updated 20 January 2021

Mauricio Sotelo

Spanish composer born in 1961.

Born in Madrid in 1961, Mauricio Sotelo studied music in the 1980s at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts with Francis Burt (composition), Dieter Kaufmann (electronic music), and Karl Österreicher (conducting), among others. Subsequent contact with Luigi Nono in Berlin and Venice had a profound and lasting effect on Sotelo’s creative identity, leading him to investigate the use of Spanish folk traditions, notably flamenco, as compositional models. To this end, he uses software such as AudioSculpt and OpenMusic to analyse and recontextualise material derived from folk music in his own works, giving rise to a novel style which has been described as “spectral flamenco”. Other long-term influences include the philosophy of Giordano Bruno and Massimo Cacciari, the poetry and theatre of Federico García Lorca and José Angel Valente, and the paintings of Sean Scully.

Sotelo’s music is widely performed in Europe, the Americas, and Japan. His works have been performed by the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Bamberger Symphoniker Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie, SWR Symphonieorchester, Vienna ORF Symphony, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Euskadiko Orkestra, and the Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra. Ensembles including Klangforum Wien, MusikFabrik, Ensemble Modern and the Artemis, Diotima and Casals Quartets regularly programme his music. Beat Furrer, a classmate of Sotelo during his studies in Vienna, has conducted many of his ensemble works. Finally, renowned soloists such as flamenco guitarist Juan Manuel Cañizares, singers Enrique Morente and Arcángel, violinists Benjamin Schmid and Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violist Tabea Zimmermann, flutist Roberto Fabbriciani, and saxophonist Markus Weiss have also performed his music.

Operas figure prominently in Sotelo’s catalogue. Notably, El Público, commissioned by Gérard Mortier for the Teatro Real de Madrid, was premiered in 2015. The premiere of his most recent opera, Bruno, which was to take place in 2021 at the Thêatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sotelo has taught composition at the ESMuC in Barcelona since 2010.

Prizes and Residencies:

  • GamoMusica Prize from the Florence “Amici della Musica” Foundation (2018)
  • Composer-in-Residence at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2011-2012)
  • National Music Prize in the “Composition” category from the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2001)
  • Reina Sofía International Composition Prize (2000)
  • Ernst von Siemens Prize for Young Composers (1997)
  • Opera Prize from the Körber Foundation in Hamburg (1996)
  • WDR Young Composers’ Forum (1992)
  • City of Vienna Composition Prize (1991)

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021


  • Site web du compositeur
  • Site de l’éditeur Universal Edition (Vienne)
  • Site de l’éditeur Proyecto Sotelo
  • Ordóñez Eslava, P. (2019). Lorca Unchained. Mauricio Sotelo’s El Público and the (New) Spanish Contemporary Opera, Contemporary Music Review, 38(1-2) : 73-91
  • Besada, J. L., & Ordóñez Eslava, P. (2019). ¿Una historia de la música espectral española? Transferencias culturales transnacionales en el último cambio de siglo. Acta Musicologica, 91(2) : 168-189.