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. MIT awarded Jose the Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize for Music, and selected him as a Burchard Scholar. 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 symphonic, choral and chamber music is performed frequently. Internationally acclaimed performers of his works include cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Prieto, Benedict Klöckner, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Guy Johnston, Sébastien Hurtaud, Carol and Sam Ou, Maximilian Hornung, Alvaro Bitrán, Giovanna Buccarella and Robert Deutsch; guitarists Eliot Fisk and Francesco Diodovich; violinists James Buswell and Yury Revich, as well as flautists Sefika Kutluer, Evangelina Reyes López and Orlando Cela.
As an enthusiast of history, José is particularly thrilled that his music has been performed in historical instruments, such as the Stradivarius cellos played by maestros Yo-Yo Ma (Davidoff Stradivarius, 1733) and Carlos Prieto (Piatti-Prieto Stradivarius, 1720), and the Stradivarius violins played by maestros James Buswell (Leveque Stradivarius, 1720) and Yury Revich (Princess Aurora Stradivarius, 1709), as well as the Tecchler cello (1714) played by Guy Johnston and the Rugeri cello (1680) played by Benedict Klöckner.
José’s music has been performed by over 170 orchestras around the world, under the direction of distinguished conductors including Carlos Miguel Prieto, Leonid Grin, Erol Erdinç, Félix Carrasco and Troy Peters, as well as the late maestros Virgilio Valle Pérez, Miguel Bernal Matus and Vladimir Ashkenazy. José considers maestros Wayne Toews, Orlando Cela, Andrew Sherwood and Sergio Buslje his most influential mentors, at a personal and professional level.
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.
José's music has been performed at some of the world’s most extraordinary venues, including La Fenice Opera Theater (Venice), Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Royal Festival Hall (London), Jordan Hall (Boston), Strathmore Hall (Washington), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), Sala Nezahualcóyotl (Mexico) and National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing). In 2021, his music will be performed at Carnegie Hall and Berlin Philharmonic Hall.
His music has been recorded by artists including Sefika Kutluer, Orlando Cela, Nicole Peña Comas, Evelyn Peña Comas, Wayne Toews, Enrique Lasansky, Thomas D. Rossin, Roberto Alvarez, Kseniia Vokhmianina, Laura Vincent, Evangelina Reyes López, as well as the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, the Bratislava Strings Orchestra and the Moravian Philharmonic. A performance of Yo-Yo Ma and Maximilian Hornung of his composition “Otoño en Buenos Aires” is included in Yo-Yo Ma’s DVD with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
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.
José’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.
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 José'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. And in 2020, this composition has become almost an anthem of hope during the times of quarantine in broadcasts by distinguished violinists, violists, cellists, flutists, tenors, choirs and orchestras around the world.
"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.
José was recently commissioned by cellist Benedict Klöckner to write a composition to be included in his upcoming recording of Bach’s Suites for cello solo. Jose wrote “Unter dem Sternenhimmel des Rheins” (Under the starry sky of the Rhein), inspired by Benedict’s performance of the Gigue in Suite #6 and by the beautiful and evocative landscapes of Benedict’s homeland. This piece was premiered by maestro Klöckner in a series of concerts given at beautiful castles on the banks of the Rhine in Germany this past August, and he’s scheduled to perform it in several virtual concerts as well as a presential concert in Paris. In 2021, he will perform this piece at the Berlin Philharmonie Hall and at Carnegie Hall.
José also received a commission to write a new cello duet for maestros Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto this past summer, and he wrote “Cantabrigian Reflections”, inspired by performances by the two maestros of Bach’s Suite #1.
Elizondo's "Estampas Mexicanas" is exactly the kind of music to challenge and then captivate young players as well as audiences.
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. 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".