I V E T T E   H E R R Y M A N  -  R O D R I G U E Z


C o m p o s e r




El libro de los musiniños

Parte 1

(Piano solo)



Ivette Herryman (Piano)



The word musiniños is a term I created, which is the union of two Spanish words: música (music) and niños (children).  Musiniños, as I define it, means: niños que estudian música (children that study music). I chose this title because this is a work commissioned by the school of music where I first began my musical studies. This collection of short pieces will be learned and played by the school’s current students, whose ages range between 8 and 14 years old.


El libro de los musiniños contains 10 pieces for piano solo and 4 pieces for two pianos. The work was first inspired by the title of one of Federico Mompou’s works: Música Callada (Quiet Music). These words gave me the idea of a “sound” and mostly, a “mood” I wanted to achieve with this music.


I wrote this work during my 4th year of college at the Instituto Superior de Antes in Havana, Cuba.



(Piano solo)



Ivette Herryman (Piano)



Sutiles is a cycle of four miniatures for piano that I wrote very early in my career as a composer. The pieces are a tribute to the music of Anton Webern, Igor Stravinsky and J.S. Bach. The primary focus of the cycle is to work with small forms that achieve unity through motivic treatment and reiteration of particular intonations.

Son para Luis

(Violin solo)



Luis Gómez Jorge (Violin)




This work was written during my time in Mexico as a composer in residency with FONCA and AECID. Luis Gómez Jorge, the performer in the recording, was one of 5 children for whom I wrote original works as part of my residency. Luis was an essential part of the compositional process since the piece’s technical level was measured by Luis’ own technical and musical skills. As the title tells us, the Cuban musical genre son inspires the work.

Dúo para un solista

(A duet for a soloist)


(Bass Clarinet)



Samuel Davies (Bass Clarinet)




Dúo para un solista (A duet for a soloist) is originally written for bass clarinet. A common feeling among immigrants inspires the work, that of feeling divided. Immigrants experiment a dual reality, having their memories and roots in their country of birth while living their present and possible future in a different country. Usually, the sense of belonging is lost as they often feel like foreigners in the new country.


I seek to portray this idea with the use of a compound melody. Each layer represents a different reality, but both layers belong to the same melody, which is a unit. A texture of melody and accompaniment arises and arpeggios are used to cover as much of the range of the instrument as possible. The piece is written in the form of continuous variation. The main theme is lyric, full of nostalgia and longing, almost like a deep cry. Despite the fact that every note has been given, the nature of this work is improvisatory, always free and flowing.


Acoustic Instruments with electronic media

On the inside

(Viola & Loop Machine)



Matt Pickart (Viola & Loop)




As a person that lives in a country other than my homeland, I often feel divided. On one hand, my past (memories, family, and old friends) is in Cuba, where I was born and lived for 27 years. On the other hand, my present is happening here, in the United States, where I have been living for a little over 5 years. Despite the welcoming experiences I have had in the U.S, I often feel like a stranger and outsider. At the same time, when I go back to Cuba for a visit, I feel that I cannot longer fit in since both Cuba and I have changed. Thus, I almost always feel in between different realities, as if one foot is here, one foot is there, but my whole self is neither here nor there.


In the summer of 2016 I was asked to write a piece for a concert that was centered on the topic of immigration. I decided to write a work that reflected on the experience of feeling divided. To portray the idea of a person that feels this way, I used compound melody as the main feature of the piece, which I titled A duet for a soloist.


On the inside continues my intention of reflecting on this concept. In this occasion I am using a loop pedal or loop machine to create the impression of more than one performer executing the piece. This piece is a solo work for viola, but the loop machine plays along with the soloist in some sections in order to externalize one of the sides of this division. Viola and loop pedal complement each other and are the two sides of a single musical composition.


Additionally, the piece brings together Cuban-influenced rhythms, lyricism, and virtuosity.


Chamber Music

Sol de las Esperanzas

(Baritone / Chamber ensemble)



Musique 21 (Ensemble)




A work written for baritone and chamber ensemble composed for conductor Kevin Noe and the Musique 21 ensemble from the Michigan State University's College of Music. “Sol de las Esperanzas”-Sun of Hopes- is a celebration of a vocal style of Flamenco music called Cante Hondo-Deep Song-, a music that I discovered through the reading of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry. The work is based on the poem Canción Otoñal –Autumn Song- by this Spanish poet who despite his personal struggles, found hope in the “light of the sun, the clear water, the new moon, and the heart of children.”


(Sax Alto & Piano)



Casey Grev (Saxophone)

Ivette Herryman (Piano)


Texeando can be defined as “walking through Texas”. The term is analogous to the Cuban expression Habaneando, which means to walk and to become acquainted with the city of La Habana [Havana, Cuba]. Habaneando is to absorb La Habana as Texeando is to absorb Texas-its traditions and culture.

Texeando is the first piece that I composed in Texas. At the same time, its creative process coincided with my first experiences in the Unite States. The title of the piece represents me walking through, getting to know, and learning about Texas.


