updated 9 October 2023

José Manuel López López

Spanish composer born 15 January 1956 in Madrid.

José Manuel López López was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1956. He studied piano, composition, and orchestral conducting in the Madrid Conservatory and then continued his studies at the Université de Paris VIII, in the field of musicology, where he is now a professor and the director of the University’s Composition Workshop. He holds a specialized DEA degree in 20th-century music from the IRCAM and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), and also studied composition with Luis De Pablo, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, Pierre Boulez, and Franco Donatoni, and participated in Cursus (IRCAM’s composition and computer music course).

López López was selected multiple times to represent Spain in the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and his music has won prizes from the International Society for Contemporary Music and the International Computer Music Conférence, as well as being performed in major festivals around the world. He has received many commissions, including from the French and Spanish Ministries of Culture, the Caja Foundation in Madrin, IRCAM, Studio Agon and Nuove sincronie in Milan, the National Orchestra of Spain, Arditti Quartet, the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Radio France, the Musica de Strasbourg festival, and CIRM in Nice.

In 1996, he was awarded a fellowship from the AFAA (Association française d’action artistique) for a composition project titled Haïkus d’automne at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto. In 1997, he was a fellow of the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. In November 2000, he was awarded the Spanish Premio Nacional de Musica. From 2000 to 2003, he was in residency in Burgundy, France, and in 2004 at the Cátedra Manuel de Falla de Cadiz in Spain. In 2011 he held a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy; he was a collaborative musical consultant for the BBVA Foundation in Spain, was a guest professor and composer at the Internationale Sommerakademie Universitat Mozarteum in Salzburg, and held a research residency at the Studio Art-Zoyd in Valenciennes. In 2012, Sacem awarded him the Francis and Mica Salabert prize for his piece Metro Vox In memoriam Iannis Xenakis, and in 2013 the Académie Française des Beaux-Arts awarded him the René Dumesnil prize.

In addition to being an active composer and lecturer, as well as his teaching responsibilities at the Université de Paris VIII, López López served as a professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music of Zaragoza from 2005 to 2007, and from 2008 to 2010, served as artistic director of the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid. Since 2017, he has been professor of composition at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Paris.

Through his compositions, written for many types of formations, ranging from solo pieces such as Lo fijo y lo volatil for piano and sampler (1994) to large orchestral works such as Chronos (1986), and including pieces for voice and chamber music, López López reflects on the scientific and philosophical nature of sound, in the tradition of composers such as Grisey, Nono, Sciarrino, Lachenmann, and Vaggione, as well as Iannis Xenakis, to whose memory he dedicated two of his compositions: Hybris (2002) and Metro vox (2011). His work is also inspired by literature, in particular of the 12th century author Pedro Alfonso – De Silentio (1987), Sottovoce (1995) – as well as folk tales – La Pluma de Hu (2000) – and contemporary texts, such as the poems of Dionisio Cañas – …..agosto 2007….., Homing and No Time. Reading haikus during his travels in Japan inspired him to write Haïkus d’automne (1997), Viento de Otoño (1998), and Le parfum de la lune (2003). In 2005, Chinese poetry inspired El arte de la siesta. He collaborated with José Manuel Broto for Estudios sobre la modulacion métrica (2003). In 2004, he created a multimedia opera, La noche y la palabra, and that same year composed La Céleste for live percussion and recorded audio sequences, with video by Pascal Auger. He has created two sound installations with the visual artist Francis Naranjo: Insolación (2009) and Infierno doméstico (2011).

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2011


  • José Manuel López López ;
  • David Rodríguez Cerdán, entretien avec José Manuel López López, Boletín de información discográfica, n° 172, juillet-août 2008.

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en octobre 2023).


