Edgar Gomez highlights the music of 19th century Mexico at student expo.

Published: April 13, 2023 Author: Sophia Rooksberry, htc ‘26

Edgar Gomez is a student from Cholula, Puebla in Mexico, who is currently working towards master's degrees in music history and literature along with piano performance and pedagogy.

Gomez submitted a presentation to the OHIO Student Expo focusing on the work of Ernesto Elorduy, a popular piano composer from 19th century Mexico.

Gomez began playing the piano 12 years ago, and initially wanted to pursue a career as a producer. This path changed when he began his undergraduate degree and discovered his love of classical music, which occurred around the same time as he found Elorduy.

“I wrote a paper on this composer’s piano music and the pedagogy of it,” Gomez said. He described Elorduy’s music as not too difficult to play in the technical sense, while still sounding beautiful and romantic. Despite the composer's popularity during the second half of the century, there was nevertheless a shortage of information about him.

One of Gomez’s professors at the time posed a question about how the origin of music impacts the way it is perceived. Gomez found that Elorduy’s music illuminated what society was like in Mexico at the time it was written, an answer that sparked Gomez’s curiosity and encouraged him to keep researching Mexican musical composition.

The lack of available information about 19th century Mexican music was also pervasive at Ohio University, which Gomez discovered in 2020 when he arrived for his master’s program. However, Gomez conducted deep research, never faltering in his continued pursuit of Mexican music.

Gomez’s expo presentation is a condensed version of his thesis, which highlights similar topics about the origin and nature of Elorduy’s music. He hopes that his research on the subject will bring a light to what he has studied.

“I think the most important part of [my presentation] is bringing this topic to more circles of scholarship, musicology, and research. There’s this criticism of Mexican musicology that just repeats some accounts from the early 20th century that said the music was not good, but without actually playing the music,” he said. “[It is important to] bring it to the table instead of saying it’s not good because someone else said it’s not good.”

In the fall, Gomez will pursue his PhD at the University of Maryland. While in that program, he hopes to continue his study of Elorudy’s music, along with expanding his research to other composers of the time. Gomez described his specialized era of music as a “black hole” about which very little information is available, and he hopes to learn more and educate others to rectify that fact.