Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina is a Russian composer, whose compositions combine Russian and Central Asian regional styles with the western classical tradition. Gubaidulina was born in Tschistopol in the USSR, now Tatarstan, Russia. She had lessons at the Kazan Music Academy starting in 1946 and graduated from the Kazan Conservatory in 1954, having studied piano and composition. She then transferred to the Moscow Conservatory under Vissarion Shebalin, where she finished her post-graduate studies in 1961. During the Soviet Era, she earned a living writing film-scores, particularly animated films. Gubaidulina’s works exhibit a combination of traditional elements and avant-garde. She often employs an East-West juxtaposition and uses her soloist vis-à-vis their ensemble. Additionally, she writes for non-standard instruments, in unusual combinations, in order to produce distinctly colourful timbres. Early in her career, she was attracted to the modernist enthusiasms of her contemporaries, however, in 1970 she emerged as a voice of her own with the chamber piece Concordanza. She went on to compose innovative pieces for soloists such as the accordionist Friedrich Lips including De Profundis in 1978.
Gubaidulina has gained prestige through commissions from new music festivals, well-known ensembles, individual artists, and institutions such as the Library of Congress and the International Bach Academy of Stuttgart. She was commissioned to create a piece in celebration of the Millennium for the Kirov Opera conducted by Valery Gergiev, she wrote Zeitgestalten in 1994 for Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and on April 29, 1999, the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, premiered her Two Paths, while on the same day, the NHK Symphony premiered In the Shadow of the Tree. Gubaidulina has received numerous honours, including the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music and two prestigious Koussevitzky International Recording Awards for new music.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator