Darlene Castro Ortiz (b.1993) is a Mexican-American composer and classical guitarist based in Chicago. Her interest in music began at a young age with the violin, first in a youth mariachi band, then in a classical orchestra setting. Inspired by her bilingual upbringing, her creative interest mostly lies in sonification and creating sonic representations of non-musical objects, often using electronics, noise, and extended techniques. Her music draws most of its inspiration from trying to auralize processes or extra-musical objects in order to arrive at vivid, self-contained musical translations. These musical translations can sometimes be literal, other times more veiled and often use visual art, poetry, scientific processes, and active words as starting points. Recently, her creative research lies in sensors, digital music instrument design, and textiles.
Her music has been performed and commissioned by ensembles such as Spektral Quartet, the Runnin' Fl'UTES', Salty Cricket Composers Collective, PANTS (Wind Quintet), Nightingale Ensemble, the Salt Lake City Public Library's SHH! A Very Quiet Music Series, Plena Libre, the Metropolis Ensemble, and Fonema Consort.
Her research on historical music notation has been presented with the American Musicological Society (Rocky Mountain Chapter) and has led her to conduct research in a week-long seminar on historical music notation at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
She completed her Bachelors in music composition at the University of Utah and is currently working on her PhD in composition at the University of Chicago.