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Pianist/composer Mario Dueñas discusses spiritual and intellectual roots of new album
(Published: January 21, 2016)

Q: When did you learn how to play piano and who taught you?

A: I was introduced to music at the age of five by my father. In the absence of any academic musical training, my father shared with me his perspective of both harmony and melody relating these to emotional states. This abstract introduction to music was the beginning of my journey into the wilderness of self-teaching and experimenting. Since then, my desire has been the same: to understand life and its beauty.

Q: What inspired your passion for music?

A: Music is mysterious. When we enjoy listening to an improvised performance, we tend to attribute such beauty not only to the performer's ability and experience, but also to the capacity to freely make musical decisions. But what do we mean by freedom? Is the artist freely deciding what musical actions to create or are such actions predetermined by socio-biological conditioning? Is art a product of free will or is it absolutely determined by causes that precede even the lifespan of the artist who is credited for it? Such questions continue to directly inspire my work, both as a performer and composer.

Q: What artists influenced you the most while you were growing up?

A: I have been directly influenced by many artists, yet some have remained a constant source of inspiration, such as Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett.

Q: What was the inspiration behind your debut album, Beliefs?

A: Beliefs is a result of years of research and patience. I have written several compositions in the past, yet I decided to wait for the proper time and mindset to develop my debut album, which is made of entirely new material, particularly, spontaneous compositions. The album offers a main concept, the means by which we interpret reality: our beliefs. Each belief has a particular interpretation to me, yet the listener is invited to interpret each movement according to their own worldview. This ideas constitute the conceptual background that inspired the album.

Q: What composition on Beliefs is the most personal to you and why?

A: The album attempts to reflect a manifesto of six fundamental beliefs correlated to each other; therefore, I am deeply committed to all the movements as a whole, yet I must say that such correlation seems to stimulate my mind even more on the first movement, given that it will determine an inferential sequence directing the later movements both musically and philosophically.

Q: How has your music evolved over the years?

A: My aesthetic preferences have changed dramatically since I began my musical journey. Now I desire to create music that reflects a unique moment in my life but also may be revisited later in the future, at least in its conceptual form. I strongly desire to create music that is both stimulating and sincere; this is the hope behind my present and future work.

More Information: http://marioduenasmusic.com

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