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‘Frontiers of Knowledge Award’ for Sofia Gubaidulina and Prize Winner Concert in Madrid

On 15 June 2017 in Madrid, the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina will receive the ‘Frontiers of Knowledge Award’ of the BBVA Foundation in the category of contemporary music, endowed with 400,000 Euros. Sofia Gubaidulina is the first woman to receive this renowned prize.

In the justification of the Foundation, one can read the following:
“The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music category goes, in this ninth edition, to composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The jury in its citation singles out the ‘outstanding musical and personal qualities’ of the Russian composer, whose works demonstrate ‘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.’ The citation also highlights the ‘spiritual quality’ imbuing Gubaidulina’s work, together with ‘the transformative dimension of her music, ensuring it a broad dissemination beyond conventional audiences for contemporary music.’”

On the occasion of the awards ceremony, there will be a prize winner concert of the BBVA Foundation on the previous day, 14 June 2017, at the Teatro Real in Madrid. The Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi will perform the Spanish premiere of Gubaidulina’s orchestral work “The Light of the End” conducted by Robert Treviño.

Sofia Gubaidulina comments on her work as follows:
“The name of the composition derives from the bright sound of the antique cymbals that bring the coda of this piece to a close. But despite such an optimistic title, the overall sense of the composition is dramatic. The drama is caused by the conflict between the intrinsic character of instruments to produce the sounds of the natural overtone row and the necessity of adapting them to the sounds of 12-tone tempered tuning. For some time I have experienced this conflict as my own drama: The incompatibility, in principle, of these intrinsic qualities with real-life circumstances in which nature is neutralized. Sooner or later, this pain had to be manifested in some composition. The conflict in this piece arises between a theme consisting exclusively of sounds from the natural overtone row and a theme that uses the 12-tone tempered scale... The piece concludes with the removal of [a] dissonance in which the contrasts are resolved.”

“The Light of the End” is a commissioned work by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and received its world premiere on 17 April 2003 at the Boston Symphony Hall under Kurt Masur.

14 June 2017
Teatro Real
Spanish premiere: Sofia Gubaidulina
“The Light of the End” for orchestra
Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi
Robert Treviño (direction)


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