José “Pepe” Martínez
HGO Appearances: Music and lyrics for Cruzar la Cara de
la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon (2013 revival, tours to
Théâtre du Châtelet, San Diego Opera, and Arizona Opera, and 2010
world premiere, for which he also performed the role of Chucho.
About the Artist: José "Pepe" Martínez was born in
Tecalitlán, Jalisco, Mexico, and joined his first mariachi band as
a violinist at the age of twelve. He began writing music when he
was nineteen years old, and in 1966 formed his own mariachi
ensemble, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán. In 1975, he joined Mariachi
Vargas de Tecalitlán, and his work with that ensemble established
him as a composer and arranger, marking a new era for Mariachi
Vargas and creating a sonic style that has become synonymous with
el mejor mariachi del mundo-the best mariachi in the
world. "Somos Novios" and "El Cascabel" are two of the first songs
Martínez arranged for his new group; original works such as "Violín
Huapango," "Lluvia de cuerdas," "Mexicanísimo," and "Viva Veracruz"
with its rapid violin ricochets-a Martínez signature-followed.
Today, Martínez continues writing, learning, performing, and
breaking new ground in the creation of mariachi music. Cruzar
la Cara de la Luna was his first opera.