The aspiring young conductor and composer Iván Enrique Rodríguez Mercado (b.1990) is zestfully embarking on an exciting career. At age 15, his serious interest in music was sparked with his entrance to Escuela Libre de Música Antonio O. Paoli in his native Caguas, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez’s musical curiosity led him to learn a variety of instruments including saxophone, harp, piano, violin, and voice. This exploration of sound and texture awakened his inner passion for composition. His first piece Ogoshness, written for choir and string orchestra, was premiered in 2007 by the choir of the Escuela Libre de Música Antonio O. Paoli when Rodríguez was only 17.
Since his compositional debut, Iván Enrique Rodríguez has studied composition and orchestral conducting under the instruction of the renowned Puerto Rican composer Alfonso Fuentes and conductors Rafael E. Irizarry, Dr. William Rivera, Roselín Pabon, and Genesio Riboldi at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. While a student at the Conservatorio, Rodríguez was known for being one of the most active composers of the institution either by presenting his own work, commissions, or arrangements. His cultural involvement and leadership beyond the walls of the conservatory were recognized in December 2014 by the Puerto Rico Chapter of Junior Chamber International with the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) award. As a winner of this Chapter prize, he is now competing for the International Award which will be announced in November 2015 at the JCI World Congress in Japan.
Naturally the majority of opportunity for Rodríguez’s premieres and conducting have been in Puerto Rico. However his music has also been performed in countries such as Uruguay (Three Suspensive Dots for string quartet), Brazil (Rondó for solo bass), the United States (Prisma) to Italy where the San Juan Children’s Choir performed Madre Luna and took the First Place award in the 2014 Rimini International Choral Competition and the judges noted the integral part his composition played in their decision.
Rodríguez’s commissions have also allowed the creation of works for specific purposes and celebratory events ranging from chamber music to pieces for orchestra. Exemplary works include a fanfare for brass quintet, Fanfarria a Nuestra Bahía (2013), Prisma (2011) for flute and piano, Himno de Vida (2013), and Viva la Pepa (2011).
Fanfarria a Nuestra Bahía (Fanfare to Our Bay) was commissioned by a collective of the Estuary Program Bay of San Juan, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Municipality of San Juan, and Asociación de Padres y Amigos de las Orquestas Secundarias y Superiores (APAOSS) for a promotional campaign to bring awareness of the environmental needs of the Bay of San Juan and premiered by the New Brass Quintet.
Commissioned by Jonathan Figueroa, Assistant Principal Flute with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Prisma was premiered at and received the Second Place Award in the 2011 Chicago Flute Club Competition.
The orchestral overture Himno de Vida was commissioned for inclusion on internationally acclaimed trumpeter Luis "Perico" Ortiz’s album “Tiempo de Amar” (Time for Love), which was produced in support of the San Jorge Children’s Foundation. As a collaborative effort, Iván Rodríguez not only conducted his work with the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra for the recording, but joined the album’s roster of extraordinary artists such as Panama's Rubén Blades, Andy Montañez, Isnael Miranda, NG2, Alex D Castro, Danny Rivera, José Nogueras, Victoria Sanabria, and Giovanni Hidalgo.
Iván E. Rodríguez has also provided arrangements and orchestrations of piano sonatinas by Beethoven and Clementi to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra(OSPR) for a collaborative program with the Children’s Museum of Puerto Rico in addition to an orchestration of Viva la Pepa. In 2011, he received a special commission from OSPR and the Consulate of Spain in Puerto Rico for an arrangement of the traditional danza written by Juan Morel Campos. This commission for string orchestra was in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the CádizConstitution and premiered in the Casa de España in San Juan under the conduction of Maestro Maximiano Valdés.
As a conductor, the young Iván E. Rodriguez served from 2011 through 2014 as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra that placed advanced students alongside Puerto Rico’s noted professionals. With this ensemble he was able to premiere not only his own work, but other Puerto Rican Composers such as Juan Morel Campos, Rafi Escudero, Luciano Quiñones, Jesus María Escobar, Luis R. Miranda, and Rafael Hernandez alongside the standard orchestra repertoire. Additionally, with his baton, he has conducted the premieres of his El Canto de Kalliope featuring soprano Meechot Marrero and the Abstration String Orchestra (2013) and his Ars, Lux et Veritas featuring soprano Carmenchu Dominguez and tenor Carlos Lamboy with the combined choral voices of the Coro Nacional de Puerto Rico and Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico Chorus and the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra wind and percussion sections (2014). In 2015, Rodriguez was invited to serve as conductor for the Grand Ballet Chamber Orchestra in San Juan for the world premiere of Johanny Navarro's Cecilia & Santiago Ballet Suite. In July 2015 he assisted Maestro Eduardo Marturet in the preparation of the annual Venezuela es mucho másconcert featuring the Miami Symphony Orchestra
Iván Enrique Rodríguez received his bachelors degree from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico in 2014. Throughout his undergraduate studies, he participated in seminars and workshops with teachers such as Luis Hernandez Mergal, theorist Pedro Segarra, and harpist Elisa Torres. Complementary studies include workshops in film scoring by the composer, arranger, and conductor Blake Neely (assistant to the film composer Hans Zimmer) and world music through the focus on the cultural exchange of musical ideas with Zou Xiangping, Tina Yijia Bu, and Mao Zhu who are faculty members of the Conservatory of Music Sichuan (China). Rodríguez is affiliated with ASCAP and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY (USA).