Spanish/American composer Elisenda Fábregas (b. 1955, Terrassa, Catalonia) has been praised for writing with an “imaginatively colored … idiom” (The New York Times) and for possessing an “individuality [which] shows through in yearning dissonances, quirky juxtapositions of thematic material and a pervasive sensuality not unlike that of her native Barcelona” (San Antonio Express News). Fabregas’s music has been described as “complex and haunting” (The Washington Post) with abundant “expressive long lines and gorgeous lyricism” (NATS Journal), and for having “an emotionally compelling aura” (The New Mexican News) and a “marvelous sense of progression and development” (American Music Teacher Magazine). In occasion of winning the MTNA Shepherd Distinguished Composer Award in the year 2000, the American Teacher Magazine praised Fábregas for writing with a unique perspective comparing her to the “The Man with a Blue Guitar” (1937) in the Wallace Stevens’s poem: “Fabregas is one gifted with a blue guitar. Her tunes are beyond us, yet ourselves. Indeed they are tunes of things exactly as they are.” Fábregas music covers a wide range of states, from “dreamlike images … and illusive rhythms and harmonies that permeate misty settings” [as in the piano solo ‘Hommage a Mozart,‘] to music described as “notable in its sturdy and arresting generative themes” with “motoric, muscular, exciting fast movements” (San Antonio Express News.)
In the last five years, Elisenda has focused her energies on writing for orchestra. Accents Catalans (2016) for orchestra, commissioned by the Bucheon Philharmonic and premiered by maestro Youngmin Park at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall as part of the Orchestra Festival at SAC on April 10 of 2016; an additional performance took place at Bucheon’s Citizen Hall in Bucheon, South Korea, on September 30, 2016. Elisenda’s working relationship with the Bucheon Philharmonic continues with a new commission to write an orchestral song cycle, Somnis desperts, based on Catalan poetry by J.V. Foix.
Other highlight concerts in South Korea included multiple performances of Mirage for piano by award-winning pianist Mijung Im, in her South Korean tour, with a final concert at the IBK Hall of the Seoul Arts Center on March 23, 2016.
In Barcelona, Tiempo de amor for tenor, soprano and piano, was recorded in December 2016 for Mundo Arts Records on CD ‘Amb veu de dona’ by soprano Patricia Caicedo. Ms. Caicedo commissioned this work for the Barcelona Festival of Song and was premiered at Caixa Forum in Barcelona on June 25, 2015. Patricia performed this work recently at University of California Riverside, and at Biblioteca de Catalunya. Other performances in Barcelona include Wandering spirit for violin & piano presented multiple times, with a highlight concert at the MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya), Barcelona, by Heriberto Fonseca, violin, and Keiko Ueno, piano on July 2, 2016.
In February 2015, Trio Nova Mundi commissioned and premiered Elisenda’s Triple Concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra with Atlanta Community Orchestra. In February of 2014, the Banda Municipal de Barcelona also commissioned and premiered her Symphony No. 1 for Symphonic Band at ‘L’Auditori’ Sala Pau Casals in Barcelona, under the direction of maestro Youngmin Park. Symphony #1 will be recorded for an upcoming CD this June in Barcelona. In 2011, Terra Mater for Symphony Orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the Wonju Philharmonic with maestro Young-Min Park. While in Seoul, Fábregas’s has received commissions to write works for large mixed ensembles. Caminos del duende for marimba and percussion was commissioned and premiered by “4Plus Percussion Ensemble” at the Seoul Arts Center with an additional performance at the 2012 ‘International Percussion Festival of Seoul’; and Retorn a la terra for mixed ensemble and narrator, was commissioned and premiered by Unai Urrecho and the Virtuoso Ensemble at the Dong Tan Art Center of Hwaseong in 2012. Fábregas’ chamber music continues to enjoy many performances. In September of 2014, her Sonata for flute and piano was performed by flutist Roberto Alvarez at the Esplanade Concerts in Singapore, and at the 2013 Australian Flute Festival. Other recent highlights include two performances of Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano at the Vox Novus/New York Women Composers Collaborative Concerts in New York city; the premiere performance of Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello & piano in the African continent by the Nova Mundi Trio, receiving seven performances in Johannesburg, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; and the premiere performance of Voces de mi tierra in Australia at “Encuentro Españoles” of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Another Spanish-influenced work, Goyescas for flute, viola and piano, was performed by Roberto Alvarez, flute, and other members of the Singapore Philharmonic at their Chamber Music Series in 2013.
