Jesús Agomar is a musician, composer and conductor who was born in the town of Los Realejos on the island of Tenerife on 17 March 1983. Now, at 35 years of age, he can be considered as a notable reference in the world of music in the Canary Islands, as well as being a clear exponent at the forefront of music among local musical ensembles.
It can be said of him that he is a musician who stands out –together with other descriptive terms- due to his intensive dedication to his studies, wide knowledge of music and his decisive defence of the band movement in the Canaries and at national level, thanks to the fact that his training took place directly in the very heart of Musical Bands.
When he was just nine years old, he began to study music with the now departed maestro Florentino Bencomo at the Academy of the Philarmonic Association of Los Realejos. This was where he learned and acquired the basic skills and ability in playing the slide trombone, the instrument to which he has dedicated all his time ever since.
With an interest in continuing his musical education, after completing his initial studies, he decided to enter the Conservatoire of Music of La Orotava and then continued his personal training path at the Professional Conservatoire of Tenerife. While studying there he was able to learn much more about the art of music and, with a commendable desire for broadening his learning through his own investigations, he began to develop his skills as a composer of music. It was during this period between 2003 and 2005 that Jesús Agomar began to compose his first pieces.
After completing his degree at the Professional Conservatoire of Tenerife, shortly afterwards he was awarded a degree in Composition –specialising in Cinema and Television− by Berklee College of Musicin Boston (USA), one of the leading music universities in the world and at which he was fortunate enough to share in and learn from the rewarding experience of numerous teachers and students of other nationalities and with different ways of making and feeling music. This was a musical training experience that he was able to combine with his studies for a degree in History at the University of La Laguna, and with a Master’s in Communication, Radio and Television Broadcasting from the Centre for Open Higher Education of Zaragoza, which he completed in 2003.
With what is described above, it can be deduced that Jesús Agomar has been able to understand and build, with considerable hard work and effort, a sound multidisciplinary knowledge base that has led him to have over one hundred articles published in various scientific and general communications media on ethnographic, historical and musical themes, especially on the subject of Musical Bands. In addition, as the great communicator that he is, he produced and worked as a broadcaster on the radio programme From Band to Band, on the public radio station in his home town. Over four intensive seasons the programme managed to bring Band music a little closer to the homes of over 30,000 regular listeners and spread knowledge about the regular work of these institutions (concerts, conductors, composers, compositions presented, etc.) making it possible for them to be heard, with the help of recordings made in the various parts of the island where these pieces were played.
Our young composer has also produced music for the audiovisual world. He has been involved in the creation of music for many short films, documentaries and TV series, both for Spanish and for international production companies. In this respect, some examples worthy of mention are his participation in the episode entitled Bunkersof the television programme “A fondo” on Antena 3 Televisiónand the short films Odio los lunesand Efímerosby film-maker Iván López, which won the Award for best soundtrack at the National Festival of Short Films held in Arona (Tenerife) in 2009. He was also a finalist at the third edition of the prestigious Jerry Goldsmith Awards Internationalorganised in Úbeda (Jaén) in the same year.
To end this section, in relation to what has been stated, he composed the soundtrack for the Photography Exhibition Istanbul, by Tenerife photographer Ankor Ramos and the piece entitled Adventurewas nominated in 2015 for the Hollywood Music in Media Awardsin Los Angeles (USA), popularly known as the “Music Oscars”.
Jesús Agomar is co-author of the book La música en Los Realejos. La Sociedad Filarmónica del Realejo Bajo, a work for which he received the Viera y Clavijo Regional Award for Research in Humanities in December 2005. And we can certainly say that he has good knowledge of the specific language of local Musical Associations due to the fact that he has constantly been involved in and collaborated closely with nationally and internationally recognised bands.
There are three pieces of music that stand out from his extensive curriculum: on the one hand, in 2012 he was chosen to lead the national Workshop called Symphonic Bands of Berklee Collegein Valencia, together with composer Gregory Fritze and conductor Rafael Sanz Espert; on the other hand, in 2007he tookpart in the MucipegFestival at the 1stNational Soundtrack Composition Course; and, finally, in 2014 he completed the Higher Course in Composition for Musical Bands taught by Alicante maestro Óscar Navarro in the city of Jaén.
As an instrumentalist, Jesús Agomar has played with many Musical Bands in the Canary Islands and it can thus be said of him that few people know them as well as he does. Proof of this statement lies in the fact that was a soloist, from its origin in 1997, in the now-defunct Symphony Orchestra of the Villa de La Orotava until well into 1999. He played with the Tenerife Zarzuela Orchestra and with three musical groups in La Laguna: the Classical Orchestra, the Municipal Symphony Band and the University Symphony Band.
Added to this list is the fact that since 2003 he has been a trombonist with the Island Symphony Band, a situation that has enabled him not only to get to know the geography of the islands well, but also to feel proud to have been able to represent them in other places. One year after another, in 2006 he was at the 13th State Festival of Musical Bands in Palma de Mallorca, in 2007 at the 14thedition, which was held in Tenerife, and in 2008 at the 15thedition in Calatayud, province of Zaragoza, amongst others.
