As an internationally performed composer, Lopez traces his musical roots to a broad range of influences, from his tenure as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, as a Tanglewood Fellowship Composer, and as recipient of the George Ladd Prix de Paris (1976-1978). The eclectic nature of Lopez’s mature style stems no doubt from having worked directly with composers of diverse approaches and philosophies during his early years at Berkeley and Tanglewood: with Joaquin Nin Culmell, Andrew Imbrie, Edwin Dugger, Olly Wilson, Earle Brown at UC Berkeley (1972-1978); and with Ralph Shapey and Theodore Antoniou during his Fellowship at Tanglewood (1979). Even more influential to Lopez’s artistic development was his residence in Paris, where he had the opportunity to listen to many live concerts of contemporary European composers as well as to attend numerous events at IRCAM.
One of Lopez’s creative principles is that “Composition Is Performance On Paper!” No doubt due to this enduring philosophy, his compositions were recognized early in his career; with several prizes and awards, including the George Ladd Prix de Paris and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize; with numerous performances throughout the United States and Europe; and with an LP recording of a major work for Male Voice, Chamber Orchestra, and Live Electronics released on the 1750 Arch Records label. In 2021, his work, The Ship of Death, was rereleased as an abbreviated version in digital format by PARMA Recordings on the Navona Records label. This same work received its world premiere in 1979 in the Netherlands by the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Ernest Bour.
Lopez is equally comfortable with experimental instrumental techniques (IFASIA for octet), electronics (Moment Pieces for Extended Piano), digital techniques (MISE-EN, Series I, II, and III), electroacoustics (The Ship of Death) and traditional methodologies (Visions des reflets et nocturnes for Piano and String Orchestra, Song of Thirteen Moons for Orchestra, and Aujourd’hui for Double String Orchestra).
World premieres of recent works have been performed by the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra in Sydney, Australia (2017, 2018), the Ensemble MISE-EN in Seoul, South Korea (2018), and the Lviv Philharmonic Society in Lviv, Ukraine (2022).
In July 2023, Navona Records released a recent work of Lopez’s; MISE-EN Series II Episode I for Amplified String Quartet and Acousmatic Sound. In January 2024, Navona Records will also release a piano solo piece from his series of piano pieces, PIECES FROM A DISTANT LAND. Acclaimed pianist Anna Kislitsyna recorded this work in May 2023 at the beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport MA. Pianist Jennifer Wang premiered this same work shortly thereafter at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York City during the Laureate Gala Performances produced by Progressive Musicians and Sound Espressivo.
Lopez remains actively engaged in continuing projects, including numerous solo piano pieces, orchestral compositions, electroacoustic and digital media, and works featuring vocal soloists, chamber choirs, and symphony orchestras.