Maria de Alvear (Spain, 1960), the daughter of a Spanish architect and a German art collector, moved to Germany at the end of the 1970s and studied with Mauricio Kagel in Cologne.
After using the standard notation to compose the Misa Libre (1989) for orchestra, soloists and choir, and the concerto for piano and orchestra El Premio (1990), she adopted a compositional technique which is the musical equivalent of Andre' Breton's "automatic writing".
Her conceptual breakthrough was the large-scale diptych for piano consisting of De Puro Amor/ Pure Love (1991) and En Amor Duro/ Hard Love (1991).
During the 1990s she also spent time with North Siberian tribes and North American tribes, learning about their shamanic traditions.
Hence the one-hour Sexo (1991), billed as "a ceremony for a female vocal soloist, solo violin and orchestra", and the two-hour Hilos de Oro (1991) for voice, solo violin and orchestra, both still using standard notation.
Most of her compositions are very long, usually lasting more than one hour.
Automatic writing became her preminent method and resulted in pieces such as:
Seele (1992) for viola, violoncello and double bass;
En Espiritu de Rosas (1992) for piano, two clarinets, violin and violoncello;
Purisimo I (1992) for two flutes, harp, celesta and chamber orchestra;
Purisimo II (1993) for two flutes, clarinet, horn, celesta, harp and string orchestra;
Soles (1994) for two voices, piano, percussion and string trio;
Aguas (1995) for piano, voice, bandoneon, percussion and vibraphone;
Cortando (1995) for clarinet, violin, viola, piano and percussion;
Verdad/ Truth (1995), a "ceremony for piano and woodwind quintet";
Futuro (1996), a trio for piano, violin and trombone which was also performed as a quartet for piano, violin, trombone and percussion;
Pajaros (1996) for clarinet, two trumpets, two horns, two trombones and two percussionists;
On the other hand she composed using standard notation the pieces
for female vocal soloist (Alvear herself) and chamber ensemble titled
Sexo (1995) and Vagina (1996).
Also composed in standard notation were
the piano concerto World (1996),
Sexo Puro (1998), which is a "ceremony" for three voices and chamber ensemble (two pianos, two percussionists, three trumpets, three trombones, two tubas and solo trombone),
and the 82-minute Libertad (1998), a tribute to the North American tribes for two voices, trombone, two pianos and percussion.
Automatic writing yielded instead:
Todo (1997) for three female singers and chamber ensemble;
Vision (1998) for flute, clarinet, piano, two percussionists, violoncello, double bass and voice;
the 72-minute piano sonatas Llena (1999) and Asking (2000), both requiring the pianist to make decisions about how to play them.
See (2003), scored for voice and string quartet,
and the piano concerto Clear Energy (2007)
were again composed traditionally, as were
Equilibrio (2010), scored for flute, percussion, 2 pianos tuned a quarter tone apart and string ensemble (originally the soundtrack to Isaac Julien's multimedia installation "Ten Thousand Waves"),
Magna Mater (2013), a concerto for string ensemble, two horns, percussion, female choir, children's choir and baritones,
and the concerto for chamber orchestra Ahnen II (2021).