Benet
Casablancas Domingo
Benet, Casablancas Domingo
Biography
BENET CASABLANCAS (Sabadell, Barcelona, 1956)
'PREMIO NACIONAL DE MÚSICA 2013'


Born in Sabadell (Barcelona) in 1956, Benet Casablancas is one of the leading spanish composers of his generation. He studied in Barcelona and Vienna, where he worked with, among others, Friedrich Cerha and Karl-Heinz Füssl. He also has a degree in philosophy and a PhD in musicology, both from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Courses with C. Halffter, G. Ligeti, E. Carter, M. Kagel, G. Benjamin and M. Lindberg. His works, distinguished with numerous commissions and awards (Ciudad de Barcelona, Musician's Accord of New York, Fundación Juan March of Madrid, Spanish National Recording Prize, Composer's Arena of Amsterdam, Oscar Esplá, Ferran Sors, ISCM Festival, etc.), have been performed around Europe, Canada, the USA and South America, by prestigious soloists, ensembles and conductors (London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Arditti Quartet, Ensemble 13 of Baden-Baden, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Notabu of Düsseldorf, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Perspectives Ensemble New York, Seattle Chamber Players, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Trio à cordes de Paris, Grupo Encuentros de Buenos Aires, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Ensemble Modern Academie, Ensemble Reconsil Wien, Trio à cordes of Paris, Ensemble 88 Maastricht, Ensemble Insomnio of Utrecht, Leipziger Streichquartett, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Kammerphilarmonie Bremen, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre National de Belgique, Hermitage de San Petersburgo, Symfoni Orkester Malmö, National Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Netherlands, Spanish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Barcelona and Catalonia, the Symphony Orchestras of Galicia, Granada, Tenerife, Comunidad de Madrid and Spanish Radio and Television, Spanish National Youth Orchestra, Gran Canaria Philharmonic, Trio Arbós, Proyecto Gerhard, Ensemble Reconsil Wien, Damocles Trio New York, Brouwer Trio, Trio Kandinsky, V. Jurowski, O. Knussen, J. Pons, V. Petrenko, L. Foster, F.-P. Decker, T. Weiss, G. Ben-Dor, M.A. Schlingensiepen, A. Leaper, M. Reichert, U. Pöhl, E. Micic, B. Güeller, R. Gimeno, A. Terzian, M. Scwierzewski, A. Ros-Marbà, J. López Cobos, E. Colomer, A. Posada, A. Gil-Ordóñez, F. Ollu, C. Rundell, A. Soriano, J.R. Encinar, etc.). His work 'The Dark Backward of Time', for orchestra, has been finalist of the Prix de Composition Prince Pierre de Monaco 2007.

Early on in his career he began combining composition with teaching and research. An advisor for different institutions and patron of several foundations, he has published numerous historical and analytical articles (in The New Grove, Arietta, Quodlibet) and the celebrated book El Humor en la Música (Reichenberger, 2000). He has been head of theory and composition at a number of Spanish conservatories, educational director of the Catalan National Youth Orchestra (JONC) and associate professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona. He has also been a frequent member of the jury of several European composing and performing competitions and kept up a busy agenda as a guest professor at several international schools. Currently, he continues to work closely with the Courses of Musical Specialization of the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Spain). In 2002 he assumed the direction of the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo (Barcelona), a post he now combines with his work in composition and research. He is regularly invited as lecturer holding composition seminars in New York, Vienna, München, Apeldoorn, Buenos Aires, Bruxelles, Tokyo, Malmö, Saint Petersburg, Cairo, etc.

