Santos is a composer whose special interest is illuminating
the connection between music and magic: how mundane elements,
musical and non-musical, are galvanized into powerful poetic
and ecstatic experience.
is on the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Music
where he teaches composition and music technology. He has been
the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships from The American
Academy of Arts and Letters, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI),
The MacDowell Colony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Rackham
Graduate School of The University of Michigan, and was named
the 1999 "Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year"
by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
has had commissions for theater and dance music from the Wild
Swan Theater of Ann Arbor, orchestral commissions from the Bozeman
and Butte Symphony Orchestras of Montana, and a number of commissions
for chamber works, among them: Zauberkraft (Magic Power)
commissioned by Danish-American percussionist Timothy Lutte
for performance at the 1996 Percussive Arts Society International
Conference (PASIC) in Nashville, . . . con Cruces de Fuego
(. . . with Crosses of Fire) which was commissioned by the
Michigan Music Teachers Association, and Sun Dogs for
a new CD by the percussion duo, Equal Temperament (Eric and
Stacey Jones). The CD, called "Parhelion" has just
been released on the Eroica label.
in an effort to unify the wide variety of his artistic experience
into a powerful new form of expression, he produced Cruces
de Fuego (Crosses of Fire). This large-scale synthesis of
music, dance, theater, art, poetry, and video projections was
rooted in the earthy surrealism of Pablo Neruda, Frida Kahlo,
and Remedios Varo. It sought to dissolve traditional barriers
that exist between audience and performer and the experience
of deep wonder.
are beginning to attract performances in other countries as
far as Australia, Denmark, and Philippines, eliciting positive
reviews: "Erik Santos captivates the listener, giving rise
to both a sense of rapture and a feeling of bewilderment..."
The New Music Connoisseur described his Guernica Dances
... for two pianos as "full of positive excitement
with a final coda that is so thrilling that the audience broke
out into loud shouts of approval at its conclusion."