The considerable corpus of work that Federico Ibarra has produced over the course of almost half a century is characterized as much for its variety, which includes almost all genres of concert and stage music, as for its broad exploration of diverse forms and techniques—placed at the service of an unmistakable and vigorous voice
Among his most distinctive characteristics are his investigations of the sonata form, which have led him to compose various sonatas (for piano, solo violin, cello and piano, and for two cellos and piano), experimenting, in each of them, with the structural format in order to adapt it to his expressive demands. His interest in the multiple combinations of instruments that chamber music offers is rooted in his insatiable curiosity about different combinations of timbres and his natural predilection for clarity in musical texture.
Another singular characteristic of Federico Ibarra’s works resides in his love of the human voice. His production of vocal work is vast, and is dedicated as much to the soloist with diverse accompaniment, as to choral music in all of its varieties. His predilection for the vocal music for stage has converted him into one of the most outstanding Mexican opera composers –as much for the quantity and variety of formats of his works, as for the originality of its libretti. What is more, thanks to the accessibility of his music, which does not come at the expense of expressive originality, Federico Ibarra is without a doubt the most performed Mexican composer on the stages of his own country—several of his works have merited up to four revivals and one has had more than eighty performances.
Finally, it is impossible to talk about Federico Ibarra’s music without special mention of his symphonic work. His four symphonies and other orchestral works stand out for the richness of their timbre stemming from his talent as an orchestrator. These works have been recorded on various occasions, and his fourth symphony, “Conmemorativa”, was commissioned by UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) to celebrate the centennial of its founding. In his compositions the variety of sonic resources and expressive planes created by the orchestra make it, along with the human voice, an appropriate vehicle to capture the vigor of his style and the variety of his color palette.