José “Pepe”  Martínez

Compositor/Composer (Mexico)

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.