Sergio Barroso

(b. 4 March 1946, Havana).

Cuban composer, now resident in Canada, of mostly stage, orchestral and chamber works that have been performed in the Americas, Asia and Europe; he is also active as a keyboardist.

Mr. Barroso studied composition, organ and piano with Alfredo Díaz Nieto, Alfredo Levi, Edgardo Martín, and César Pérez Sentenat at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana from 1950–66. He had postgraduate studies in composition with Václav Dobiáš, Alois Hába and Karel Janeček at the Akademie múzických umění v Praze – Academy of Performing Arts in Prague from 1966–68 and also studied conducting with Manuel Duchesne and Gonzalo Romeu at the Instituto Superior de Música de la Universidad de La Habana. He then studied computer music with John Chowning and Jean-Claude Risset at Stanford University.

Among his many honours are a prize in the Concours International de Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges (1980), the New York Cintra/Arts International Composition Award (1999) and the Victor M. Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts (2000). His music has represented both Canada and Cuba at the UNESCO TRIMALCA (1979), the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (1980, 1995) and the UNESCO International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music (1990, 1994). His works have been performed throughout the Americas, as well as in Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

As a keyboardist, he has primarily performed his own music on piano and music from the Baroque on harpsichord, although he has also given the premières of several works for harpsichord, piano and synthesizer.

He is also active in other positions. He worked as a broadcaster of new music at the Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión and as a music critic for the daily newspaper Juventud Rebelde in Havana from 1969–80. He served as music director of the Biblioteca Cubana Nacional José Martí from 1970–72 and the Universidad de La Habana from 1972–74. In addition, he served as chair of the department of development of the Ministerio de Cultura in Cuba and as secretary-general of the section in Cuba of the UNESCO International Music Council from 1976–80.

Mr. Barroso taught composition and music theory at the Conservatorio Nacional de La Habana, the Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana and the Instituto Superior de Música de la Universidad de La Habana from 1968–80. He has also taught at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Mexico City and at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Trent University in Ontario and the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

He has lived in Canada since 1981.


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Plásmasis (ballet, choreography by Alicia Alonso), orchestra, fixed media, 1970

Dinamia (ballet), fixed media, 1972

La Casa de Bernarda Alba (ballet, choreography by Alicia Alonso, after Federico García Lorca), small orchestra (14 winds, 8 brass), fixed media, 1971–75

Ireme (ballet, texts from Abakuá folklore from Cuba), mezzo-soprano, percussion, fixed media, 1975 (may be performed as a concert work)

Neverland (dance music), fixed media, 1976

The Tempest (incidental music, play by William Shakespeare), fixed media, 1984


Concierto, oboe, orchestra, 1967–68

Oda al soldado muerto, large orchestra, 1968

Concerto for String(s) and Four Sound Sources, 1972

Yantra VII, large orchestra, 1977

Tropical Sweet, string orchestra, 1986

La Fiesta grande, synthesizers (1 player), orchestra, 1990

Jitanjáfora, violin, orchestra, 1993

Concerto, viola, orchestra, 1995–96 (also version as Viola Desnuda, viola)


Cuarteto de cuerdas, string quartet, 1967

Concierto, piano, percussion, audience, fixed media, 1968

Yantra I, guitar, fixed media, 1972

Yantra III, guitar, fixed media, 1972 (also version for 2 guitars, 1973)

Yantra II, 14 winds, 1973–74

Yantra IV, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), fixed media, 1975

Yantra V, guitar, 1975

Yantra IX, soprano saxophone (+ alto saxophone), fixed media, 1979

Yantra X, bassoon, fixed media, 1981–82

Quince Miradas a Don Quijote, 2 guitars, 1984

Danzas coloniales cubanas, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1984

En febrero mueren las flores, violin, fixed media, 1987

Canzona, synthesizers (1 player), fixed media, 1988

La Fiesta, synthesizers (1 player), fixed media, 1989

Crónicas de ultrasueño, oboe/clarinet/trumpet, synthesizers (1 player)/fixed media, 1992

Sonatada, synthesizers (1 player), 1992

Charangas delirantes, synthesizers (3 players), 1993 (also version for synthesizers [1 player], fixed media, 1993)

