Biography

Elizondo received degrees in Music and Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Harvard University, he studied musical analysis, orchestration and conducting. His main teachers at MIT and Harvard were professors Peter Child, Edward Cohen, Lowell Lindgren, Bill Cutter, James Yannatos, Constance DeFotis and Jameson Marvin. Elizondo’s technology work focuses on language-related technology that combines his interests in linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence. As a part time composer, he works with performers around the world to create compositions for orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Jose’s first composition for orchestra, Estampas Mexicanas, originally written as an assignment for a university class, was premiered at an outdoor concert of the San Jose Symphony in California. The orchestra was conducted by maestro Leonid Grin, a personal friend and collaborator of Leonard Bernstein and music director of several orchestras in Europe and North America. The performance was enthusiastically received with a standing ovation from a crowd of approximately 25,000 people. Estampas Mexicanas has since been performed at over 150 concerts by orchestras in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.

When one of Elizondo's compositions is performed today by the San Jose Symphony at the San Jose America Festival, he'll not only become the youngest living composer to ever have his music played by the orchestra, but he'll also be bolstering the bridge the symphony has been trying to forge with the Latin American community.

- Jeordan Legon, San Jose Mercury News

Jose's other symphonic, choral and chamber music is also performed frequently around the world. Recent recordings of his music include the album "Of Birds And Lemons" by the Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and the album "Latin Romance" by Sefika Kutluer and the Bratislava Strings Orchestra (Slovakia). His compositions have been featured at the Highgate International Chamber Music Festival in London, the Banff International Festival in Canada, the Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, the Ayton Castle Music Festival in Scotland, the Laboratorio Novamusica Contemporary Music Series in Italy, the ADUR Festival in England, the Sefika Kutluer International Festival in Turkey, the Dugavpils Festival in Latvia, the Alfredo de St. Malo Festival in Panama, as well as the Boston Flute Festival, the America Festival, the Hispanic Heritage Festival, and the Mexican Journeys Festival in the United States.

I am confident "Danzas Latinoamericanas" will assume a prominent place in the repertoire as a gem of inspiration, melodic inventiveness and rhythmic vitality. The languid sensuality of the second movement is unspeakably beautiful.

- Robert Deutsch, cellist, Houston Symphony Orchestra

Jose wrote his compositions "Danzas Latinoamericanas" and "Limoncello" for Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto. Other internationally acclaimed performers of his works include cellists Yo-yo Ma, Sébastien Hurtaud, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Guy Johnston, Maximilian Hornung, Alvaro Bitrán and Robert Deutsch; as well as flautists Sefika Kutluer and Orlando Cela.

Jose's music has been performed by over 100 orchestras around the world. He is particularly proud of his collaboration with youth orchestras. For example, the Brighton Youth Orchestra (UK), conducted by maestro Andrew Sherwood, has performed his compositions in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Zimbabwe and the Congo. Maestro Wayne Toews has conducted Jose's music with the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and several other orchestras in Canada in a number of performances and educational projects. Jose considers maestros Andrew Sherwood, Wayne Toews and Sergio Buslje (music director of several orchestras in Washington, Honduras and Argentina) as his most influential mentors, at a personal and professional level.

"Pan de Azúcar" is an elegantly beautiful piece, lyrical and limpid. It charmed our audience, and my orchestra fell in love with it from the start. It is a real gem of a piece which engages listeners and performers alike.

- Troy Peters, music director, Vermont Youth Orchestra

Recent

A number of recent notable concerts have brought more visibility to Jose's work recently. For example, in 2016, 18-time Grammy winner cellist Yo-yo Ma performed Jose's "Otoño en Buenos Aires" in a concert in Mexico, as a duet with Mexican legendary cellist Carlos Prieto. He then performed this composition in several concerts in Europe, including a duet performance with Maximilian Hornung in Munich that was featured in Yo-yo Ma's DVD of his performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In 2018, critically-acclaimed cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, best known for his brilliant performance at Prince Harry's royal wedding, performed Jose's "Otoño en Buenos Aires" and "Pan de Azúcar" in a number of concerts and radio programs with several distinguished performers including Alexander Warenberg and Ashok Klouda, and is scheduled to perform Elizondo’s "Danzas Latinoamericanas" in 2020 with Guy Johnston.

On occasion of the events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of World War I, cellist Sébastien Hurtaud and pianist Pamela Hurtado gave the world premiere performance of Jose's composition "La alborada de la esperanza" (The Dawn of Hope) on November 11th, 2018 in Paris. In January of 2019, Sébastien performed the world premiere of the orchestra version of this same composition during the World Youth Day in Panama.

Elizondo's "Estampas Mexicanas" is exactly the kind of music to challenge and then captivate young players as well as audiences.

- Peter Andrews, Brentwood Weekly News

Awards

MIT awarded Jose the Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize for Music, and selected him as a Burchard Scholar. He has also been the recipient of several grants by the MIT Council for the Arts for the production of contemporary music concerts, with an emphasis on works by Latin American composers. The Fideicomiso para la Cultura Mexico-USA, the Humanities Council of Washington DC, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities have provided support and sponsorship for projects involving Jose's music. The Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston have given him certificates of recognition for his "outstanding and exemplary work for the Mexican community" and his "commitment and dedication to the Mexican community in the City of Boston".

Science and Engineering

In addition to his musical endeavors, Jose has pursued his scientific and engineering interests. During his early life, he received national awards in Mexico for achievement in Mathematics. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jose participated in undergraduate student research projects for NASA, the Plasma Fusion Center and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. At age 23, Jose worked briefly in Mexico as an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Scientific Methods. And for the past couple of decades, he has worked in Boston at Nuance Communications with teams of engineers and language experts, developing state-of-the-art, multilingual, speech-recognition technology systems and artificial intelligence systems. Jose's articles on technology, user-interface design and multilingual technology systems have been published in industry journals in Europe, Asia and North America. He has given presentations and conducted workshops on cross-cultural design and technology in Japan, Austria, England, Mexico and the United States.