Behind the Scenes with Ix-Nic Iruegas
Executive Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute
Ix-Nic Iruegas and NOW’s Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez joined Choral Arts in A Spirited Discussion: Requiems and Día de los Muertos. This compelling talk explored the Mexican holiday through multiple lenses of profound historical insight, treasured childhood stories, and the power of music as its story advances each day.
These interwoven realities of past, present and future culminate in Día de los Muertos: Featuring Brahms’s Requiem. Co-presented with the New Orchestra of Washington, we honor those who have passed, uplifting their memories and celebrating each moment we have to create our own stories.
Choral Arts: Could you tell us about your role as the executive director of MCI?
Ix-Nic Iruegas: I had the honor of coming to DC to head the MCI last March, just days before everything had to shut down due to the pandemic. Things had to change very quickly at the MCI, but I was fortunate enough to have a very experienced and committed team ready to adapt almost immediately. Things have been very different for everyone around the world in the last months, but culture and the arts have remained at the forefront during these times. It makes us happy to know that maybe we have been able to make it a little more bearable.
Choral Arts: Tell us about a moment you’ve recently experienced awe.
Ix-Nic Iruegas: I am most inspired by movements headed by very young people around the world. In Mexico and Latin America, young women specially have spearheaded equal rights demonstrations that took them to the streets in the thousands. Their ability to organize using the tools available to them, and to underscore issues that affect them, has given me hope.
Choral Arts: Tell us about a piece of art that has transformed the way you see the world. How did it change your perspective?
Ix-Nic Iruegas: I have always been very word-oriented, so literature has always shaped, in a certain way, my relationship with the world around me. Though literature remains my most familiar link with the arts, my interest for the spoken word has also stirred me towards cinema and theater. I was an avid reader as a child, but I believe my first contact with the Latin-American Boom and more specifically with Gabriel García Marquez as a teenager, was my first realization of the artistry involved in writing. I was in absolute awe of certain sentences and descriptions and I was hooked.
Choral Arts: How is MCI maintaining connection to its community during this time?
Ix-Nic Iruegas: We were able to strengthen our social media, and we now have a very robust operation that has allowed to us to keep in touch with our audiences, and also reach people that we had not been able to reach before. Like many other cultural institutions, we had to migrate many of our activities to the digital environment and very soon we started to think of things we could do specially for these times. It has been a very interesting learning experience and I believe we have made the best of a complicated situation.
The New Orchestra of Washington (NOW) and Choral Arts celebrate Día de los Muertos in a joint presentation featuring Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem.