After receiving his diploma as professor of painting from the Buenos Aires Superior School of Fine Arts, Esteban Benzecry studied musical composition with H. Gerardi and S. Hualpa in Argentina and with J. Charpentier at the Paris CNR, where he was awarded First Prize by a unanimous jury in 1999. He pursued his studies in composition with P. Mefano and in electro-acoustic music with L. Naon and L. Cuniot at CNSM. His most recent works attempt a fusion between diverse aesthetic currents in European contemporary music and rhythms and folklore rooted in the Latin American tradition.
Among the interpreters that have performed his works are the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Tampere Philharmonic, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Gulbenkian de Lisboa, the Orchestre National de France, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Lamoureux, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and other principal orchestras of Latin America. In 1995 he was composer-in-residence at the Yehudi Menuhin International Music Academy (Switzerland) and in 2004 he was winner of the Fondation d’entreprise Groupe Banque Populaire. He was a resident composer at the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid from 2004 to 2006. In 2008 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Music Composition.
The composer provided the following note about Fantasia Mastay:
“According to an ancient prophecy, this is the time of the great gathering called ‘Mastay’ (in the Quechua language), and reintegration of the peoples of the four directions.
The Q’eros are the last of the Incas, a tribe of near 600 who sought refuge in a wide area of the mist-shrouded mountains of Peru near Paucartambo, between 14,000 and 22,000 feet elevation, in order to escape the conquering conquistadors. For 500 years the Q’ero elders have preserved a sacred prophecy of a great change, or ‘pachacuti’ in which the world be turned right-side-up, harmony and order would be restored, and chaos and disorder ended.
The Q’eros are releasing their teachings to the West, in preparation for the day in which the Eagle of the North and the Condor of the South (of the Americas) will fly together again. They believe that munay, love and compassion, will be the guiding force of this great gathering of the peoples. The prophecy holds that North America will supply the physical strength, or body, Europe will supply the mental aspect, or head, and the heart will be supplied by South America. In the next years, the Incas hope that we emerge in a golden age, a golden millennium of peace..
Across this fantasy I try to represent the symbolic flight of the Eagle and the Condor together, crossing different American landscapes. In this we can hear rhythms and melodic drafts from the Andes mountains of South America passing for the Patagonian Mapuche, the bagualas and carnavalitos of the altiplane, Caribbean airs and rhythms of the North, which I use as source of inspiration to develop my own language, an imaginary folklore, that could be described as a fusion between these roots and the newest techniques of Occidental contemporary music, where I integrate different procedures like Minimalism, polyrhythms, spectrals, pentatonic scales, and multiphonic sounds, in a flight of which the principal message is: here there is neither North nor South, America is only one, and we all must be united.”