Cristian Amigo

Cristian Amigo

Cristian Amigo is a composer, theater designer, and audio producer. He creates and performs in free jazz/blues/new music/Latinx bands and ensembles, immersive environments, dance, opera, and film/video. Amigo is a sound faculty member in the CalArts School of Theater (SOT) Experience Design and Production program, where he teaches music, sound art, and sound design to undergraduate and graduate student artists from throughout the Institute.

Amigo’s work explores electro-acoustic music, the electric and acoustic guitar, free and structured improvisation, extended instrumental techniques, sound art, immersivity, geo-mapped sound fields, soundscapes, art and pop song, collaboration, live performance, music production, field recording, 3D audio, AR and VR, and a research and ethnography-based art practice that links itself to social justice, ecological, and humanistic issues.

Cristian earned his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, and has studied with masters from various world performance traditions including Wadada Leo Smith (CalArts), Harihar Rao (India), Kenny Burrell (USA), Carlos Hayre (Peru), Judy Mitoma (UCLA), and Cheik Tidiane-Seck (Mali). As a musician, he is interested in improvisation, the blues, world music, and American (of the Americas) traditional, folk, and pop music.

Amigo’s awards include a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (music composition), a 2016-2019 Senior Fulbright Scholar/Artist Fellowship (Bolivia), and the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Oxford Press) contains an entry on Amigo’s work, and he is currently artist-in-residence at INTAR Latino Theater in New York City.

Upcoming productions include music and soundscapes for two 2022 world premieres: Michael John Garce’s adaptation of Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca at Queens College in NYC, and Octavio Solis’ Scene With Cranes in LA.

Pandemic productions included the geo-mapped theater/music/sound piece Lives of the New Known Saints (texts by Migdalia Cruz) which premiered in Battery Park, NYC on November 7, 2020; music/sound for Young Joo Lee’s digital animation/installation Jaguar’s Vision at The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), Ochi Projects LA, ALT LOOP Space (Seoul), South Korean public television (KBS); music and soundscapes for playwright Maggie Bofill’s short film Cuban American Gothic @ PBS Latino Experience (summer 2021); music/sound/live performance for jill sigman/thinkdance’s (NYC) Rikers Island Healing dance/music/video piece; and sound/music immersive design for a Healthcare by Design installation in the palliative care unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Santa Clarita, California. Other recent and upcoming projects include geo-based land and water acknowledgements for the Tataviam and Chumash people of Southern California, and theater/music/sound projects with Cornerstone Theater (LA), Queens College (NYC), REDCAT (LA), The Globe Theater (SDO), Mabou Mines (NYC), Tufts University (Boston), and an INTAR Theater (NYC) commission for multiple geo-mapped theater and sound works.

Amigo has collaborated with hundreds of diverse music, theater, design, and dance artists (and poets). His work has been presented and supported by the Flea Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, PUBLIC Theater, Rattlestick Theater, Ma-Yi Theater Company, LAByrinth Theater Company, Cherry Lane Theater, Danish Arts Council, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.), Grand Performances (LA), Oslo Elsewhere, Atlantic Theater, Brava Theater (San Francisco), Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New Dramatists, 59E59, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Coterie, Inner-City Arts (LA), Teatro del Pueblo (Minneapolis), ASK Playwright/Composer Labs, American Lyric Theater, Sundance Institute Film Composer Labs, NYC Children’s Theatre, Asian Pacific Performance Exchange (APPEX/UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance), CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Stanislaus, CSU Northridge, University of Oregon, Bates College, UM (Farmington, MA), CSU San Diego, UC Riverside, NYU, and CSI (CUNY), World Festival of Sacred Music (LA), Vision Festival, NYC Latin Free Jazz Festival, and the Alternative Guitar Festival, among many others.