His wide-ranging oeuvre, covering the most diverse genres and formats, is marked by a quest for radical personal and aesthetic independence. The critics have highlighted his concern for balancing constructional rigour and expressive strength, dramatic character and whimsical register, in the framework of a discourse in which coexist a progressively luminous harmonic language, rhythmic spirit, a growing timbral differentiation and instrumental virtuosism. Between his most acclaimed works: 'Seven Scenes from Hamlet', for reciter and chamber orchestra, the serie of 'Epigrams', for different formations, from piano solo to symphony orchestra ('Seven Epigrams', for piano, 'Epigrams', for six players, 'New Epigrams' for chamber orchestra and 'Three Epigrams', for orchestra), 'Little Night Music' and 'Celebration', for chamber ensemble, diverse 'Haikus' for piano solo and small groups, and orchestral pieces as 'Postludio', 'The Dark Backward of Time' and 'Alter Klang. Impromptu for large orchestra'. His works have been played in recent years with great succes in all Europe and America: London, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Oberlin (Ohio), St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Bruxelles, Weimar, Strassbourg, Lancaster, Varsovia, Lisboa, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lausanne, Lima, Malmö, Napoles, Minks, Kishinev, Karlsruhe, Génève, Bolonia, Lubljana, Vilnius, etc.

In 2007 he received the National Prize of Music of the Generalitat of Catalunya, which is the highest honour that the government of his country awards in this cultural field.

The works of Benet Casablancas appear on the NAXOS (Complete Piano, Chamber and Orchestral, 4 CDs), Stradivarius (Chamber and Orchestral Music), Anemos (Late Orchestral Music), Tritó (Complete String Quartets by Arditti Quartet), Emec and Verso (The Chamber Concerts) labels. Among the past commissions and performances we may mention collaborations with BBC Symphony Orchestra (2008, 24th october, London, Barbicane), National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (2009, january), tournée in Holland and Belgium, including Amsterdam Concertgebouwn, Utrecht, Bruxelles, Gant), Ensemble BCN 216 (2008, 9th April, Vienna, Musikverein, II Festival 'Spanien Modern'), Malmö Symfoni Orkester (Sweden), Plural Ensemble (Köln, Germany) and Trio Arbós (Istambul), Trio Kandinsky (Tokio), London Sinfonietta (Madrid and Barcelona) and further collaborations with the Nomade Ensemble Japan (2010), Deutsches Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Tokyo Sinfonietta (2011) and Perpectives Ensemble New York, BCMG de Birmingham, Chamber Orchestra of Munic y London Philharmonic Orchestra (2012).

He has been appointed Composer in Residence of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (2013-2015).

In novembre 2013 was distingued with the Spanish National Music Prize 2013 awarded by the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deportes for 'the intellectual maturity of Casablancas's works, the diversity of genres mastered by him and the international impact of his works'.

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BIO CLIP

BENET CASABLANCAS
(Born 2 April 1956 Sabadell, España)

Benet Casablancas studied in Barcelona and at the Vienna Academy of Music with Friedrich Cerha and Karl Heinz Füssl, and he graduated in Philosophy in Universidad Atonoma de Barcelona (1982). He has also a PhD in musicology. His music, firmly rooted in the great modernist tradition, is notable for its great individuality, structural complexity and extraordinary richness of textural detail. Rooted in the formal techniques of serialism, in the 1990s he became more concerned with harmony and texture. His wide-ranging oeuvre covers the most diverse genres and formats, increasingly drawn towards the orchestral field. Critics have highlighted his concern for balancing constructional rigour and expressive strength, dramatic character and whimsical register, in the framework of a discourse in which coexist a progressively luminous harmonic language, rhythmic spirit, timbral differentiation and instrumental virtuosism. He has received many awards: Premio Nacional Disco Ministerio de Cultura de España, Premio Nacional de Música de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Premio Ciudad de Barcelona, Composer's Arena Amsterdam (Gaudeamus), Musiciens's Accord New York, Premios Ferran Sors, Oscar Esplá, Jeunesses Musicales, etc. In 2002 he was appointed Academic Director of the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo in Barcelona. His music has been presented at the most important international festivals: Holland Festival Amsterdam, Musica Strasbourg, ISCM World Music Days Vilnius, Biennale Düsseldorf, Spanien Modern Wien, Theatre Miller New York, Atempo Caracas, Weimar, Bruxelles, Antwerpen, London Barbican Hall, Paris, Lausanne, St. Petersburg, Warzawa, Montréal, München, Vancouver, Bolonia, Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Malmö, Lima, Rotterdam, Tokio, Frankfurt, Napoles, etc. Recent commissions include: Miller Theater New York, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Cantus Croatia (Zagreb Biennale) and Ensemble 88 Maastricht.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

