"Celebrating New Music with FIREWORKS:
Performances for All Participants"

Tuesday, June 21 to Sunday, July 3, 2005
University of Oregon School of Music

 

Osvaldo Golijov, Festival Composer-in-residence

Osvaldo Golijov

Official website: http://www.osvaldogolijov.com/

 

Osvaldo Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Born to a piano teacher mother and physician father, Golijov was raised surrounded by chamber classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. After studying piano at the local conservatory and composition with Gerardo Gandini he moved to Israel in 1983, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city.

Upon moving to the United States in 1986, Golijov earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb, and was a fellow at Tanglewood, studying with Oliver Knussen. In 1990, Golijov received Tanglewood's Fromm Commission, resulting in Yiddishbbuk, which was premiered there by the St. Lawrence String Quartet in 1992. They were the first group of players to dive into Golijov's volatile and category-defying musical world and project it in its true, full form. In 2002, EMI released Yiddishbbuk, a Grammy-nominated CD of Golijov's chamber music, celebrating ten years of collaboration with the SLSQ, featuring also clarinetist Todd Palmer.

While at Tanglewood, Golijov became personally acquainted with the Kronos Quartet. This relationship, now more than a decade old, has become a central one to Golijov. He has collaborated on more than 30 works with them, including a series of arrangements of music from all over the world. Many of them appear in the CDs Caravan and Nuevo, both on the Nonesuch label. The continued collaboration with the Kronos Quartet also allowed Golijov to work with artists such as the gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks (who also participated in the recording of Golijov's soundtrack for Sally Potter's film The Man Who Cried, starring Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett), as well as the Mexican rock band Cafe Tacuba, Klezmer master David Krakauer, tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, legendary Argentine musician and producer Gustavo Santaolalla, and the Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams).

In 2000, the premiere of Golijov's St. Mark Passion took the music world by storm. It was commissioned by Helmuth Rilling for the European Music Festival to commemorate the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach's death. The piece featured the Schola Cantorum of Caracas, with the Orquesta La Pasión (especially assembled for this work by Golijov together with percussionist Mikael Ringquist), all conducted by Maria Guinand. The CD of the premiere of this work, on the Haenssler Classic label, received Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations in 2002.

Golijov has received numerous commissions from major ensembles and institutions in the U.S. and Europe and is the recipient of a Mac Arthur Fellowship, among many other awards. His music is performed regularly by musicians such as Robert Spano, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Dawn Upshaw, Luciana Souza, Maya Beiser, the St. Lawrence, Kronos and Borromeo quartets, and orchestras such as the Boston Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been composer-in-residence at Merkin Hall in New York, the Spoleto USA Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Music Alive series, Marlboro Music, Ravinia, and several other festivals. Golijov is an Associate Professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he has taught since 1991. He is also on the faculties of the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Recent works include a one-act opera, Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears"), with a libretto by David H. Hwang, commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the Tanglewood Music Center. The premiere featured Dawn Upshaw in the main role, and Robert Spano conducting the Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Fellows and Orchestra. The opera was co-produced by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which presented it during the Walt Disney Hall's inaugural season with the same cast and Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting the orchestra, and Lincoln Center, which will present it in New York in early 2006. In Summer 2005 Ainadamar will premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in a new production directed by Peter Sellars.

In March 2004, a set of folksongs, Ayre, featuring Dawn Upshaw and commissioned by Carnegie Hall, was premiered as part of the inaugural season of the new Zankel Concert Hall. For Ayre Golijov created a new group: The Andalucian Dogs, a collective of virtuosos, which also recorded the work for Deutsche Grammophon. The recording is set for release in 2005. Future projects on Deutsche Grammophon include recordings of Golijov's cantata Oceana, featuring Luciana Souza, the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and his opera Ainadamar, with Dawn Upshaw and the Atlanta Symphony, all conducted by Robert Spano.

In January 05, the European Broadcasting Union will televise Golijov's last work to date: TEKYAH. This work was commissioned by the BBC especially for a film commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and was filmed there, performed by David Krakauer, Michael Ward-Bergeman, and the Sinfonietta Krakovia.

Mr. Golijov is currently writing a symphony commissioned by director Francis Ford Coppola, to be used as the basis for the soundtrack of his next film, Megalopolis. Next projects include works for the Kronos and St Lawrence quartets, and for Yo Yo Ma with the Boston Symphony.

In January and February 2006 Lincoln Center will present a Festival called "The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov", featuring multiple performances of his major works, chamber music, late nights of Tango and Klezmer, and a night at the Film Society.

His works are published by Ytalianna Music Publishing and recorded on Nonesuch, Sony Classical, Hanssler Classics, Naxos, Koch, and EMI.