  • José L. BESADA, « José Manuel López López’s Chart for managing tempi », Journal of Mathematics & Music, Juillet 2022, Vol. 16, Issue 2, p. 236–238.
  • José L. BESADA, « La prise de l’IRCAM? Spanish Composers Facing New Technologies », Contemporary Music Review, 2019, Vol. 38, Nos. 1–2, p. 206–224.
  • David Rodríguez CERDÁN, entretien avec José Manuel López López, Diverdi, Boletín de información discográfica, n° 172, juillet-août 2008.
  • Luc RONDELEUX, « José Manuel López López, Il tempo ritrovato », Musica-Realtà, 58 -1999/1, Mars 1999, Libreria Musicale Italiana, Euresis Edizioni, p. 18-26.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Quinze années de musique en Espagne 1975-1990,  mémoire de DEA de Musique et musicologie du XXème siècle : Paris, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, École normale supérieure, CID-RM (CNRS) et Ircam-Centre Georges Pombidou, 1990, 62 p.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Karlheinz Stockausen, ed. Círculo de Bellas Artes, coll. « Músicos de nuestro tiempo », n° 10,  Madrid, 1990.


  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Haikus del mar ; African winds ; VibraZoyd ; Estudio II sobre las modulaciones métricas ; Ekphrasis, dans « Horizonte ondulado », 1 CD Neu Records / Neu Música Contemporània SL, 2017, NEU007.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Simog-Civitella 2011 ; Trio III ; El arte de la siesta ; El margen de indefinición ; Octandre ; Finestra in la Chigiana ; Movimientos ; Cálculo Secreto 1993, Pascal Auger : réalisation, dans « La Grande Céleste », 7 CD et 8 DVD Verso, 2013, VRS 2130.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Concerto pour piano et orchestre ; Concerto pour violon et orchestre ; Movimientos pour deux pianos et orchestre, Alberto Rosado : piano, Ernst Kovacic : violon, Juan Carlos Garvayo : piano, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, direction : Johannes Kalitzke, 1 cd Kairos, 2010, KAI 0013022.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Cálculo secreto, Johannes Fischer : percussion, avec des œuvres de Iannis Xenakis, Matthias Pintscher, Jacob Druckman et Vinko Globokar, 1 cd OEHMS classics, 2008, OC716.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, « Musica para piano », Aberto Rosado : piano, 1 cd Verso, 2008, VRS2050.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Con cadencia de eternidad, Xelo Giner : saxophone, avec des œuvres de François Rossé, Edgar Barroso et Andrés Lewin, 1 cd Ars Harmonica, 2008, AH201.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Le Parfum de la Lune ; El arte de la siesta ; A Tempo ; Rhea,  Plural Ensemble, direction : Fabian Panisello, 1 cd NEOS Music, n° 10814.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, « Lo fijo y lo volatil » : 1. Cálculo secreto ; 2. Sottovoce ; 3. Jenseits… Diesseits ; 4. Lo fijo y lo volatil ; 5. Lituus, Miguel Bernat : vibraphone (1), ensemble Electric Phoenix (2), ensemble Sine Qua Non, direction : Nicolas Brochot (3), Françoise Matringe : piano (4), cuivres de l’Ensemble intercontemporain (5), réalisation électronique Ircam, 1 cd BMG Ricordi, 1999, CRMCD 1057.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Trio II, Stefan Ostersjo : guitare et l’ensemble Ars Nova, avec des œuvres de Franco Donatoni, Tristan Murail, Kent Olofsson, Elliott Carter et James Dillon, 1 cd dB Productions, 1997, dBCD31.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Lituus ; Concierto para violín y orquestra, quatuor de cuivres de l’Ensemble intercontemporain : Jens Mcmanama, Jean-Jacques Gaudon, Benny Sluchin et Gérard Buquet, Anne Mercier : violon, Orchestre et chœur national d’Espagne, direction Howard Griffiths, 1 cd Sibila, avec des œuvres de Kaija Saariaho, 1995, SIB-003.
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Trío II dans « Multifonía 95. La jeune Musique de Chambre Espagnole » avec des œuvres de Felix Ibarrondo, Francisco Luque, David Del Puerto, Alfredo Aracil, José Luis Turina et Enrique X. Macias, Isabel Duval : flûte, Geneviève Strosser : alto, Caroline Delume : guitare, 1 cd L’empreinte Digitale, 1995, ED13040 .
  • José Manuel LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, Aquilea ; Memoria de un tiempo imaginario ; Chakra ; Kutb ; Nicchio, Grupo Circulo, Orquestra Gulbenkian de Lisboa, direction : José Luis Temes, 1 cd Gasa, coll. « Musica Española contemporanea » n° 9, 1991, n° 9G0446.