Alejandro Cardona

(b. 1959, San José).

Costa Rican composer of mostly orchestral, chamber and piano works that have been performed throughout the Americas and in Europe.

Prof. Cardona studied composition privately with Jorge Luis González Fernández in 1975–76 and with Curt Cacioppo, Leon Kirchner and Ivan Tcherepnin at Harvard University from 1977–81. He earned his master's degree in image synthesis and computer animation from the the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht and the University of Portsmouth in 1999.

Among his honours are the BMI Award to Student Composers (twice, 1975–76), the composition prize of the Brookline Library Music Association in Brookline, Massachusetts (1978) and the Hugh F. MacColl Prize for Composition from Harvard University (1979). He earned First Prize in the Confluencia de la Guitarra of the Ministère de la Culture in Martinique (1984, for Guerrilleros) and a special mention in the competition Isla de la Gomera in the Canary Islands (1999, for RinoSONoronte [Homenaje a Benny Moré]). He later received the awards for best original music and best experimental video at the Muestra Costarricense de Cine, Video y Multimedia (1999, for Testimonios) and has received the Premio Nacional Aquileo J. Echeverría from the Ministerio de Cultura of Costa Rica three times (1999, for Códices [Son Mestizo III]; 2000, for Bajo sombras; 2002, for En el eco de las paredes). His music has been performed in Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, the USA, and Venezuela.

He is also active in other positions. As a researcher, his specialty is the music of the Caribbean Sea and Mesoamerica, which he studied extensively in Mexico. He co-wrote the book on sight-reading ¿Dónde está la Má Teodora? (1997, second edition, 2000, Editorial Nuestra Cultura). In addition, he has toured as a popular musician, including as a guitarist in the blues band Calacas Blues. His films have been shown at festivals in the Americas and Europe.

He has taught as a full professor at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica in Heredia since 1986 and has served as director of its programme Cultural Identity, Art as Technology since 1996.

In addition to the works listed below, Prof. Cardona has created the interactive CD-ROMs La producción coreográfica en Costa Rica: los años 90 (1999–2000), Dramaturgia del bailarín/Cazador de Mariposas (2002) and Codex ICAT (2002).


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Pindos y athos, 1980

Arena americana (Son Mestizo), 1982–83, revised 1992

Son Mestizo II, 1984–85

Son de los condenados, small orchestra, 1986–87

RinoSONoronte (Homenaje a Benny Moré), piano, string orchestra, 1989–92 (also version for piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass)

La Delgadina (variations), piano, orchestra, 1991–92, revised 2001 (also version for clarinet, viola, piano)

Códices (Son Mestizo III), string quartet, orchestra, 1995–96


Guerrilleros (tomos I–II), guitar, 1981–82

Son del encachimbao, 2 amplified guitars, 1985

Las Siete vidas del gato Mandingo, 6 percussion, 1987–88

Los Soliloquios del gato Mandingo, guitar, 1989

Bajo sombras (string quartet no. 1), 1989–90

RinoSONoronte (Homenaje a Benny Moré), piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 1989–92 (version of work for piano, string orchestra)

La Delgadina (variations), clarinet, viola, piano, 1991–92, revised 2002 (version of work for piano, orchestra)

Cuarteto No. 2, string quartet, 1992–93

Rikkita Kongo Yeri Kongo, bass clarinet, percussion, 1993 (also version for cello, percussion, 2002)

Zachic 1, violin, piano, 1994

Zachic 2, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1994

Moyugba Orisha, cello, 1997–98

En el eco de las paredes (string quartet no. 3), 1999–2001

Cabalgando vientos, 4 guitars, string quartet, 2002–03


Milonga, 1980

Xikiyeua in Xochitl, 1983–89

El Silencio que hay en todas las soledades, 1996–97

El Rayo dormido, 2001–02

La Paulina (fantasía), 2003


Lamento, fixed media, 1997 (also incorporated into Testimonios)

Esperanza, fixed media, 1998 (also incorporated into Testimonios)

Celebración, fixed media, 1998 (also incorporated into Testimonios)

América Angostura (gentes y paisajes imaginarios) (interactive sound-installation), 1999

Texturas, una ventana a Centroamérica (interactive sound-installation), 1999


Testimonios, 1998–99 (incorporates Lamento; Esperanza; Celebración)

Tránsitos y veredas, 2000

Tejidos Rebeldes, 2003