1982 Graduated in Music and Philosophy. Moves to Vienna to study with Friedrich Cerha
1990 Begins the 'Epigrams' collection, that marks a decisive point for his musical language
2000 Doctorate in Musicology by the UAB. He publishes the book 'El Humor en la Música'
2002 Academic Director of the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo
2007 National Music Prize of the Generalitat de Catalunya
2008 Diverse 'Composers Portraits' in Vienna's Musikverein. Madrid and Barcelona. The 'New Epigrams' represented Spain in the ISCM World Music Days of Vilnius and the BBC Symphony Orchestra plays in London the UK Prémiere of 'Seven Scenes from Hamlet'
2009 Holland, Sweden, Belgium and Spain Prémières of 'Alter Klang. Impromptu for orchestra after Klee'. World Prémière of his 'String Quartet nr. 3' by Arditti Quartet. Recording of his complete works for strings. He publishes two more monographic CDs (Chamber and Orchestra) in NAXOS.
2010 'Composer Portrait' in Theatre Miller at Columbia University New York. New commissions from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Zagreb Biennal 2011. He begins working on the operas 'Io' (prémière prev.: season 2012-2013) and 'Kwaidan' (on three japanese ghostly tales)




PERFORMERS AND FESTIVALS
Orchestras, Ensembles, Chamber Groups, Conductors, Festivals
-selection-

Orchestras

Orquesta Nacional de España (ONE)
Orquesta de la Radio Televisión Española (RTVE)
Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya
Joven Orquesta Nacional de España (JONDE)
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia
Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife
Orquesta Ciudad de Granada
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid
Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León
Orquesta Sinfónica de las Baleares (Mallorca)
Filarmonia de Galicia
Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria
Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
Malmö Symfoni Orkester (Sweden)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands
Orquesta Nacional de Bielorrúsia (Minsk)
Haydn Jeugd Strijkorkest de Groningen
Orquesta Pablo Sarasate de Pamplona
Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès

Ensembles

Ensemble 13 Baden Baden
The London Sinfonietta
Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal
Notabu Ensemble Neue Musik Düsseldorf
Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure
Ensemble Modern Akademie Frankfurt
Stichting Insomnio Utrecht
Contemporary Music Ensemble Oberlin (Ohio, USA)
Chamber Orchestra L'Hermitage St. Petersburg
Grupo KOAN
Barcelona 216
Proyecto Gerhard
Diabolus in Musica
Grup Instrumental de Valencia
Orquesta de Cámara Andrés Segovia
Reconsil Wien
Ensemble 88 Maastricht
Plural Ensemble Madrid
Modus Novus
Grup Barcelona XXI
Perspectives Ensemble New York

Chamber Groups

Arditti Quartet
Leipziger Streichquartett
Euler Quartet Zurich
Ensemble Musician's Accord New York
Euridice Quartet Amsterdam
Trio à cordes de Paris
Composer's Arena Amsterdam
Damocles Trio New York
Utrecht String Quartet
Solar Vortices
Trio Arbós
Tio Kandinsky
Grupo Manon
Grupo L.I.M. Madrid
Ars Poetica Kishinev
Trio de Barcelona
Brouwer Trio

Conductors

Manfred Reichert
Antoni Ros-Marbà
Josep Pons
José Ramón Encinar
M. A. Schlingensiepen
Franz Paul Decker
Bernhard Güller
Lawrence Foster
Vassily Petrenko
Salvador Mas
Jesús López Cobos
Michel Scwiercevski
Adrian Leaper
Horia Andreescu
Enrique García Asensio
Edmon Colomer
Oleg Palymswki
Gisèle Ben-Dor
Alejandro Posada
Tymothy Weiss
Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Joan Cerveró
Fabián Panisello
José Luis Temes
Gloria Isabel Ramos
Manuel Valdivieso
Santiago Serrate
Roland Freisitzer
José Luis Temes
Nacho de Paz
Ulrich Pöhl
Alexis Soriano
Frank Ollu
Ángel Gil-Ordoñez
Jordi Mora
Juan José Olives
Salvador Brotons

