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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Music EN (new)


Sofia Gubaidulina

Thursday, October 3, Sala delle Colonne, 4:30 pm
Sala delle Colonne
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
at the attendance of Giangiorgio Satragni
Biennale di Venezia President Paolo Baratta and Biennale Music director Ivan Fedele will be present
a toast will follow


Friday, October 4, Teatro alle Tese, 8:00 pm
Award ceremony
The Golden Lion for lifetime achievement will be awarded to Sofia Gubaidulina in recognition of her high artistic and human value. Because of her nonconformist aesthetic choices, Gubaidulina had to continually struggle against the political power of the USSR who did not hesitate to define her music 'irresponsible'. Despite this label, she was supported and backed by Dmitri Shostakovich, who encouraged her to continue on what some called a ‘bad road’. In 1979 the Sixth Congress of the Union of Soviet Composers blacklisted her for belonging to a group of dissidents and musicians who participated in some festivals disapproved of by the regime. Despite these enormous difficulties, Sofia Gubaidulina has continued to express herself with great consistency and freedom by offering the world inspired compositions imbued with a delicate and glowing spirituality that have made them known and loved throughout the world.
Gubaidulina has performed at the Music Festival of la Biennale di Venezia since the late 1970s, when she began her international career: the first piece played was Rumore e silenzio for harpsichord and percussion (1977, Biennale of dissent); other pieces, also in their Italian premiere, have been Five Etudes for harp, double bass and percussion (1979, International Festival of Contemporary Music), Das Fest ist in vollem Gang for cello and orchestra (1995, International Festival of Contemporary Music) and Fachwerk for bayan, string orchestra and percussion, presented at the last Festival.
In the past this recognition for music has been awarded to Goffredo Petrassi (1994), Luciano Berio (1995), Friedrich Cerha (2006), Giacomo Manzoni (2007), (2008) Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág (2009), Wolfgang Rihm (2010), Peter Eötvös (2011) and Pierre Boulez (2012).
Biographical notes
Sofia Gubaidulina (Chistopol – Russia, 1931) graduated from Kazan Conservatory in 1954 in composition and piano studies with Grigory Kogan. She furthered her studies in composition until 1959 at the Moscow Conservatory with Nikolai Peiko, Shostakovich’s assistant, specializing under the supervision of Vissarion Shebalin.
She began composing in 1963. In 1975 she founded with Viktor Suslin and Vyacheslav Artyomov the Astreya Ensemble, which specialized in improvising on Russian, Caucasian, Central Asian and East Asian folk and ritual instruments. Her creations have been performed extensively in Western countries since the early 1980s, as a result of the support and encouragement given to her by violinist Gidon Kremer. Among the numerous institutions and festivals that have commissioned works, some of the most outstanding include: BBC, the Berlin Film Festival, the Library of Congress and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1992 Gubaidulina moved to Germany and currently lives near Hamburg.
Gubaidulina is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, and the Royal Music Academy of Stockholm. She has received numerous prizes and awards: the Rome International Composer’s Competition in 1974, the Prix de Monaco in 1987, the Koussevitzky International Record Award in 1989 and 1994 for the recording of her violin concerto Offertorium of her symphony Stimmen ... verstummen ..., the Franco Abbiati Prize in 1991, the Heidelberger Künstlerinnenpreis in 1991 and the Russian State Prize in 1992, the Ludwig Spohr Prize of the City of Brunswick in 1995, the Japanese Praemium Imperiale in 1998, the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation Award in Denmark in 1999, the Stockholm Concert Hall Foundation’s Honorary Medal in Gold in 2000, the Goethe Medal of the City of Weimar in 2001, the Polar Music Prize in 2002, the Cannes Classical Award in 2003.