Please choose a language:


Sofia Gubaidulina


Sofia Gubaidulina was born in the city of Chistopol in the Tatar Autonomous Republic into a Tatar-Russian family. Her father, Asgat Masgudovich Gubaidulin, was an engineering geodesist. Her mother, Fedossija Fedorowna Gubaidulina, née Yelchova, was a teacher. The grandfather, Masgud Gubaidulin, was a mullah. Gubaidulina herself professed the Russian Orthodox faith; she was baptised Russian Orthodox in March 1970.

In 1932, the family moved to Kazan. Gubaidulina studied composition and piano at the Kazan Conservatory with Grigori Kogan, among others, and after graduating in 1954 continued her studies in Moscow until 1963. As a student, she was awarded a Stalin scholarship. During these studies, her music was described as "oblivious to duty", but Dmitri Shostakovich encouraged her to continue her "aberration".
In the mid-1970s, Gubaidulina and composers Viktor Suslin and Vyacheslav Artyomov founded the Ensemble Astreya, which improvised on instruments of Russian folk music. In the 1960s and 1970s, their works were banned in the Soviet Union because their music did not conform to the ideas of Socialist Realism.
Her success in the West was mainly supported by the violinist Gidon Kremer (later also by Reinbert de Leeuw), who premiered her first violin concerto Offertorium in 1981. Since then, Sofia Gubaidulina has joined Alfred Schnittke and Edisson Denissov as one of Russia's leading composers of the post-Shostakovich era, recognised worldwide.
In 2000, Gubaidulina, together with Tan Dun, Osvaldo Golijov and Wolfgang Rihm, received a commission from the International Bach Academy Stuttgart to compose for the Passion 2000 project (in memory of J. S. Bach). Their contribution was a St John Passion. The composition Johannes-Ostern followed in 2002. Both works form a diptych on the death and resurrection of Christ; Gubaidulina's most extensive work to date. The 2nd violin concerto In tempus praesens is dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter. In 2003, at the invitation of Walter Fink, she was the first woman to perform at the Rheingau Music Festival's annual composer portrait.
Sofia Gubaidulina has lived in Germany since 1992. She is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm, as well as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990 she was appointed a member of the Lenin Awards Committee. In 1999, she was inducted into the Order Pour le Mérite. Since 2001, she has been an honorary professor at the Kazan Conservatory, and since 2005 at the Beijing and Tianjin Conservatories.
In 2018, she was appointed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars annually.

David Geringas writes that her music stands for the "connection between the rational and the irrational", which are not only juxtaposed, but are often one and the same at the same moment. In this respect, her music resembles that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Works recorded by AEOLUS:

Hell und Dunkel