The Basque composer Luis de Pablo, one of the main exponents of the Generation of 51 (New Music), died this Sunday in Madrid at the age of 91, according to sources close to the family cited by various media.
Luis de Pablo, a prolific creator, was an avant-garde composer of serial and random music, and one of the leading representatives of contemporary Spanish music, as well as a National Music Award winner in 1991 and a professor at the Madrid Auditorium.
Belonging to the generation of Spanish composers baptized as Generación del 51, he carried out pioneering work in the dissemination of contemporary cult music in Spain and was the creator of the first electroacoustic music laboratory in Spain
He presided over Juventudes Musicales Españolas (1960-1963), organized the first Biennial of Contemporary Music in Madrid (1964), directed with his group ‘Alea’ the first electronic music laboratory in Spain, and created the first musical work with the IBM computer ( 1966).
Born in Bilbao on January 28, 1930, he started in music when he was just eight years old in Fuenterrabía (Guipúzcoa).
His training, essentially self-taught, was completed in Madrid, and guided by Maurice Ohana, Max Deutsch and others. He graduated in Law, also in Madrid, in 1952.
His first compositions, influenced by Falla, Debussy, Bartók and Mompou, date back to the 50s, and the later study of the compositional technique of Olivier Messiaen, as well as the meditation of ‘Doctor Faust’, by Thomas Mann, transferred him to his early avant-garde works, such as ‘Gargoyles’ (1953), ‘Eucharistic Choir’ (1954), ‘Symphonies’ (1954-66), ‘Inventions’ (1955), ‘Concerto for harpsichord’ (1956) or ‘Sonata for piano’ (1958), among others.
He formed the group ‘Nueva Música’, in Madrid, in 1958, together with the composers Ramón Barce, Alberto Blancafort, Cristobal Halffter, Manuel Moreno-Buendía and Antón García Abril; He appeared in the group ‘Música Abierta’ (1959) in Barcelona, and founded the group ‘Tiempo y Música’, a stage in which he composed ‘Móvil I’ for two pianos.
He was president of Juventudes Musicales Españolas (1960-1963), and in that decade he composed ‘Radial’ for 24 instruments, ‘Book for the pianist’ and ‘Polar’, ‘Prosodia’, ‘Tombeau’, ‘Cesuras’ and ‘Scene’ .
He represented Spain at the Festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music (SIMC) 1967 in Prague, and that year he contracted exclusively with editions Salabert, from Paris.
He taught about his work at the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Argentina, and in 1971 he returned to Spain as professor of Analysis of Contemporary Music at the Madrid Conservatory.
Co-director, together with José Luis Alexanco, of the ‘Encuentros de Arte de Pamplona’ (1972), he was a professor in Buffalo, Albany and New York (USA), Canada and Germany between 1973 and 1975.
He premiered his symphony ‘Tinieblas en el agua’ (1978) in Metz (France), and taught in 1979 at the Swedish Institute for Culture, and in Spanish music courses at the Chigiana Academy of Siena (Italy).
President of the Spanish section of the SIMC since 1981, and artistic advisor to the Lille Festival (1982), in April 1983 he premiered ‘Kiu’, the first of his operas, at the Teatro de la Zarzuela.
1983 Spanish Red Cross Gold Medal, the album ‘The sound of war’ was released for this reason, and that same year he was appointed director of the Center for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music.
His composition ‘Portrait imaginé’ (1974-75), commissioned by the University of Ottawa, was released in October 1984, and somewhat after suffering a heart attack; and that same year he was part of the committee for the project to build the Bastille Opera in Paris.
He was elected a member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in February 1989, replacing the Cádiz composer José Muñoz Molleda.
His opera ‘The indiscreet traveler’, with a text by Vicente Molina Foix, and the first of a trilogy, was premiered in March 1990 at the Teatro de la Zarzuela.
Finalist for the 1990, 1995 and 1996 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, he premiered at the Metz Festival his composition ‘Figura en el mar’ for flute and orchestra, commissioned by the French Government.
Winner of the 1991 National Music Prize, he performed that year his concert ‘Sueños’ for piano and orchestra, in Parma and Bologna. Then he premiered the cantata ‘Antigua Fe’ (1992), based on Mayan and Aztec texts, in the San Isidro Cathedral in Madrid; and two months later ‘Fábula’ for guitar, at the Madrid Auditorium, and inspired by ‘La fabula de X y Z’ by Gerardo Diego.
With the start-up of the renovated Teatro Real, he became part of the Fundación Teatro Lírico in 1995, where he held a position of trustee corresponding to the Ministry of Culture, a position from which he resigned with other trustees in 1996.
He was the author of the music for some 26 films, as emblematic as ‘Crimen de doble filo’ (1964, Borau), ‘De cuerpo presente’ (1965, Eceiza), ‘La Caza’ (1965, Saura), ‘Peppermint Frappé’ (1967, Saura), ‘La Madriguera’ (1969), ‘Los Desafíos’ (1969, Erice),’ The secret intentions’ (1969, Eceiza), ‘The Garden of Delights’ (1970, Saura),’ Ana and the wolves’ (1972, Saura), ‘The Spirit of the Beehive’ (1973, Erice), ‘Pascual Duarte’ (1975, Franco), ‘Queen Carrot’ (1977, Suárez) and ‘To an unknown God’ ( 1977, Chávarri).
Knight of Arts and Letters awarded by the French Government (1973), Luigi Dallapicolla Prize (1979), Official Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters (1986) of the French Government, Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts Spanish Arts (1986), Medal of the city of Rennes (1988), Gold Medal of the city of Lille (1989), 1967 ‘Pueblo’ Daily Popularity Award, 1991 Comúsica Award, 2002 Madrid Community Award and Arthur Honegger 2003 to all of his work.
He was doctor ‘honoris causa’ 1977 by the Complutense University of Madrid.