Viejas voces, viola, fixed media, 1993–94

Crónicas II, viola, synthesizers (1 player)/fixed media, 1995

Viola Desnuda, viola, 1995–97 (version of Concerto)

La Noche, bass clarinet, viola, fixed media, 1997 (also versions for bass oboe, bass clarinet, fixed media, 1997; 2 bass clarinets, fixed media, 1997; fixed media)

Sandunga, viola, fixed media, 1997 (also version for clarinet, fixed media, 1997)

Cuartetas, bass clarinet, viola, piano, synthesizers (1 player)/fixed media, 1999

Callejos, bass clarinet, fixed media, 1999

Pregones, cello, fixed media, 2000

Rocambole, violin/viola, cello, fixed media, 2001

Hélice, soprano saxophone, fixed media, 2003–05


El Ángel desengañado (text by Rafael Alberti), alto, piano, 1963

Tres Canciones azules (text by Rafael Alberti), soprano, piano, 1963

Tres Canciones grises (text by Federico García Lorca), alto, piano, 1963

Grietas (text by Xiomara Funes), soprano, piano, 1965

Noema II, voice, guitar, violin, double bass, piano, fixed media, 1972

Ireme, mezzo-soprano, percussion, fixed media, 1975 (concert version of ballet)

Verdehalago (text by Mariano Brull), high soprano, alto flute (+ piccolo), violin, double bass, percussion, live electronics, 2004–06


Microsuite, 1965

Variaciones del Motoriongo, 1966

Música para pequeños oídos, 1966

Yantra VIII, 1978

Yantra VI, piano, fixed media, 1976–79

Liborio, piano, fixed media, 2008


Las Barricadas misteriosas, fixed media, 1982

Soledad, fixed media, 1987

Tablao, guitar ad libitum, fixed media, 1991

La Noche, fixed media, 1997 (version of chamber work)


Rumbos, fixed media, slide projections (by Sandú Darié), 1975


Variaciones del Motoriongo. Nancy Casanovas, piano (Areíto: LDA-3589) (LP)

Concierto (piano, percussion, audience, fixed media); Yantra I; Yantra IV. Luis Bayard, flute, piccolo, alto flute; Flores Chaviano, guitar; Sergio Barroso/percussion of the Orquesta Sinfónica de La Habana (Areíto: LDA-3631) (LP)

Yantra III (original version). Flores Chaviano, guitar (Areíto: LDA-3721) (LP)

Yantra VIII. Ileana Peña, piano (Areíto: LDA-3800) (LP)

Oda al soldado muerto. Enrique González Mántici/Orquesta Sinfónica de La Habana (Areíto: LDA-7000) (LP)

Crónicas de ultrasueño (version with oboe). Lawrence Cherney, oboe; Sergio Barroso, synthesizers (Centrediscs: CMCCD 4793)

La Fiesta; Crónicas de ultrasueño (version with oboe); En febrero mueren las flores; Charangas delirantes; Sonatada; Viejas voces; Tablao (version for fixed media); Yantra X; Canzona. León Biriotti, oboe; Jesse Read, bassoon; Adele Armin, violin; Laura Wilcox, viola; Sergio Barroso, synthesizers (empreintes DIGITALes: IMED 9628/29)

Yantra I; Yantra III (original version); Yantra IV; Yantra VI; Yantra IX. Luis Bayard, flute, piccolo, alto flute; Miguel Villafruela, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Flores Chaviano, guitar; Jorge Gomez Labraña, piano (IREME: 19732001)

La Noche (version for fixed media); En febrero mueren las flores; Sandunga (original version); Las Barricadas misteriosas. Adele Armin, violin; Laura Wilcox, viola (IREME: 19822002)

Concerto (viola); Jitanjáfora; La Casa de Bernarda Alba (excerpts). Adele Armin, violin; Laura Wilcox, viola; Alex Pauk/Esprit Orchestra; Sergio Barroso/Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ópera Cubana (IREME: 19962001)

La Fiesta. Sergio Barroso, synthesizers (Radio Canada International: ACM-37)

Soledad; Canzona. Sergio Barroso, synthesizers (Société de Nouvelle Enregistrement: SNE 556)

Viola Desnuda. Laura Wilcox, viola (Société de Nouvelle Enregistrement: SNE 654)