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София Асгатовна Губайдулина

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Biography

Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina, (Russian София Асгатовна Губайдулина) (born 24 October 1931) is a Russian-Tatar composer of deeply religious music.

Gubaidulina was born in Chistopol, in the Tatar Republic. In her youth she would spend much time praying in the fields near her home that she may one day become a composer. She studied composition and piano at the Kazan Conservatory, graduating in 1954. In Moscow she undertook further studies at the Conservatory with Nikolay Peyko until 1959, and then with Shebalin until 1963.

During her studies in Soviet Russia, her music was labeled “irresponsible” for its exploration of alternate tunings. She was supported, however, by Dmitri Shostakovich, who in evaluating her final examination encouraged her to continue down her “mistaken path”.

In the mid-1970s Gubaidulina founded Astreja, a folk-instrument improvisation group with fellow composers Victor Suslin and Vyacheslav Artyomov.

In the early 1980s Gubaidulina became better known abroad through Gidon Kremer’s championing of her violin concerto Offertorium. She later composed a homage to T. S. Eliot, using the text from the poet’s spiritual masterpiece Four Quartets.

In 2000 Sofia Gubaidulina, along with Tan Dun, Osvaldo Golijov, and Wolfgang Rihm, was commissioned by the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart project to write a piece for the Passion 2000 project in commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach. Her contribution was the Johannes-Passion.

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