April 15, 2021

The composer Joan Guinjoan dies, key figure of contemporary music | Culture

The composer Joan Guinjoan dies, key figure of contemporary music | Culture



The composer, pianist and director of Catalan orchestra Joan Guinjoan, one of the referents of contemporary music creation in Spain, has died at 87 years. Considered by critics as a creator of great abstract and expressive forms within symphonic music, he was distinguished with the Reina Sofía Composition Award in 1983, the National Music Award in 1989 and the Ibero-American Tomás Luis de Victoria in 2004, among others. many awards.It leaves a prolific catalog of more than a hundred works of chamber and symphonic music.

Born on November 28, 1931 in Riudoms (Tarragona), at age 14 he received as an gift an accordion, an instrument that sparked his interest in music. Shortly after, he prepared for a piano career with a professor from Reus. He studied composition and orchestration at the Superior Conservatory of Music of the Liceu of Barcelona with maestro Cristóbal Taltavull. In Paris he studied piano at the Ecole Normal with Professor Gentil, and composition and conducting at the Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Pierre Wissmer.

Relationship with the artistic vanguard

After an intense piano career (1957-1960), with recitals in Spain, France and Germany, in 1964 he made contact with the French musical avant-garde and devoted himself fully to composition. In 1965 he founded, together with clarinetist Juli Panyella, the group Diabolus in Musica with the aim of spreading contemporary music.

In 1986 he created and directed the Center for Documentation and Diffusion of Contemporary Music, belonging to the Culture Area of ​​the Barcelona City Council, from where he developed different organizational tasks in the Catalan musical life. Under his direction, the first Spanish version of the History of the soldier of Stravinski.

His repertoire, clearly vitalist, is a synthesis of languages ​​coordinated by a personal style where rhythm and timbre determine its Mediterranean origin.

A prolific career

It has an extensive catalog of more than 100 works of chamber, vocal and symphonic music, among them Symphony of the Imperial Tarraco (1961), Scenes of children (1961), Suite of the five continents (1969), Intuitive music (1969), Bi-tematic (1970), Diagrams (1972), Ab origine (1974), Ambient n ÷ 1 (1977), Phobos (1978) and Plot (1982).

His repertoire, clearly vitalist, is a synthesis of languages ​​coordinated by a personal style where rhythm and timbre determine its Mediterranean origin

He also made the opera Gaudi, about the great Catalan architect and with libretto by Josep María Carandell, for the Cultural Olympiad of Barcelona. In 2004, this work premiered at the Liceu and was distinguished with the Daniel Montorio Prize of the SGAE. At the request of the Department of State of the United States, he toured the United States and has been a guest artist in the most prestigious musical centers in Europe and America.

Awarded three times with the Ciutat de Barcelona Composition Award (1972,1978 and 1983), he is also in possession of the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1981), National Award of Disco (1982) , Reina Sofía Composition Prize (1983), National Music Prize (1989), the "honoris causa" doctorate of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (1999), the Daniel Montorio Prize of the SGAE (2004) and the Ibero-American Tomás Luis de Victoria (2004).

In 2001, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, he received recognition from the musical world with an album recorded by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, several concerts and the SGAE book "Guinjoan", about the life, work and musical aesthetics of the artist. In 2005, the Barcelona Symphonic Orchestra and National of Catalonia (OBC) recorded a disc with three concerts by Joan Guinjoan titled as the author's name.

The reflections that Guinjoan he made his production in the autobiographical volume Ab originate (1981) show the projection of his numerous works and activities. He was also a music critic in the Journal of Barcelona and divulged the musical culture through television programs (Recital, Pentagrama, Siglo XX) and in numerous conferences.

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