Milton Estévez, composer

Extended Bio-Note


Quito Cathedral by night / Cotopaxi volcano background

Milton Estévez Apuntes con Refrán I, p1 Música de Nuestro Tiempo album jacket

Education / Studies

Professional History Works / Writings Rocordings


Consulting Articles on Estévez Available

Milton Estévez majored in classical guitar and music theory (music degree in 1980, with honors) at the National Conservatory of Music (Quito). He received a degree in architecture from the Central University of Ecuador (first in his graduating class, 1978), and pursued studies in visual arts at the same institution.

He specialized in composition, between 1980 and 1985, at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, with Max Deutsch and Yoshihisa Taïra, on  a scholarship from the French government, and in 1984 received the superior diploma in advanced composition (first prize awarded in competition).

Estévez also pursued graduate studies in sociology, receiving a Ph.D. -Summa Cum Laudae from the Universitè de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, in 1985; and in musicology at the Universitè de Paris IV, Sorbonne (1982-84, Ph.D. candidate).
He attended analysis seminars at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Betsy Jolas.

He studied orchestral conducting with André Girard (former conductor of the French Radio/TV and the Paris Opera orchestras); electro-acoustics and computer music at the Centre Européen pour la Recherche Musicale of Metz (CERM) with Mesías Maiguashca and François Pinot.



Upon returning to Ecuador in 1985, he rejoined the faculty of the National Conservatory of Music, where he had previously taught classical guitar and music theory from 1972 to 1980. He founded the Department of Research, Composition, and Musical Outreach (Departamento de Investigación, Creación y Difusión Musicales, DIC) in 1985, while teaching composition, musical analysis and orchestration.

He also developed a research project on music of the Shuar culture from the Ecuadorean Amazon region, sponsored by UNESCO. In 1987 he founded  the Ecuadorean Festival of Contemporary Music and subsequently directed its annual iterations, as well as the group Musicaviva and the series Música de Nuestro Tiempo, carrying out work in support of musical creation, research, and dissemination.

Estévez moved to the United States in 1994, invited as visiting-composer-in-residence by the University of Louisville (1994-97), with the support of a grant from the Organization of American States; subsequently, he served five years as composer-in-residence at Spalding University, Louisville (1997-2002).

Between 2010 and 2017, Estévez has intermittently commuted between the USA and Ecuador, attending invitations by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador (OSNE, for its Spanish acronym) as a consultant; by the Ministry of Culture, first as a consultant and later as an adviser to the Minister; and by the Ministry of Education, as a consultant.

As a consultant to the OSNE and to the Ministry of Culture, he designed the Ecuadorean Network of Symphonic Music, a very ambitious project of the Ministry of Culture, later updated as Sistema de las Músicas del Ecuador,SIME.

In 2012, as an adviser to the Minister of Culture, he was appointed institutional head of the project for creating the University of the Arts, which was completed in 2012 and approved by the National Assembly in 2013. He also has continued promoting the Ecuadorean Festival of Contemporary Music.

Among his works for orchestra and electro-acoustics is Apuntes con Refrán, commissioned by IBM-Ecuador in 1987, which won an international competition to participate in the SoundCelebration II festival, hosted by the Louisville Orchestra (Kentucky) in 1992. He was invited the same year to the Sixth Latin American Music Festival of Caracas, and later to its seventh iteration.


His work Guitarra...Guitarra... was awarded the First Mention in the Rodrigo Riera international competition for guitar composition, Caracas, 1997.

Some other invitations to disseminate his music  (symphonic, chamber, and mixed electro-acoustic works), include:

Festival Internacional de Música Académica Contemporánea (International Festival of Contemprary Art Music, FIMAC, for its Spanish acronym), Cuenca, Ecuador, 2016 and 2017 iterations.

Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (Mexican Center For Music And Sound Arts, CMMAS, for its Spanish acronym) , Parte de la Historia, Colección de música electroacústica latinoamericana (Compilation of Latin American Electro-acoustic Music), México (2014).

Manuel Enríquez International Forum of New Music, Mexico DF (2012).

Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Ecuadorean Festival of Contemporary Music, Quito (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2011).

Fifteenth Latin American Music Festival of Caracas (2008);

Web-hosted audio-data-base of Latin American Electro-acoustic Music, Fondation Langlois, Montréal (2004).

DRAM, web-hosted Data Base of Recorded American Music, New York (2003);
Composers Recordings Inc., New York (2000).

Jornadas de Música Electroacústica, Montevideo (2000);
Radio de la Suisse Romande (1999).

Vor Eco Festival, Freiburg (1997);

New Ensamble of Amsterdam (1996).

Argentinean Music Council (1995); the Hungarian Radio (1994), Radio Cultura FM of Sao Paulo (1995).

Composers Forum, Texas (1999); Florida Electro-acoustic Music Festival (1999); Subtropics Festival, Miami, (1994).

Festival Synthèse, Bourges, (1994); International Rostrum of Composers, Paris, (1994).




His most relevant commissions have been awarded by the Ensemble SurPlus from Germany (2006-2007), the International Festival of Sacred Music in Quito (2003-2004), the Ensemble Aventure of Germany (1999-2000), the Freiburg Institute for New Music (1996-97), and the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam (1995-96).

During his stay in Louisville, Kentucky, besides pursuing his creative work, Estévez was active as an educator, lecturer, musical promoter, and guitar performer.

He moved to Denver in 2017, prior to setting his primary residence back in Quito and alternating  with Denver as a pied à terre in the USA.