Federico Ibarra Groth

Over a period of more than forty years Federico Ibarra has produced a multi-faceted body of work that has made him one of the most important and significant composers of contemporary Mexican music. His work makes use of both traditional and innovative techniques, and includes almost all genres of concert and stage music.

Federico Ibarra has succeeded in creating for himself an unmistakably individual voice, and perhaps because of this he has also been able to incorporate into his own musical discourse echoes of a great variety of musical idioms, which evolve and develop freely in the rich tapestry of his musical creations. It is therefore not surprising that he has transcended the world of mere personal speculation, in which many composers believe that their own private dialects will succeed in being transmitted as shared languages. In fact, the great artistic achievement of Federico Ibarra’s music derives from the fact that he has succeeded in creating a powerfully accessible idiom, converting his own personal sound into a rich treasure trove that all listeners can share in and make their own.


Federico Ibarra Groth was born in Mexico City in 1946. He completed a degree in Composition at the Escuela Nacional de Música at UNAM. In 1971, Radio Universidad and ORTF awarded him with a scholarship to continue his studies in Paris, and to attend a course in composition in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, which he did in 1975. In March, 2006, he received his doctorate from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid.

In addition to his activity as a composer, Ibarra has dedicated part of his life to performing his own works for the piano, as well as premiering much of the contemporary international output for the piano, giving special emphasis to 20th Century Mexican compositions for that instrument.

Among his teaching activities, he directed the Workshop on Composition at CENIDIM (1975-1986), and in 1985, he founded the Proyect Composition Workshop at the Escuela Nacional de Musica of UNAM (1985-2000). He was the Musical Director of The Chamber Opera of Mexico City (1989-1996), and participated as a guest speaker at the International Congress “La Ópera en España e Hispanoamérica”, held in Madrid, España (1999). Ibarra has also been a member of the panel of judges at various contests and music festivals, national as well as international.

Ibarra has regularly published essays and musical reviews in newspapers and national magazines, and has given conferences and recitals of his music and that of other contemporary Mexican composers in national forums, as well as in Caracas Venezuela, San José Costa Rica, París France, Los Ángeles, San Antonio and San José in the United States of America, and Montreal Canada, He was a distinguished special guest at the International Children Choir Festival Hong-Kong 1999, and at the Festival Niños del Mundo en Armonía 2001 in Hamburg and Budapest.

His work as a composer includes works in many genres: operas, ballets, symphonies, three concertos: for piano, for cello and for violin, sonatas for solo piano, for violin and for cello, cantatas, songs, other works written for various instrumental combinations, and lyrics and music for theatre. Many cultural institutions of various countries have requested and commissioned his works. A number of those of them have been published, recorded and interpreted in Mexico and other countries, including Australia, Poland, France, Belgium, Spain, England, Germany, Hungry, USA, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, Canada, China and South Africa.

Ibarra has been internationally recognized and awarded many scholarships and grants including: Support Grant for Artistic Creators from the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (1989-1990); Program for Residential Artistic Exchange, Mexico-United States and Mexico-Canada, Sistema Nacional de Creadores (1994-2000); and in 2001, he was named Creator Emeritus by the Sistema Nacional de Creadores. In 2001, he was awarded the highest recognition that the nation of Mexico gives to its creators: PREMIO NACIONAL DE CIENCIAS Y ARTES 2001.

His varied, vast and interesting creations have been recognized with the following awards and national diplomas: “Silvestre Revueltas”, “Lan Adomián”, “Nueva Música para Danza”, Unión Mexicana de Críticos de Teatro, Unión Nacional de Cronistas de Teatro y Música, Asociación PRO ÓPERA, “MEDALLA MOZART” (1991), the “PREMIO UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL” (1993), and full member of ACADEMIA DE ARTES, and EMERITUS PROFESSOR at UNAM. Internationally, he was awarded the Bronze Medal at the First International Competition for Musical Composition “Ciudad Ibagüé”, Colombia (1981) and was runner up for the “Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero” prize at the Mejor Obra Lírica competition in Madrid, Spain (1991).