Festivals

Holland Festival Amsterdam
Festival 'Musica' Strasbourg
Festival Internacional de Música de Barcelona
Festival Ville de Genève (Pro Helvetia)
Ciclo de Cámara y Polifonia (Madrid)
Die Biennale für Neue Musik in Düsseldorf ('Ohren auf Europa')
Tribunas de la Fundación Juan March (Madrid)
Stockholm Catalonian Festival
Festival de Teatro Clásico de Almagro
'Spanish Evenings' in St. Petersburg
Weimar Festwochen
Música Hispano-Americana de México
Settimana Musicale di Bolonia
'Conferenza mediterranea sulle attività musicali La Musica in Catalogna e Sicilia'
'Música de Hoy' (Proyecto Gerhard de Madrid)
Cultur Gest Lisboa
Festival de Música Contemporánea de Alicante
Festival A Tempo de Caracas (Venezuela)
Festival Internacional de Música Clásica Contemporánea de Lima (Perú)
Simposium 'Exalted the New, In Love with the Old' (New York)
Katalonien Musik Festival Frankfurt
The Days of New Music Kishinev (ICMS)
Ciclo Solistas de la ORCAM de Madrid (Fundación Canal)
Fêtes musicales de Bulle (Switzerland)
Jornadas de Música Contemporánea de Sevilla y Granada
'Spanien Modern' Wien
Festival de Música del Mediterráneo de Estambul
Festival 'Nous Sons' de Barcelona
Ciclo de Música Catalana-Iberoamericana de Tarragona
Festival Internacional de Música Contemporània de San Salvador
Festival ENSEMS de Valencia
Encontre de Compositors de Ciutat de Mallorca
Festival 'Encuentros' Buenos Aires
Festival de Música del Siglo XX de León
Jornadas de Música Contemporánea de Segovia
Festival Internacional de Música de Torroella
THE NEW GROVE'S
Casablancas (Domingo), Benet

(b Sabadell, 2 April 1956). Spanish composer. He studied music at the Barcelona Conservatory (1973–80) and philosophy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (graduated 1980; Doctorate 2000). His lessons with Josep Soler and Antoni Ros-Marbà (1974) influenced his early work, whose main features are instrumental textures based on melodic procedures that may be Expressionist in nature – 12-note in some of his most recent works – or contrastingly exhibit Webernian pointillism. The second period began after his studies with Cerha and Füssl in the Vienna Hochschule (1982), studies that have been the major influence on his later development. This influence can already be noted in his Cinc interludis (1983) for string quartet, and is seen in a dramatic change in his forms of expression, which are, nevertheless, an accentuation of certain elements found in his first period: a greater complexity in the writing, a delicacy, and the search for an extreme expressive subtlety. This new character was to develop in the direction of a greater expressive diversity, which is reflected especially in orchestral works such as Postludi (1991). Here, one of the main characteristics of his music stands out: structural richness starting from the complex superposition of vertical elements. Thus in Set escenes de Hamlet (1988–9), a progression is begun which starts from a melodic gesture, Bergian in character, and culminates in the brilliant instrumental virtuosity of New Epigrams (1997), where the structural complexity of the sound material has been condensed into simpler elements, including homophony, strong harmonic colouring and the circular repetition of motifs.

