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Osvaldo N. Golijov

Osvaldo N. Golijov

Music Department

Loyola Professor of Music

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Fields: Composition, World Music, Film Scoring

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Office Phone: 508-793-2761
Office: Brooks 140
PO Box: 151A


Born in La Plata, Argentina, on December 5, 1960, Osvaldo Golijov lived there and in Jerusalem before moving to the USA in 1986. In this country he studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.), and with Lukas Foss and Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood, where he received the Koussevitzky Composition Prize. He is a Loyola Professor of Music at College of the Holy Cross. and is also on the faculty of Boston Conservatory.

Defined by The New York Times as "a musical alchemist (who) conjures up new worlds," Mr. Golijov takes gestures and sound imagery from his own background as the points of departure for his compositions. Music from the Judeo-Christian liturgy, the western repertory of many periods, folk traditions from different places, and the inevitable Tango and other Latin American genres, appear in his work in different stages of transformation, often metamorphosing into something else entirely or even disappearing altogether from the surface. This search for a meaningful integration of widely different musical sources resulted in a longstanding collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, and in works for performers as diverse as the St. Lawrence and Cleveland string quartets, conductors Oliver Knussen and Helmuth Rilling, clarinetists Giora Feidman and David Krakauer, the Rumanian Gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks, the Mexican Rock band Cafe Tacuba, Tablas virtuoso Zakir Hussain, fiddler Alicia Svigals and singers Dawn Upshaw, Luciana Souza, Mikhail Alexandrovich, Paul Hillier, Iva Bittova and Diamanda Galas.

He is the winner of the first prize at two Kennedy Center's Friedheim Awards, in 1993 for Yiddishbbuk and in 1995 for The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. Other recent awards include France's Diapason D'Or (1997), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Stoeger Prize for Contemporary Music (1996), the BMW prize for music-theatre composition awarded by the jury of the Munich Biennale in 1994 for November, and the "Paul Fromm Award" (1992). He has received, among others, commissions from Hans Werner Henze for the city of Munich, New York's Lincoln Center, the Minnesota Orchestra, London's South Bank Centre, Birmingham (UK) Contemporary Music Group, Lisbon's Expo '98, the Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, Spoleto USA, and Oregon Bach Festivals; and commissions and grants from the Koussevitzky, Guggenheim, Barlow, and Fromm Foundations, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Golijov's music is frequently performed in many places of the world, including, in recent seasons, New York's Lincoln Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music, Washington's Kennedy Center, Boston's Jordan Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall; Paris' Theatre de la Ville, London's Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Centre, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Frankfurt's Alte Opera, Amsterdam's Concertgebow, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and major festivals in America and Europe. 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 CD of the premiere of this work, on the Hanssler Classic label, received a Grammy nomination in 2002.

In January 2005, the European Broadcasting Union televised Golijov's 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.

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. In 2006, Deutsche Grammophon released the recording of Ainadamar, with Dawn Upshaw, Kelley O'Connor and Jessica Rivera singing the principal roles, and the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, an artist and friend who has worked closely with Golijov for almost a decade and conducted the world premiere of the opera, as well as the American premiere of the Passion. The record earned two Grammy awards: for best opera recording, and best contemporary composition.

In January and February 2006 Lincoln Center presented 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. In 2006 Musical America named Golijov Composer of the Year. His composition, Ayre was awarded WQXR Gramophone American Award for 2006 and it was also nominated for a Grammy award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

Recently completed projects include Azul, a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony, and the composition of the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's upcoming film Youth Without Youth. He is currently at work on Rose of the Winds, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and to be premiered by them with the Silk Road Ensemble and Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting. Future works include a new opera, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.

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

NPR’s ‘Here & Now’ Gets Inside Look at Osvaldo Golijov’s New Work ‘Falling Out of Time’

Robin Young of NPR spoke with Golijov about his new song cycle “Falling Out of Time.” Her conversation with Golijov explored music, grief and the process of creating the song cycle.