Three dances for Bassoon and Piano: Tanxibanera, Habanxixera, and Mabanxixango

(Bassoon & Piano)



Walter Vangieson (Bassoon)

Ivette Herryman (Piano)



Sometime in the 19th century, the Cuban musical genre Habanera traveled to Latin American giving birth to new variants of this genre that eventually became independent musical entities. Such is the case of the Milonga and Maxixe, which later developed into Tango and the Brazilian Samba respectively.


Each piece of this cycle portrays the rhythm, dance, and culture of these “new forms” of Habanera popularly known as Tango, Danzón, and Maxixe.


*Although none of the dances in this work is based on Ragtime, it is worth mentioning that such genre is also connected to the Habanera.


Black Montuno

(Concertino for Clarinet in Bb

and Wind Ensemble)



Samuel Davies (Clarinet in Bb)

Michigan State University

Symphony Band

John T. Madden, conductor


Ivette Herryman (Piano / piano version)


Around the time I graduated from Baylor University with my Master’s in Music Composition, I decided to write a work that would serve as my graduation gift for my professor Scott McAllister.


McAllister’s “Black Dog” inspired the title of my piece as well as my Cuban roots. In my piece’s title: “Black montuno,” black comes “Black dog” and montuno, which translates as riff, refers to a musical entity characteristic of son and salsa, both musical genres of the Cuban popular music of the 20th century. These are still active in the current Cuban musical scene.


For the realization of this work, I composed a montuno and a tune derived from my montuno’s intonations, which is deeply influenced by the songs of the Cuban Nueva trova movement. The whole piece departs from these materials.


By the rhythm of your truth, set us free

(Flute, Violin, Bassoon, Cello & Marimba)



Flute: Chelsea Koziatek.

Bassoon: Hannah Reilly.

Violin: Matt Pickart.

Violoncello: Igor Cetkovic.

Marimba: Tia Harvey.

The piece grows out of a motive that comprises two measures, which are introduced at the very beginning of the work. This motive is not rich in pitch content or range, but posses a distinctive rhythmic profile. As the piece unfolds, one purpose is pursued: to deliver the motive from its rhythmic, range and pitch confines.


A piece for flute, violin, bassoon, cello, and marimba intended to be the first movement of a two-movement work.  Commissioned by flute player Chelsea Koziatek. Premiered at Michigan State University's College of Music on May 1st, 2016.


(Trumpet, Piano, Double Bass and Drums)



Maikel González (Trumpet)

Nailet Sosa (Drums)

Ivette Herryman (Piano)

Ernesto Maza (Double Bass)

Ofrenda (Offering) is a tune/piece built upon the principle of enharmonic sonorities and chord progressions that are a 3rd apart.


This work was written early in my career with the purpose of submitting it to a jazz composition contest. This is then, my very intuitive approach to jazz.


Advent Overture

(Oboe, Piano & String quintet)



Ivette Herryman (Piano)




“Advent Overture,” scored for oboe, piano and strings, was a commission for an Advent Service celebrated in November of 2012 in Amstrong Browning Library, at Baylor University. It was intended to be an opening piece, a sort of Prelude, to a longer selection of pieces by composer Carlos Colón.


After an introduction played by the piano, the oboe presents the main theme of the work. Following its presentation, the theme is recalled by the violins, which modulate to a new key through melodic sequence. The climax of the work takes place after the key change. In this second section the main theme is unfold again, alternating between oboe and piano. The piece finishes as the last presentation of the theme comes to its end.

Canción de Cuna

(Violin, Cello, Piano)



Luis Gómez Jorge (Violin)

Jaquelin Jorge (Cello)

Ivette Herryman (Piano)




This work is part of the series Los musiniños encuentran un tesoro, a work I composed during a composer’s residency in Mexico. I wrote Canción de cuna (Lullaby) for a mother and her child. She played the cello and he played violin.


I found inspiration in seeing them play together and simply wanted to write a piece for them to play.

Michigan State University Symphony Band

Piano and Clarinet in Bb version


Quiéreme entera

(Women's Choir & Piano)



Baylor Women's Choir

Ivette Herryman (Piano)



Quiéreme entera uses the text of the poem Si me quieres, quiéreme entera, by Cuban writer and poet Dulce Maria Loynaz del Castillo (1902-1997). The poem talks about a woman’s desire to be loved without reserve. If you love me, she says, love me entirely. Do not love only parts of me. Love me black, white, gray, green, blonde, brown. Love me entirely, do not cut me short, love me entirely.


Sopranos and altos sing independently most of the time in the piece, as they are demanding with their own “voices”, with their own color and personality for this kind of love.


The music is a plea, a demand.


Quiéreme entera was composed especially for the Baylor Women’s choir and its director Dr. Aaron Hufty.


(Women's Choir & Piano)



Baylor Women's Choir

Ivette Herryman (Piano)



The text of “Sigue” derives from the poem Sigue, written by the Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989). It was included in the Motivos de Son series of poems, that is ascribed to the literary genre poema-son, created by the poet.


In the poem, the poet asks a traveler to not mention him walking by the house of a certain woman, who is “bad”. The poet requests of the traveler that he continue walking and that he not stop, even if she calls him.