As a conductor, Jesús Agomar has dedicated a lot of time to furthering his knowledge and to studying the works of the great masters of this discipline, such as José Rafael Pascual Vilaplana, Rafael Sanz Espert, Enrique García Asencio and maestro Navarro Lara. Some years earlier, in 1999, when he was just 16 years old, he was fortunate enough to take his first steps in front of a musical ensemble: he took responsibility for the conducting and the arrangements of the music played by the Brass Band of the Tenerife town of La Orotava until 2010. In 2007 he also took on the work of conductor of the Musical Ensemble of La Victoria de Acentejo, an experience that lasted until May 2011.
Regarding his facet as a composer for Bands, also from a young age he began to produce small musical arrangements and orchestrations until the premiere of his first procession march, a musical genre in which he has proven himself as few others have. This would seem to be the right moment to name some of his works, many of them well known due to their being played regularly by Bands in Tenerife and also by some of those in mainland Spain: Columna de fe(2005), Mater Dolorosa(2005), Señor de la Sentencia(2006),Nazareno de Icod(2007), Nuestra Señora del Carmen(2007), Vera Cruz y Misericordia (2007), Nuestra Señora del Rosario(2009), El Señor (2011), Cuando lloran las trompetas(2014) and Lux Mundi(2017).
It has to be said that his popularity among the musical ensembles that play this type of music has led to him forming part of the select group of composers who are approached by these bands for new pieces or for new arrangements of others that already exist. This popularity is endorsed by the number of times that his works have been included in various musical compilations, as happened, for example, with Acordes de ayer y hoy(2015) produced by the Musical Ensemble Cruz Santa or Semblanzas de Pasión. La Música Procesional de Canarias(2007) from the Musical Ensemble La Esperanza de La Guancha.
As for his compositions that are not procession music, the following are worthy of note: Campanas de Guatemala(2007), expressly commissioned by the Diocese of Tenerife on the occasion of the canonisation of Santo Hermano Pedro in Guatemala, and also the piece presented for the 160th Anniversary of the Philharmonic Association of Los Realejos, El viajero ilustrado, commissioned by the Town Council to commemorate the Bicentenary of the death of the multi-faceted writer José de Viera y Clavijo, which was published by GTE Music. Finally, we have to mention Celebration Overture(2015), written to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Musical Ensemble La Esperanza de La Guancha and various other symphonic compositions for chamber ensembles, some of which were published by Periferia Sheet Music and EGC Ediciones.
All of this combined experience as a conductor and composer in the specialities referred to –together with other reasons– led Jesús Agomar to start his teaching career as a teacher of trombone in the Music School of La Guancha in 2009. This led to his being chosen in 2014 to take over responsibility as Principal of the School and in 2015 as the leader of the Musical Ensemble La Esperanza de La Guancha where he works hard to give more prestige and musical and social recognition, if possible, to this association. Proof of this is the fact that it was under his baton that the Ensemble from La Guancha this year received the highest honour awarded by the Island Government of Tenerife, the island’s Gold Medal.
This biography must be completed with two statement that have to be taken into account: the first one is that in 2017 he was appointed as Artistic Director of the Island Band of Tenerife and, the second one is that anyone who thinks that they know the outstanding musicians connected with the Musical Bands of Tenerife can only truly say this if they know the person we are presenting here today as a candidate for receiving the Award in question. Therefore, few people would be surprised to hear that Jesús Agomar is a musician who is regularly called upon to conduct and to advise other provincial Musical Bands, who also ask for his help and proven experience in arranging the musical pieces to be played.
As we have said, Jesús Agomar has carried the banner for the work of the islands’ Musical Bands beyond their borders. In 2011 he was a guest lecturer on the European Social Fund Programme Echo European Cultural Heritage – Opportunities for Lifelong Learningto present a talk on the benefits of this type of learning to music students and various artists from all over Europe. More recently, in 2016, he was invited to take part as a member of the team responsible for drafting the Island Strategy for Performing Arts and Music of Tenerife, a document designed by the Island Government of Tenerife.
In July 2017 he also visited the city of Utrecht (Netherlands), invited by the WASBE (World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) as a guest speaker to give a talk about the work and the future of Tenerife Musical Bands; an important international feature of their 18thannual conference.
He has been a member of the WASBE since 2017 and of the Spanish General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE) since 2009. He has been associated with the production team of Antena 3 Films since 2015. And, thanks to his commendable cultural work in favour of Musical Bands, he has started up, amongst other things, a regular biennial programme of Zarzuelain the town of La Guancha, making known and popularising this musical genre among the entire local population.
In view of all that has been said, his reformist, social and innovative role has to be highlighted in the light of the setting up in 2015 of the social and educational programme IntegrArte, the general aim of which consists of the integration of children and teenagers in the region at risk of social exclusion through learning and practising music and playing instruments. This initiative is based at the Municipal School of Music in La Guancha, of which he is the Principal, together with a team of professionals from the local council and with help and funding from La Caixa Social Projects.