Meet the Composer: Osvaldo Golijov

TUE, JUN 8, 2004 (21:17)

Osvaldo Golijov discusses his work as a composer. Osvaldo Golijov was born in 1960, raised in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Golijov was raised surrounded in chamber classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. He studied piano at the local conservatory and studied composition privately, subsequently moving in 1983 to Israel, where he studied at the Rubin Academy of Jerusalem and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city. Upon moving to the United States in 1986, Golijov earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1990, as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Golijov received Tanglewood’s Fromm Commission, resulting in “Yiddishbbuk”, which was premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet during Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music in July 1992. In June 2002, EMI released Yiddishbbuk, a CD of Golijov’s chamber music, celebrating ten years of collaboration with the SLSQ; the CD was nominated for two Grammy Awards. In 1997, Kronos recorded Golijov’s Klezmer-accented The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, and this CD has become what constitutes a bestseller in the classical world. In 2000, the premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s St. Mark Passion took the music world by storm. The CD of the premiere of this work received a Grammy nomination in 2002. On commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Golijov’s first opera, Ainadamar premiered in August 2003. Upcoming projects include commissions from Carnegie Hall and the Kronos Quartet. In addition, he has begun work on a movie soundtrack, Megalopolis in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola. Mr. Golijov has received numerous commissions, including those on behalf of the city of Munich; the Spoleto USA Festival; New York’s Lincoln Center; the Schleswig Holstein Music and Oregon Bach festivals and the Boston Symphony. He is also the recipient of many awards, including a 2003 MacArthur Award and those given by New York’s Lincoln Center, Washington’s Kennedy Center, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Golijov is Associate Professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he has taught since 1991; is on the faculties of the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center; and has been Composer-in-Residence for Marlboro Music, Ravinia, and the Cape and Islands festivals.

+ BIO: Osvaldo N. Golijov

Born in Argentina, Golijov grew up in Eastern Europe and moved to Israel in 1983 to study with Mark Kopytman at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. He moved to the US in 1986, where he earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, studying with George Crumb. Golijov has been Associate Professor of Music at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, since 1991, and also serves as a faculty member at the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center. Golijov’s impressive list of commissions is quite long and includes the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, the Spoleto USA Festival, Lincoln Center, the Boston Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. His most well-known work, “La Pasin Seg?n San Marcos” (“St. Mark’s Passion”), was commissioned by Helmuth Rilling to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death. Premiered in 2000 by the Schola Cantorum of Caracas, the piece has subsequently been performed in the US and recorded on the Hnnsler label. Golijov has served as composer-in-residence at Music from Marlboro, Spoleto, Merkin Hall in New York City and the LA Philharmonic’s Music Alive series.

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