MANUEL SECO DE ARPE (b 1958 )
Manuel Seco de Arpe was born in Madrid in 1958. He studied at his home city conservatory with Carmelo Bernaola and Anton Garcia Abril, among others. In 1981 he won the Premio Roma, and settled for two years in Rome, where he studied music composition with Franco Donatoni. During these years he was in touch with Goffredo Petrassi, who encouraged him, congratulating him on the work Trío No 2, performed at the Pontino Festival. Together, and working with the critic Mario Bortolotto, they arranged for the first meeting of Italian and Spanish composers, in 1982.
Manuel Seco de Arpe has won many composition contests, and his works have been performed in many international and national festivals. He has received commissions from leading festivals and institutions, including the Pontino Festival in Italy, the European Council, Europalia (Belgium), Musica D’Oggi (Italy), Autumn Madrid Festival (Spain), the International Contemporary Music Festival in Alicante (Spain), the Religious Week of Cuenca (Spain), and the Santander International Music Festival (Spain). Recordings of his works include his Misa Jubilate Deo (RTVE), chamber music performed by the Concertus Novo ensemble (EMEC), and piano works performed by Antonio Narejos (Opera Tres, given an award by by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1991. His music has been recorded and broadcast by RNE, RTVE, RAI, Radio France, and Radio Alsacia, among other media.
Manuel Seco de Arpe taught composition at the Conservatory of Murcia, heading the department for 18 years, and has taken part in many contemporary music forums, publishing articles in the press and in specialised magazines. He has also been a founder member and musical adviser of the Concertus Novo contemporary music ensemble, and founding director of the Ciclos de Música Española and Mayo Musical events in Murcia. He has served as founding president of the Murcia Symphony Orchestra and president of the St Cristobal Hermitage cultural association, dedicated to the promotion of Spanish visual arts. He has been the director of the Rafael Seco Art Museum, and the Conciertos de Estio performances at the St Cristobal Hermitage. He is currently head of the Composition Department at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, and teacher of composition and analysis at the Defence School Group. With an extensive catalogue, including more than 140 works of all genres, Manuel Seco de Arpe stands apart, with his aesthetic contribution to the post-avant-garde, based on an eclectic and multistylistic approach, highly expressive in content, and at the same time, with a strong structural element.