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Sofia Gubaidulina Honorary Doctor at the University of Chicago

During the course of formal ceremony, Sofia Gubaidulina was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago on 11 June 2011 together with scientists from Beijing, Chicago and Princeton. The laudation was held by Shulamit Ran, Pulitzer Prize winner and Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. Thus a personality from the area of composition was awarded an honorary doctorate for the first time in the history of the University. In the nomination justification, it said:

„Gubaidulina is a woman of powerful ideas and discoveries who has explored old material and created new material with the combination of critical reflection and technical virtuosity necessary to all work of tremendous originality and import. Together with many intangibles, these qualities have enabled Gubaidulina to make one breakthrough after another, the most significant of which are her unmistakable voice, her embrace of both modernism’s early structural and musical gains and her own, highly personal tonal language, the rigorous rhythmic grounding her compositions possess combined with her unerring instinct for the dramaturgical that lend to the power of her music, and Gubaidulina’s instinct for pitch and time, which have the laser-beamed surety and keen intuition of a Nobel physicist.”

In honour of the composer, the music faculty of the University organised a chamber music concert on the previous day at which members of the Ensemble Contempo performed Gubaidulina's Chaconne for piano, "In croce" for violoncello and bayan as well as "Garden of Joys and Sadnesses" for flute, viola and harp. In February 2012, the Ensemble Contempo will present the world premiere in Chicago of Sofia Gubaidulina's "A Pilgrimage of Four" for violin, piano, percussion and double bass, a work commissioned by the Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation and the Ensemble Contempo.


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