Oxford’s Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Matamoros, Gustavo

Carmen Helena Téllez
Published in print: 20 January 2001
Published online: 2001

(b Caracas, April 8, 1957). Venezuelan composer and sound installation artist. He experimented with short-wave radios and tape recorders before earning a Bachelor of Music in theory and composition from the University of Miami (1979–83). He has collaborated with several important arists in the United States and Latin America, including Anthony de Mare, Turetzky, Lucier and Eduardo Kusnir, and has participated in seminars with Earle Brown (1987, 1990) and Cage (1991). He has won the Juan Bautista Plaza and Caro de Boesi composition awards in Venezuela and several grants in the United States. His music has been performed in New York, Miami, Caracas, Bourges, Toronto, Chicago, Mexico City, Los Angeles and several other American and European cities. Matamoros is the founding director of the South Florida Composers’ Alliance and has run the Subtropics New Music Festival in Florida since 1989.

Matamoros’s creative processes are guided by sound properties. Sounds may have diametrically opposed sources, as in RCA Victor’s True Story (1999) for piano, electronics and a dog. He prefers indeterminate forms in which composed or improvised performances, live electronics, stage action, video, radio broadcasting, collages and sound installations all interact and emulate the fluidity of unfocussed consciousness. These aims are well represented in his Fishtank series of 1996 and 1998, which have earned critical and audience praise.

Works (selective list)
Patoiz, poet, live elecs, 1989
Retrato: Ricardo Dal Farra, tape, real-time processing, 1992
Una guitarra … Toca sola, live elecs, spkr, 1993
142857, tape; In a Fishtank
Inst with elecs
Truly Yours, xyl, tape, 1987
In Memory of Gentle Giant I and II, any inst, tape, 1989–91
Retrato: Flores Chaviano, gui, tape, 1990
To the Victims …, snare drum, tape, 1991
Water, Garbage Everywhere, cptr, player pf, objects, 1995
Piano ma non tango, pf, gate, tape, 1996
RCA Victor’s True Story, pf, live elecs, dog, 1999
Vocal with elecs
Sing and Follow the Lieder, 1v, musical saw, tape, 1998
Enclosures with Dreams and Spirits, 1v, amp object, gates, tape; TdM(are), 1v, pf, gates, tape; Fishtank; Music Borderline
Fishtank: Bonk West
Many installations, videos and performance events (1988–99)
Other works
El circo, fl, ob, cl, b cl, bn, a sax, hn, 1981
Threnody and Passacaglia, prep pf, orch, 1982
3 Pieces, str qt, 1983
Entropy, pf, 1986
Points of Reference, fl, cl, tpt, pf, vn, va, vc, db, 1988
Elipsoidal a Soto, gui, 1989
William Tell of Rights, amp snare drum, 1994
Too much of a good thing is fabulous, pf 8 hands, 1997
Radio scores
La pieza, 1988
Sound Piece, 1997
Preparing the air to let the rhythm be heard and help the city with its dancing, 1992
Tracing the Radio Landscape 1992
MSS in Latin American Music Center, Indiana University, Bloomington, and at South Florida Composers’ Alliance