To recreate this image in the music, the piano part unfolds a bass line that presents a steady rhythm throughout the piece. This pattern is a walking bass that develops characteristic Cuban rhythms of the Cuban genre: Son.  The “bad” woman is portrayed in the piece by a gesture composed out of triples that tends to stop the regular movement of the bass. After the triples- the woman’s attemp to stop the traveler,  the bass restarts the pace of its line, and the piece continues to move forward.


 “Sigue” was composed especially for the Baylor Women’s choir and its director Dr. Aaron Hufty.

Who? Where? Eat. And Hungry for more

(Children's choir & Piano)



CMS Singers (Children's Choir)

Gwen Coma (Piano)



Both works were commissioned by The Community Composing Project for The Writing Center in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University for the CMS Singers choir.


These pieces are composed for children and reflect on hunger. Hunger for food and also hunger as a synonymous of longings and unfulfilled desires.


The text of both pieces is a combined effort that includes the hand and creativity of the children of the Community Music School (CMS) Singers Choir from East Lansing, MI, Angélica de Jesús, and myself.


Un danzón a mi manera

(Symphony Orchestra)



MSU Concert Orchestra




The work departs from the Cuban musical genre danzón, which is also a dance. The form of a danzón can be understood as an evolutionary process in itself. It starts with a slow introduction called paseo, in which the dancers are walking and relating to each other as in a conversation. The main theme is played next alternating with other themes as the danzón progresses. The final section, which was added some years after the genre had been conceived, is called mambo. This section presents a riff that is repeated in the form of an estribillo. Its tempo is slightly faster and rhythmic activity becomes the forte.


Keeping in mind the structure of a dazón, I set up for myself two goals with the composition of this piece. My first goal was to have two coexisting contrasting harmonic worlds. On the one hand, the first harmonic world is a resemblance of the conservative and traditional, emulating the idea of the danzón as an “old” genre. In this harmonic world, tonal centers can be easily identified. The second harmonic world, on the other hand, relies on dissonances intended to disrupt the flow of the traditional harmonic world. My second goal was to play with the tempo of the piece; starting moderately slow and increasing the speed gradually as the work unfolds to end with a fast tempo.

Orchestra with voice

Pain, the darkest place

(Mezzo-Soprano / Symphony Orchestra)



MSU Symphony Orchestra (Reading)




This is the first movement of Voices of the Soul, a work written for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, which was also my thesis to complete my Master’s at Baylor University.


Pain, the darkest place is about longings, which although different for every person, are part of us as human beings. It is a song for those who suffer through longings as they wait. It uses text from the poem Pain, written by the Argentinian poet Alfonsina Storni.


Los desplazados





I wrote this music for a short movie directed by Gustavo Torres Riffo. The film is about the sad reality that some families from Latin American countries face of being violently displaced from their homes.

Sacred Music

Canción de adviento




Ivette Herryman (Voice & Piano)




I have long enjoyed writing Christian songs. I have about 17 of them. They give me the space to join my Christian faith with my composing and are very special to me.


This song is about the meaning of Christ’s birth, both for the entire world and for my own life.


 Canción de Adviento

By Ivette Herryman-Rodríguez


Al despertar

el mundo tiene un Salvador

y aunque es pequeño aún

la majestad de Dios habita en Él

ese niño es más que Elías

Él es rey.


Entre los hombre crecerá

un oficio común tendrá

sin embargo muchas vidas cambiará

ese niño es más que Elías

más que Abraham.


Al despertar

mi vida tiene un Salvador

y soy pequeña cuando pienso en la grandeza de su amor

fue por mi que en un pesebre Él nació


Él fue por mi crucificado

fue por mi avergonzado

para darme vida eterna padeció


Hoy yo por él tengo esperanza

y una vida en abundancia

salvo he sido por su gracia

y mi nombre está en su libro

una cita tengo allá

en la eternidad.


Advent song

By Ivette Herryman-Rodríguez


Upon awakening the world has a Savior

And even though He is still a baby

God's majesty inhabit Him

That little boy is greater than Elijah,

He is a king.


Among men He will grow up

A common occupation He will have

However He will change many lives

That little boy is greater than Elijah

Greater than Abraham.

Upon awakening my life has a Savior

And I feel small when I think of the greatness of His love

It was for me

That in a manger He was born


He was crucified because of me

He was ashamed because of me

To give me eternal life He suffered


Today I have hope because of Him

I have abundant life because of Him

I have been rescued by His grace

And my name is in His book

I have an appointment with Him

in eternity.



Zarzuela - Cerca del río


Cerca del Río (Near the River) presents a love story between two Cuban adolescents.


The composer recreates elements of Cuban genres such as Son, Guajira, Mambo, Cha cha cha, and Habanera.


The music is fresh, naive, almost “popular.” The orchestra adjusts its formation in relation to the genre being recreated. Cerca del Río is rooted in the tradition of the Cuban Musical Theater.


To listen to samples and get the disc click here.

Listen: "Sol de las esperanzas"