During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Kronos Quartet premiered composer Angélica Negrón’s Marejada. The members performed their parts remotely in the four quadrants of a screen, each sitting before a background festooned with slips of ocean-colored paper. The music, a brilliant whirl of breezy pizzicato passages and flowing unison ones, was just as aquamarine—especially as enhanced by field recordings of beaches and birds in Puerto Rico, which is where Negrón grew up before becoming one of the brightest young composers in Brooklyn today.
The soul and sounds of Puerto Rico suffuse Negrón’s music, whether she is writing evocatively personal repertory for the likes of Kronos, Sō Percussion, and The Brooklyn Youth Chorus; singing magical realist lyrics and playing the accordion in the electro-tropical indie band Balún (which performs elsewhere at Big Ears); or creating whimsical yet exacting pieces for electronics, toys, and miked plants. In recent years, her music has been heard at the Ecstatic Music Festival, the Bang on a Can Marathon, and the New York Philharmonic Biennial.
After studying piano and violin at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, Negrón earned a master’s degree in music composition at New York University and became a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program. “I decided not to care as much about those things that come with the baggage of new music or classical music and institutions, and just think, very simply, about writing music that I was excited about, and that I wanted to go back and listen to,” she told The Creative Independent. In that freedom, the shape of a boundlessly promising career is coming into view.