Ramiro Cortés was the first Hispanic American to have achieved international recognition in classical music.
Twentieth-century composer Ramiro Cortés (1933-1984) experienced a noble creative career in music that spanned three decades. Born in Dallas, Texas in 1933, he studied at the University of Denver, the University of Southern California and the Jullliard School of Music, in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Cortés was also a student, under the Charles Ives Scholarship, of Henry Cowell (1952); of Richard Donovan at Yale (1952-1953); of Roger Sessions at Princeton (1958-1959); and, through a Fulbright Fellowship in Rome, of Goffredo Petrassi in 1956-1957.
From 1967 until his untimely death in 1984, Cortés served on the faculties of the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; and the University of Utah. He is mentioned in standard reference works such as Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Music and The New Grove Dictionary.
Throughout his career, Cortés was awarded numerous prizes, awards, and grants in composition, both in the United States and internationally. For an unprecedented thirteen years, he was honored with ASCAP Standard Music Awards. Other notable awards and grants include the George Gershwin Memorial Award; the Steinway Centennial Award; a Fulbright Grant (Rome), which was renewed for a second year; third prize in the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium International Competition (1961); a National Institute of Arts and Letters Grant (1962); among many others.
Ramiro Cortés' works, many of which have been published and recorded, have received outstanding critical reviews as well as performances by major orchestras in the United States among them the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, and the Utah Symphony. The recipient of a posthumous award by ASCAP, Ramiro Cortés remains a composer of interest in the 21st Century.
Desert New photo by Don Grayston, courtesy Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, the University of Utah