Sofia Gubaidulina
Photo: Remy Franck

The 55th ‘Biennale di Venezia’ today awards the Tatar composer Sofia Gubaidulina the ‘Golden Lion’ for her life’s work. The ceremonial presentation takes place at the Teatro alle Tese. Following the presentation, in honour of the composer, the Italian premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina`s percussion concerto ‘Glorious Percussion’ will be given with ‘Les Percussions de Strasbourg’ and the Orchestra de ‘La Fenice’.

In previous years, the prize has been awarded to the following personalities of international musical life: Goffredo Petrassi (1994), Luciano Berio (1995), Friedrich Cerha (2006), Giacomo Manzoni (2007), Helmut Lachenmann (2008), György Kurtág (2009), Wolfgang Rihm (2010), Peter Eötvös (2011) and Pierre Boulez (2012).

The director of the ‘Biennala di Venezia’, Ivan Fedele, states the following in the explanatory statement: « The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement awarded to Sofia Gubaidulina acknowledges the outstanding artistic and human value of a woman who, because of her non-conformist aesthetic choices, has always had to struggle against the political power of the USSR which did not hesitate to define her music as ‘irresponsible’. Nevertheless, she was able to count on the support and patronage of Dmitri Shostakovich, who encouraged her to continue down what had been defined as a ‘mistaken path’. In 1979, she was blacklisted by the VI Congress of the Composers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics because of her membership in a group of dissident musicians and her participation in festivals that had been condemned by the regime. Despite these enormous difficulties, Sofia Gubaidulina continued to express herself with extreme coherence and freedom, offering the entire world pages of highly inspired music permeated by a spirituality that is both delicate and incandescent, and has brought her fame and admiration around the world. »

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