Roque Cordero was born in Panama City, Panama and is considered the country’s greatest composer. As a boy he played clarinet and won many prizes for composing and conducting. At the age of 21 he founded an orchestra that became the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama three years later. Cordero won a scholarship to the University of Minnesota. He later returned to Panama and became Director of the Institute of Music as well as Artistic Director and Conductor of the National Symphony of Panama. He later served as Assistant Director of the Latin American Music Center. He moved to the United States to teach at Indiana University and Illinois State University. His works have been widely performed in Latin America, the United States and Europe and have won many international awards.