Robert Xavier Rodriguez was born in 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, where he received his earliest training in piano and harmony. He gained international recognition in 1971 when awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale Prince Pierre de Monaco. Other honors include the Prix Lili Boulanger, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four National Endowment for the Arts, grants, and the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Rodriguez describes his approach in terms of Copland’s compositional goal “to show how it feels to be alive today.” “I am …impatient with music that doesn’t laugh, or at least smile, as much as it weeps, sulks, or gnashes its teeth.…First comes the experience, the music follows.” He has written in all genres - opera, orchestral, concerto, ballet, vocal, choral, chamber, solo and music for the theater – and often combines Medieval, renaissance and Baroque techniques with ethnic and contemporary materials.
His interest in crossing genres is illustrated by The Dot and the Line for narrator, chamber ensemble and projected images; by his percussion sextet and other compositions, such as his comic opera La Curandera or Hot Buttered Rumba.
Rodriguez has served as Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, among others. He currently holds the endowed chair of University Professor of Music at The University of Texas at Dallas. He resides in Dallas, where he is Professor of Music and Director of the Musica Nova ensemble at the University of Texas, and is active as guest lecturer and conductor.
His music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer.
His composition for two pianos, “Bachanale”, was commissioned by the Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation for the 7th International Two Piano Competition.