Mario Ruiz Armengol
Great Mexican Musician, Proudly "Veracruzano"




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    Don Mario Ruiz Armengol was born in Veracruz, Mexico (birthplace of numerous great musicians) on March 17, 1914, son of respected concert pianist, Mario Ruiz Suarez and his wife, Rosa Armengol. He was the couple’s first child and only son, though he would; he was followed by four daughters: Judith, Silvia, Norma and Hilda. He was also the first of a second generation of Ruiz’ that would eventually number 39 siblings and first cousins.

Ruiz Armengol was a musical prodigy; he touched his first piano at eight, and by 15 he’d conducted his first concert. Members of the Leopoldo Beristaín Company pitched in to buy the boy his first pair of long pants for the occasion. Less than a year later, at 16, Ruiz Armengol  becomes a founding member of the XEW, his fame as a composer, arranger and conductor guaranteed. All the lights of his day would sing his music: Andy Rusell, Chucho Martínez Gil, Fernando Fernandez, María Luisa Landin, Amparo Montes, José Antonio Méndez, Lola Beltrán, Marco Antonio Muñiz and more recently, José José, Gualberto, Arturo Castro, Guadalupe Pineda, Roberto Pérez Vázquez, Rodolfo ‘Popo’ Sanchez, José Luis Caballero, Enrique Méndez, Paty Carrion, Mariana Alvarez and Verónica Ituarte, among others.

Don Mario spends 1936 studying harmony and counterpoint with Maestro José Rolón, then, in 1948 he meets Rodolfo Halffter, the inspiration behind his Seven Exercises of Composition and Harmony, the cornerstone of his long collaboration with Halffter. In 1954, Ruiz Armengol is dubbed “Mr.  Harmony” by the giants of American contemporary music--Duke Ellington, Billy Mays and Claire Fisher. It is at this time he composes his first classic work: Prelude for Piano and Harp. It was the beginning of a new era for Don Mario, one that continues to this day---87 years after his birth.

In addition to the marvelous songs that won him the appellation “Mr. Harmony”, the body of his work for piano consists of: 31 Infantile Pieces, 19 Cuban Dances, 16 Studies, 16 Reflections, 32 Miniatures, five waltzes, scherzos,  minuets, sonatas, fantasies and preludes, as well as pieces for four hands. His chamber music compositions for piano, cello, harp and flute would be played by the likes of Gustavo Rivero Weber, Enrique Nery, Alejandro Duprat, Gildardo Mojíca, and Alejandro Corona, as well as a whole new generation of Veracruz-born musicians----Edgar Dorantes, Eleonora Bárrales Cortes and Luis Enrique Leon among them.

The music of Don Mario is fresh and rich; those who sing his songs or play his instrumental compositions marvel at their novelty and rise to the challenge of delivering hallmark interpretations of what have become classics pieces of contemporary music.

The oeuvre of Ruiz Armengol defies definition, which sets off critics who would like nothing better than to label it and assign it a period and style. But its scope is too wide, its originality too profound. The music of Ruiz Armengol belongs to the ranks of true art and like all true art, it exists above and beyond its time and place. It speaks to all generations, to all manner of men and women.

Don Mario has spent 64 years of his life writing and playing music. And he writes because he has to; to do anything else would be a kind of death in life. He simply has no alternative—and the world is a happier place because of it!

Proudly Veracruzano*, Don Mario Ruíz Armengol is without a doubt Mexico’s musical talent of the century.

*Native of the state of Veracruz in southeastern México.