Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, a world-renowned classical music composer and assistant professor of music at San Francisco State University, was recently named a fellow of the National System of Artists of Mexico (Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte de México), sponsored by the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes). Each fellow is granted a cash award of approximately 700,000 pesos ($70,000 in U.S. currency).
"Aside from the fact that this distinction fills me with pride, I am excited to be given the opportunity to potentially contribute to the development of the fascinating cultural life of Mexico," said 36-year-old Sanchez-Gutierrez, who was born in Mexico City and is the youngest among the 12 artists inducted to the council this year. "As a resident of San Francisco, I am fascinated by the prospect of participating as a cultural liaison between Mexican artists and arts organizations and those of this wonderfully creative city."
The National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), the largest state-sponsored cultural agency in Mexico, is dedicated to supporting the work of Mexican artists through more than 20 programs in all artistic disciplines.
"Dr. Sanchez-Gutierrez continues to garner honors and awards both in this country and abroad," said Patricia Taylor Lee, chair of the SFSU Music department. "We consider ourselves quite fortunate to have such a remarkable talent on our faculty."
Sanchez-Gutierrez, who received his bachelor's degree in music education from the Universidad de Guadalajara before pursuing master's degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and Yale University as well as a doctorate from Princeton University, will use his award to support various composition projects. These include a work for the International Peace Forum that will be held in Tasmania, Australia, in April 2002, as well as commissioned works for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Left Coast Ensemble and the Ensemble Signos.
In addition to the National System of Artists of Mexico fellowship, he received the 2000 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Fellowship and was awarded one of 11 commissions nationwide by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University in 1999. Sanchez-Gutierrez has also been honored in recent years with fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Camargo foundations. Additionally, he has received two BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) composition awards, the Mozart Medal from the governments of Mexico and Austria as well as a Fulbright Fellowship. Sanchez-Gutierrez has written musical compositions for film, theater and multimedia productions. His music appears on several recording labels and is published by Ediciones Mexicanas de Música.
As a council fellow, Sanchez-Gutierrez plans to push for several changes in cultural policy regarding the arts in Mexico.
"I will also make my best effort to alert the cultural authorities recently appointed by President Vicente Fox to the many aspects of cultural policy that need attention," he said. "These aspects include the creation of more effective forums for Mexican alternative contemporary arts, the decentralization of cultural activities, the establishment of more mechanisms to encourage collaborative activities between Mexico and the rest of the world-and very importantly-to ensure that art is created and appreciated in an environment of absolute freedom of expression."
CONACULTA membership privileges and opportunities include providing advice to the Mexican government on issues of cultural policy and development; conducting a series of public talks and concerts at the council's headquarters in Mexico City; and participating as guest lecturer at various cultural institutions, including the National Center for the Arts, the National Conservatory of Music and the Colegio de Mexico.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez may be contacted directly at (415) 469-5302, (415) 338-2066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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