Osvaldo Golijov

Osvaldo Golijov
Birth name Osvaldo Noé Golijov
Born (1960-12-05)December 5, 1960
Mar del Plata, Argentina
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Composer
Website www.osvaldogolijov.com

Osvaldo Noé Golijov (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡolixof]) (born December 5, 1960) is an Argentinian composer of classical music.

Life and career

Golijov was born in and grew up in La Plata, Argentina, in a Jewish family that had emigrated to Argentina from Romania.[1] His mother was a piano teacher, and his father was a physician. He grew up listening to chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the tango of Ástor Piazzolla.[2] He studied piano in La Plata and studied composition with Gerardo Gandini.

In 1983, Golijov moved to Israel, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy. Three years later, he moved to the United States and studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania before receiving his doctorate. In 1991, Golijov joined the faculty of the College of the Holy Cross at Worcester, Massachusetts, and was named Loyola Professor of Music in 2007.[3] For the 2012-13 season, he held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Golijov has been married twice. His first marriage produced three children.[4] He married architect and designer Neri Oxman in 2011.[5]

Golijov's music

Golijov's works reflect his experiences with various types of music. His Romanian Jewish parents exposed him to the traditional Klezmer music and liturgical music of their faith. Growing up in Argentina exposed him to musical styles of that country, including the tango. After traveling abroad, other styles influenced his music.

He composed and arranged works for many chamber music groups, including the Kronos Quartet and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. In 1996, his work Oceana was premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival. He composed La Pasión según San Marcos for the Passion 2000 project in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, to critical acclaim.[6]

Starting in 2000, Golijov composed movie soundtracks for documentaries and other films, including The Man Who Cried, Youth Without Youth, Tetro and Twixt.

He had a long working relationship with soprano Dawn Upshaw, who premiered many of his works and who he called his muse.[7][8] A number of his works were written with her specifically in mind, including Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra and his first opera, Ainadamar.

In 2010, he composed Sidereus for a consortium of 35 American orchestras, to honor Galileo.[9]

Deadline and plagiarism controversy

Golijov has been the nexus of several controversies around his work, including missed deadlines and accusations of plagiarism. He came under scrutiny in 2011 for a series of high-profile commissions that were either delayed or cancelled. A violin concerto written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic was not completed in time, Golijov missed a second deadline the following year in Berlin,[10] and a third delay followed in November 2012, and missed its January 2013 premiere at Disney Hall.[11]

This followed a similar cancellation in 2010, when a scheduled song cycle had to be removed from the program when it was not complete in time.[12] The March 2011 premiere of a new string quartet for the St. Lawrence Quartet was also delayed due to a missed deadline,[13] though the work, Qohelet, was completed later that year and premiered by the quartet in October 2011.

Questions of musical plagiarism were leveled at Golijov after Tom Manoff, a composer and critic, and Brian McWhorter, a trumpeter, alleged that Sidereus consists mainly of music from the Michael Ward-Bergeman composition Barbeich. Alex Ross of The New Yorker reviewed both scores and wrote, "To put it bluntly, 'Sidereus' is 'Barbeich' with additional material attached". Ross did add that Ward-Bergeman was aware of Golijov's borrowings.[14] A consortium of thirty-five orchestras had paid Golijov $75,000 to write a 20-minute work; a fee supplemented by a $50,000 grant approved by the then board of the League of American Orchestras.[15] The final work that Golijov produced and gave to the consortium of orchestras is a 9-minute work. Golijov also used that same musical material in his 2009 composition Radio.[16]

Golijov responded to these questions by explaining that he composed the original musical material jointly with Ward-Bergeman for a film score which in the end did not include the material, and that he used it by agreement with Ward-Bergeman. He cited Monteverdi, Schubert and Mahler as other composers who used existing musical material to create new music.[17]


Some of Golijov's notable works include:[18]

Awards and appointments



Selected discography


  1. Terauds, John (2010-02-25). "Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov follows his intuition". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  2. http://www.laphil.com/philpedia/music/three-songs-for-soprano-and-orchestra-osvaldo-golijov
  3. "Osvaldo Golijov Named Loyola Professor of Music at Holy Cross". Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  4. Beggy, Carol; Shanahan, Mark (2006-10-27). "Newton composer bowls over Bowie". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
  5. "Neri Oxman Is Redesigning the Natural World". Surface Magazine. June 6, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  6. "Osvaldo Golijov's 'St. Mark' Passion finally reaches Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  7. Daniel J Wakin (Spring 2013). "Joyful Noise". College of the Holy Cross Magazine. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  8. Schweitzer, Vivien (17 April 2007). "Singers and Composers in a Stylistic Mix and Match". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  9. Horsley, Paul. "HOMAGE TO HENRY: Orchestras, League commission top composer to honor visionary leader". Kansas City Independent. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  10. "Osvaldo Golijov Violin Concerto delayed again". The Strad. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  11. Ng, David (29 November 2012). "Osvaldo Golijov misses yet another deadline for violin concerto". Los Angeles Times.
  12. "Los Angeles Philharmonic hit by Wave of Cancellations by Artists". Los Angeles Times. 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  13. Kozinn, Allan (2011-03-09). "St. Lawrence String Quartet At Zankel Hall Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  14. Alex Ross (2012-02-21). "The Golijov Issue: Borrowed Music, or Stolen?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  15. Daniel J Wakin (2012-03-07). "Musical Borrowing Under Scrutiny". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  16. David MacDonald on the affair
  17. Weininger, David (2012-03-16). "Longwood gets its turn with 'Sidereus'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  18. Osvaldo Golijov. "Golijov's published list of his own compositions". osvaldogolijov.com. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  19. "Golijov's Yiddishbbuk". ClassicsToday.com. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  20. "Golijov's Yiddishbbuk". ClassicsToday.com. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  21. World Music Central
  22. "Osvaldo Golijov's 'St. Mark' Passion finally reaches Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  23. Kozinn, Allan (20 August 2007). September 2013 "La Pasión según San Marcos; A Work Unbounded By Musical Categories" Check |url= value (help). The New York Times. p. 1.
  24. LA Philharmonic notes
  25. Laura Barnett (2008-04-02). "'I love it when music brings people to blows'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  26. Kozinn, Allan (6 February 2006). "CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEW; Skipping Across the Globe and Through Time". The New York Times. p. 4. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  27. Smith, Steve (31 July 2007). "Concerto Retinkered (for Youthful Soloist)". The New York Times. p. 3.
  28. Wakin, Daniel J. (23 January 2013). "Philharmonic Steals a Page From the Art World With a New-Music Biennial". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  29. Carr, David (19 March 2008). "Anthony Minghella, 54, Director, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  30. Alex Ross (2012-02-21). "The Golijov Issue: Borrowed Music, or Stolen?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  31. "New Music News Wire". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  32. Crebo, Anna (2002-11-01). "Osvaldo Golijov: A busy composer finds it all a little 'scary.'". American Record Guide. Retrieved 2009-02-10.

External links

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