Perez Velázquez’s music has been heard in concerts and international festivals in Cuba, the United States, Mexico, and throughout South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her music has been praised for everything from her “imaginative strength” (Paul Griffiths, 1999) to her “evocative and dynamic” style (Edward Ortiz, 2002).
Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1964, Perez Velázquez received her B.A. in piano and composition from the Higher Institute of Arts (ISA), Havana, Cuba in 1987. When she moved to the United States in 1993, she was already recognized as one of the up-and-coming talents in Cuban composition, winning several national composition awards in Cuba, including the first prize of composition for chamber music in the contest of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), and the first music composition prize from the first national competition of the Youth Music of Cuba (Juventudes Musicales).
After obtaining her Master’s in 1995 in electroacoustic music from Dartmouth College—where her teachers included Jon Appleton, Charles Dodge, Larry Polansky—Perez Velázquez began her doctoral studies at Indiana University, studying with Claude Baker, Eugene O’Brien, and Marta Ptaszynska. Soon after receiving her D.M.A. in 2000, Perez Velázquez was a recipient of a 2000 Cintas Fellowship in Composition, administered by Arts International, NY. She was on the faculty of Portland State University for two years (1998-2000), and since 2000 she has been Associate Professor of Music Composition and Electronic Music at Williams College.
Ileana Perez Velázquez has written numerous acoustic and electroacoustic works that reveal the depth and scope of her artistic imagination. Often inspired by extra-musical stimuli—ranging from the poetic to the psychological, the natural to the supernatural—Velázquez writes music that, while challenging for both performer and listener alike, is deeply expressive; her music may be uncompromising in its demands, but it also remains intensely dramatic and poignantly evocative. Whether she is writing for acoustic instruments, for electronics only, or a combination of the two, her music is always powerfully communicative. Her rich harmonic language and rhythmically intricate, multi-layered textures reveal her debt to her Cuban heritage.
Her music has been featured in numerous festivals, such as the Festival Sonidos de las Americas Cuba at Weill Recital Hall, by the American Composers Orchestra Chamber Players; Sonic Circuits XII International Electronic Music Festivals at Berklee College (American Composers Forum); Bowling Green State University New Music Festival; New Music Miami Festival; Festival of Women Composers International, Pittsburgh; “Music From Almost Yesterday” concert series, Milwaukee; Third Practice Electronic Music Festival in VA; Indiana University’s “Crossroads of Traditions: a Latin American music festival” at Indiana University; and the Dartmouth College New Music Festival. The list of international festivals that have also featured Ileana’s music is equally impressive, including Q-ba Festival in The Netherlands; New Music Festival of the Tres Cantos Auditorium of Madrid, Spain; International Festival of Contemporary Music in Bogotá, Colombia; VIII Forum of Caribbean Composers in Venezuela; 4th International Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Santiago de Chile; III International Festival of Asuncion, Paraguay, II Festival Iberoamericano de Guitarra in Beirut, Lebanon; and at a concert of the International Musical Academy "Masters of Pontlevoy," Ivry-sur-Seine, France. Her music has also been performed in National Conferences of the Society of Composers Inc. and the College Music Society, by the Chamber Music of the League of Composers New York, ISCM, at the IAWM Congress, and by the ensemble Sequitur.
Writing largely to commission, Perez Velázquez has written works for numerous performers and ensembles, including Joan La Barbara, Sally Pinkas, Tom Chiu, Iliana Matos, Pola Baytelman, Thierry Mirogglio and Ancuza Aprodu, the Flux Quartet (by the Hopkins Center of Dartmouth College), Quartet Eco (Madrid, Spain), Insomnio ensemble (the Netherlands), the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (by the Jerome Foundation), Aguava New Music, the instrumental ensemble Nuestro Tiempo from the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (Casa Editorial de Cuba), and the Berkshire Symphony. She is currently working on a composition for Continuum Ensemble New York. Albany Records released a CD of her music on January 2008.