Rhinegold Photo credit: Japan Art Association, The Sankei Shimbun
Katy Wright

Katy Wright

News editor

Gubaidulina wins BBVA Foundation contemporary music award

2:11, 15th February 2017

Sofia Gubaidulina has just been announced as the recipient of BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria) Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award in contemporary music.

The citation reads: ‘Sofia Gubaidulina is an outstanding example of a composer who has pursued her own distinctive voice and followed her conscience despite extremely difficult political circumstances. Her achievement is one of uncompromising courage and perseverance. And it is these qualities of individual strength and artistic integrity that are expressed through her music.’

The judges highlighted Gubaidulina’s ‘outstanding musical and personal qualities’ and stated that her oeuvre demonstrates ‘the exceptional range and quality of her music, which builds on a diversity of traditions in individual and innovative ways, using a range of instruments that sometimes draw on folk music and improvisation.’

Born in the Soviet Union in 1931, Gubaidulina studied with Nikolai Peiko and Vissarion Shebalin in Moscow.

She sees music as a spiritual phenomenon, and her works reflect her interest in ideas of mystical spiritualism, religion and proportion. This caused tension with Soviet authorities, and in 1979 she was blacklisted.

Gubaidulina came to international attention in the 1980s thanks to Gidon Kremer’s performances of her violin concerto Offertorium. She has written in almost every genre except for opera, and her recorded output is similarly vast. She has lived in Hamburg since 1992.

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