Gubaidulina, Sofia ( 1931 - today )

Sofia Gubaidulina was born October 24th 1931 in Chistopal, in the Tartar Republic of the USSR. From childhood it was her dream to become a composer and she started her musical studies at the Kazan Conservatory where she graduated in 1954, after having studied piano and composition. She finished her musical education at the Conservatory of Moscow, where she studied with N. Peyko till 1959 and with Shebalin till 1963.

She was awarded with Stalin fellowship, but during her studies her music was seen as irresponsible and unacceptable, due to the exploration of alternative tunings and the combination of unusual instruments. Yet the composer D. Shostakovitch encouraged her to continue exploring the taken path. He would become a friend for the rest of her life.

Sofia Gubaidulina was also allowed to express her modern vision on music in various scores she wrote for documentary films, for the production "On submarine scooters" (a film shot in the unique kinepanorama widescreen format) and she also wrote the score for the Russian animated picture "The adventures of Mowgli", after Kipling's Jungle Book.

In 1975 Gubaidulina founded the Astreja Ensemble, together with V. Soeslin and V. Artjomov. This ensemble is specialised in imporvising with rare Russian, Kaukasian and East-Asian traditional instruments.

In 1979, at the sixth congress of the Union of Soviet Composers, she was put on the black list, as being one of the Khrennikov's seven. This for unapproved participation in festivals of Soviet music in the West and for the outing in her music of her religious intuitions.
From the years 1980 on Sofia Gubaidulina became better known through Gidon Kremer's championing of her violin concerto "Offertorium". Amongst others, she composed an homage to T. S. Elliot, using the text from the poet's "Four Quartets", she wrote "The Johannes-passion" for the Passion 2000 project in commemoration of J. S. Bach. 

In 1992 Sofia Gubaidulina moved to Hamburg, Germany, where she still lives. Nowadays she is seen as the leading lady of the new music of the former Soviet Union. Her music is known for its eastern as well as western influences and is played all over the world.



  • Under the Sign of Scorpio, variations on 6 hexachords for bayan and orchestra
  • Galgenlider à 5 14 pieces for mezzo-soprano, flute, percussion, bayan and contrabass
  • Sieben Worte for cello, bayan and strings
  • Silenzio for bayan, violon and cello
  • Tartarische Tanz, for bayan and 2 contrabass
  • In Croce, for bayan and cello
  • De profundis, for bayan
  • Et Expecto Sonate, for bayan
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