Skip to main content

Wilfrido Terrazas


Wilfrido TerrazasOffice: WLH 2144


Wilfrido Terrazas

Wilfrido Terrazas is a flutist, improviser, composer, and educator. I have been active since the early 1990s and my work explores the borderlands between improvisation, musical notation, and collective creation.

My music making is heavily influenced by many traditions, notably experimentalist practices from Latin America, the US, and Europe, such as African American creative music and jazz, European free improvisation, sound-based approaches to composition, and the emergence of collective approaches to musical/sound creation in Latin America in the early 21st century. It is also robustly informed by folk traditions and Indigenous aesthetics and ethics from my native Mexico, and by many traditions of wind instrument performance from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and beyond. But perhaps the most important influence on my work is my life as a borderlander, as a fronterizo. I grew up in Ensenada, Mexico, and spent most of my formative years coming and going across the Tijuana-San Diego border, slowly learning how to make apparent opposites come together and how to navigate through hybrid cultures.

I have been teaching since I was a teenager. I strongly believe teaching and learning are essentially creative processes and they are not separate from my creative work as an artist. I acknowledge and position myself as an artist-educator and identify as a learner/practitioner of anti-racist pedagogy. Recently, in addition to teaching flute, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on improvisation, experimental/open music notation, Mexican and Mexican American musical cultures, musical cultures along the US-Mexico borderlands, and various experimentalist musical practices of the 20th and 21st centuries.

I have performed over 400 world premieres, composed over 70 works, and recorded more than 50 albums, eight of them as a soloist or leader. My recordings have been published in Mexico, the US and Europe, on labels like Abolipop, Another Timbre, Cero, Creative Sources, Infrequent Seams, New Focus, New World, Transvection, Umor, and Wide Hive. I have presented my work in 22 countries and have been a guest performer at international festivals such as Creative Fest (Lisbon), ¡Escucha! (Madrid), Festival Cervantino (Guanajuato), High Zero (Baltimore), MATA (NYC), NUNC! (Chicago), and TENOR (Hamburg), and at venues and series for experimental music like Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), Bowerbird (Philadelphia), Teatro Nacional Cervantes (Buenos Aires), CCRMA (Stanford University), Splendor (Amsterdam), Flagey (Brussels), Littlefield Hall (Mills College), Unerhörte Musik (Berlin), St. Ruprechtskirche (Vienna), The Wulf and REDCAT (Los Angeles), Soup & Sound and The Stone/New School (NYC). I have also carried out residencies at Omi International Arts Center (NY), Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida) and Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture (Greece).

I am a member of two influential Mexico City-based ensembles: the improvisers’ collective Generación Espontánea, widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering groups for freely improvised music in Latin America, and Liminar, one of Mexico’s leading new music groups. Since 2014, I co-curate the Semana Internacional de Improvisación, an improvised music festival in Ensenada, my hometown. Recent collaborations include projects with Angélica Castelló, Amy Cimini, Michael Dessen, Carmina Escobar, Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Lisa Mezzacappa, Roscoe Mitchell, Abdul Moimême, Natalia Pérez Turner, Iván Trujillo, artists Esther Gámez and G.T. Pellizzi, and poets Ricardo Cázares, Nuria Manzur, and Ronnie Yates. Additionally, my compositions have been performed by José Manuel Alcántara, Aldo Aranda, Anagram Trio, Daniel Bruno, Ensamble Süden, Ghost Ensemble, in^set, International Contemporary Ensemble, Omar López, Low Frequency Trio, San Diego New Music, Kathryn Schulmeister, Albane Tamagna, wasteLAnd, and Miguel Zazueta, among many others. I enjoy writing as well, and have published more than 30 texts about music, amongst them four book chapters. Some of my writings can be read in the Pendragon, Routledge, and Suono Mobile presses. Currently, I am Associate Professor of Music at the University of California San Diego, where I have worked since 2017.