Yalil Guerra was having breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 20 when he received the news that he had been nominated for his seventh Latin Grammy award.
“Trust me, the flavor of that morning coffee was amazing,” said Guerra, who teaches piano lab and tonal harmony at College of the Canyons.
The Cuban-born composer is nominated in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category for his piece “String Quartet No. 3 ‘In Memoriam of Ludwig van Beethoven”
Guerra felt inspired by Beethoven’s Great Fuge, Op. 133 to write a third string quartet in a similar structure. Commissioned by the Pacific Serenades and Ursula Krummel, the 15-minute piece premiered at the Hear Now Music Festival in 2016 by the Lyris String Quartet.
“My previous string quartet has three movements respectively and writing a new one with just one movement was a challenge, since the music doesn’t stop for fifteen minutes, connecting all the themes and ideas while keeping a general aesthetic and shape,” said Guerra. “The harmonic language is polytonal, using extensively the counterpoint throughout the piece, and closing the composition in a free fugue with a contemporary sonority.”
Guerra took home a Latin Grammy award in 2012 in the same category for his piano work in “Seduccion.”
“Receiving a new Latin Grammy nomination is always a great privilege and honor, not only for me, but for my family and friends,” said Guerra.
Guerra, who has taught at the college for two years, strives to teach his students to do everything in life with love and passion.
“It pays back,’” said Guerra. “I always try to inspire my students to move forward and improve their musicianship and craft. That’s the key for success in this career.”
Recently, Guerra’s first symphony “La Palma Real” premiered at the National Symphony of Cuba in Havana.
The 2019 Latin Grammy Awards will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 and the MGM Las Vegas hotel.
Click here to listen to Guerra’s Grammy-nominated piece “String Quartet No. 3 ‘In Memoriam of Ludwig van Beethoven.”