WORKS

Dramatic: Música per a un film (film score, M. Muntaner), 1979; Inquisición (incid music, F. Arrabal), 1980; Música d'un ballet, 1980; La mei, del costat de l'erola (ballet), 1981; Freaks (incid music), 1983; Sergi Aguilar (film score, P. Poch), 1983; 7 escenes de Hamlet (W. Shakespeare), spkr, chbr orch, 1988–9; Señales de Septiembre (film score, J.M. Espinás), 1989
Orch: 4 fragments, str, 1977, rev. 1981: Exèquies, 1977; Elegía en 3 moviments, 1987; 5 piezas, 1988; 3 piezas, orch, 1988; Adagio, 1990; Postludi, 1991; New Epigrams, chbr orch, 1997
Vocal: 3 poemes eròtics (M. Martí i Pol, V.A. Estellés, F. Parcerisas), Tr, orch, 1980–81; Poema (E.A. Poe), Mez, orch, 1982; The Lake: to —, Mez, pf, 1982; D'humanal fragment (J.R. Bach), Mez, str qt, 1982; És per la ment (J.V. Foix), T, pf, 1993; Jo tem la nit … (Foix), chorus, 1995; Ja és hora que se sàpiga (J. Oliver), S, pf, 1999
Chbr: Inflexió trièdica i gratuïta, fl, cl, pf, 1975; 3 poemes sencills, 2 gui, 1976–80; Aria, fl, pf, 1977; Concert, a sax, fl, b cl, tpt, trbn, 1977; Harmonies banals, gui, pf, perc, 1978; Peça breu, 3 vc, 1978; Naturalesa morta (Estudi en blau i negre), fl, cl, gui, pf, perc, vn, vc, 1978; Quartet sense nom, fl, cl, va, vc, 1979; 5 interludis, str, qt, 1983; Moviment per a trio, vn, vc, pf, 1984; 3 peces per a grup instrumental, fl + pic, ob, cl, bn, pf, vn, va, vc, db, 1986–8; Epigrames, fl, cl, pf, vn, perc, 1990; Impromptu (Trio no.2), vn, vc, pf, 1991; Str Qt no.2, 1991; Str Trio, 1992; Petita música nocturna, fl, cl, pf, hp, perc, 1992; Encore (hoja de álbum), vn, pf, 1992; Cant per a Frederic Mompou (Remembrança), vc, pf, 1993; Poema [arr. de És per la ment], va/cl, pf, 1993; Introducción, cadenza y aria, vn, cl, vc, pf, 1993; A modo di passacaglia, fl, cl + basset hn, hp, pf, db, 1994
Solo inst: 2 apunts, pf, 1976; Preludi i fuga, C, pf, 1976; 2 peces, pf, 1978; Adagi i Toccata, clvd, 1978; 4 peces, gui, 1978; Peça pera viola, va, 1980; 3 peces, pf, 1986; Fulla d'àlbum (Variación sobre un tema de F. Schubert), pf, 1993; Come un recitativo, pf, 1995; Aforisme, gui, 1996; Tríptic, vc, 1996

WRITINGS

‘La situació actual de la composició musical a Catalunya', Recerca musicológica, ii (Barcelona, 1982), 81–124
‘Die Aufnahme der Wiener Schule in Katalonien und ihr Einfluss auf katalanische Komponisten', Anton Webern 1883–1983: eine Festschrift zum hundertsten Geburtstag; ed. E. Hilmar (Vienna, 1984)
‘Dodecafonismo y serialismo en España', España en la música de occidente: Salamanca 1985, ii, 413–32
‘Apuntes provisionales para una poética personal', Composición musical I: Valencia, 1988
‘Arnold Schoenberg: Vienna 13/9/1874 – Los Angeles 13/7/1951', L'Aven, no.119, (1992)
with J. Casanovas: Cristòfor Taltabull (Barcelona, 1992)
‘Notes esparses', Música a Catalunya I: Barcelona 1994
‘Las tonalidades y su significado: una approximación', Quodlibet, no.2 (1995), 3–18
‘Quietud y trance: en torno a la última sonata para piano de F. Schubert', Quodlibet, no.7 (1997)
El Humor en la Música. Broma, parodia e ironía (Reichenberger, Kassel, 2000)
Introducción al análisis formal: principios y aplicaciones (Berlin, forthcoming)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

M.C. de Celis: ‘Benet Casablancas, la música como satisfacción de expectativas', Bellas artes 77, no.625 (1977)
J. Cervelló: ‘Benet Casablancas, un compositor, español en alza', Jano medicina y humanidades, no.573 (1983)
J. Cuscó: ‘Semblança de Benet Casablancas i Domingo', Quadern de les Amics de les Arts i les Lletres de Sabadell, no.70 (1989)
V. Estapé: ‘Benet Casablancas: Quartet de corda', XII Festival Internacional de Música de Granollers (1991) [programme notes]
A. Medina: ‘Benet Casablancas', Diccionario de la Música Hispano-Americana (Madrid, 2000)

by AGUSTÍN CHARLES
Contact
The composer can be contacted by:
PERSONAL CONTACT : bcasabla@xtec.cat

CONSERVATORI SUPERIOR DE MÚSICA DEL LICEU : bcasablancas@conservatori-liceu.es

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