terms “doomsurfing” and “doomscrolling” emerged as a way to describe the behavior of nonstop consumption of bad news that a lot of people adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic. This behavioral addiction stemmed from the isolation and general gloom that people have experienced in the last couple of years. The already damaging behavior is exacerbated by the designs and interface of the various online platforms. The attention economy drives companies to employ hundreds of people whose job is to keep the user hooked and take advantage of their psychological vulnerabilities for their profit. Addictions develop with the idea that the behavior is protecting us from psychological distress. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc., can all trigger behavioral addictions for us to mitigate our problems and troubles. All procrastination is just like an addiction - you start doing it because you want to have fun, but you continue because you don't want to feel unhappy. Loneliness is the biggest culprit for addiction, and while it is really difficult to escape the doomsurfing temptation when we have our own internal problems, it is even more so with the amount of external tumult and uncertainty in our current world. The struggle begins with our surroundings. The gravitational pull of my phone is much stronger if I wake up next to it, and this accessibility inevitably leads to the rest of my day being mostly unproductive. The morning is typically my best time for ideas and productivity, and the limited bandwidth of our brain can be quickly cluttered if I dive into internet rabbit holes too early on. Once the phone takes over it is really hard to escape, and it feels like a battle for my attention between a productive day and the Internet’s infinite content. I have found that delaying the first interaction with my device by even just half an hour results in me having a much more productive and fulfilling day. Going for a walk, getting direct sunlight in my eyes, drinking lots of water… It is small steps like these that can lead to building good habits and a general improvement in your life. I wanted to represent this struggle with my music and share what I have learned with the hope that it can benefit someone in similar circumstances. #doomsurfer #doomscrolling #piano #depression #newmusic #contemporarymusic
Koatl Videoscore

Koatl Videoscore

Koatl, by Luis Ramirez Performed by the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra with Gary Kulesha, conductor Hamilton ON, June 2022 Program Notes: A story of fear and triumph, of evasion and embrace. It begins with a fall through mysterious dimensions of time and space to an unfamiliar place. A glance at your surroundings yields both awe and terror. The walls spring to life with a glistening iridescence. Memories of the past urge you to leave, but you are here for a reason. And so you begin to walk slowly, with trepidation. When it appears, you are not surprised. It seems as though it had always been there. With the majestic creature in full view your eyes meet. Its kaleidoscopic scales scintillate as it slithers toward you with curiosity. Slowly, with grace and ease, it constricts your body in a warm embrace. Protection, at last. Unease creeps in as the embrace becomes tighter and painful. Fear and adrenaline course through your veins as you become aware that its gaze has morphed into a malevolent glare. Freeing yourself from the creature, you run. As you are being chased, space and time are being distorted. The walls vanish, and the omnipotent beast warps you into an unknown dimension to halt your escape. You find yourself alone, panicked, with all the paths only leading you back to the beginning. Paralyzing helplessness sets in as you avoid the inevitable, unthinkable truth. There must be another way. Another solution. Another exit. Finally, you give up the fight and accept your reality. As you gather strength, a new conviction moves you forward. Invigorated, you start running. You resolve to meet your destiny, no matter the consequences. In a final act of faith, you reach out your hand. ============================================================ KOATL was inspired by the myth of the mystical feathered snake, a creature that was both revered and feared by mesoamerican civilizations, like the Aztecs (Quetzalcōātl) and the Maya people (K'uk'ulkan). It was seen as a divine creator with a trickster character that connected the underworld, the earth, and the heavens, and which could offer protection if confronted or conquered. In the psychological context, Carl Jung used the symbolism of the serpent to represent the shadow which resides in one’s subconscious, and which must be embraced and integrated to reach one’s highest possible potential. The resulting piece is a story about the fears, insecurities, and doubts which we all harbour, and the choice to face them which, at one point or another, we all must make.



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