Elisenda Fábregas‘ music has been widely performed throughout the world, including The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.; Merkin Concert Hall and Joyce Theater in New York City; Bargemusic in Brooklyn; the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; the Tapiola Sinfonietta Concert Series in Finland; International Music Festival of Sitges (“Concerts de Mitjanit”) in Spain; Musical Festival of the Hamptons (NY); Embassy Series (Washington D.C.);Seoul Arts Center Recital Hall , Seoul; Lansing Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Michigan; Cactus Pear Music Festival (Texas); KWCMS Chamber Music Series in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada; Land’s End Chamber Music Society of Calgary, Canada ; the Bodensee International Music Festival and Sanssouci Musikfestpiele in Potsdam, Germany; United Nations Conference in Beijing, China; La Salle Cortot, Paris; Ibero American Institute in Berlin; and WDR Cologne Radio (“Nachtmusik” live). Her compositions are published by Alphonse Leduc & Cie. (Paris), Friedrich Hofmeister Musick Verlag (Germany), Southern Music Co., and Hidden Oaks Music Co.; her music is recorded on Haenssler Records, Albany Records, Centaur Records, NCA (New Classical Adventure), and Leonarda Productions. She has been commissioned by the San Antonio International Piano Competition, Texas Music Teachers Association, Dale Warland Singers, Maria Benitez Spanish Dance Co., Santa Fe Orchestra, Wonju Philharmonic, Cassatt Quartet, Marina Piccinini, Rodrigo Puskás, Meininger-Trio, Eric Himy, Tallon S. Perkes, Virtuoso Ensemble (Seoul), and by numerous chamber groups and soloists. In 2000, Elisenda received the Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year Award from the Music Teachers National Association in Washington D.C.
During the 2012-2013 season, Fábregas chamber works were performed in Europe, Asia and the US, including the Hohenloher Kultursommer 2013 (Germany), which featured Voces de mi tierra and Colores Andaluces performed by the Meininger-trio; The Flaming Rock for SATB choir and string quartet performed in Texas by the Cassatt Quartet and the Allegro Chorale & Orchestra; Voces de mi tierra performed at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, and by the Nova Mundi Trio; Mirage and Homenatge a Mompou performed by Stanley Wong in Hong Kong; Voces de mi tierra featured at the Lansing Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series; and Voices of the rainforest performed by the Trio Quer-Strich in Freiburg (Germany), and the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble in Calgary, Canada.
Highlights of the 2011-2012 season included performances of Voices of the Rainforest by the Meininger-Trio at MusikfestStuttgart (Germany) and three performances by the Marsyas Trio in England. Goyescas for flute, viola and piano was performed by the Ensemble Gaudi in Maon (Spain); and flutist Barbara H. Williams made multiple performances of Andante appassionato for flute in South-Africa. The Meininger-trio included music by Fábregas in two of their new recordings: Colores Andaluces for cello and piano released on the NCA label, and Voices of the rainforest for flute, cello & piano (2007), released on Haenssler Records. Elisenda’s work Gacelas de amor for soprano, flute and piano was published by Friedrich Hofmeister.
Highlights of the 2010 season included a performance of Goyescas for flute, viola & piano at L’Auditori de la Pedrera Caixa Catalunya by Ensemble Gaudi in Barcelona; and a performance of Homenatge a Mompou for piano at the Festival of Song in Barcelona by pianist Max Lifchitz. Mr. Lifchitz also amde the New York premiere of this work in April of 2010. Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello and piano received multiple performances at the Tapiola Sinfonietta Concert Series in Finland; the NeoLit Ensemble at Bargemusic (Brooklyn); the NeoArs Sonora Ensemble at the VII Festival Unicaja -“Las Musicas del Siglo XX-XXI” in Almeria, Spain; and broadcast in Ontario, Canada, by the Exorior Duo. Additionally, Voces de mi tierra received over a dozen performances by the Davanti Trio, Terzetta Trio, and Kathryn Master in the US.
Highlights of the 2009 season included the premiere of Gacelas de amor for soprano, flute and piano based on poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca, a work written for and commissioned by male soprano Jörg Waschinski and flutist Christiane Meininger, at the Center for International Light Art in Unna (Germany); Goyescas for flute, viola and piano was premiered at the Festival Internacional (Concerts de Mitjanit) de Musica de Sitges by Ensemble Gaudi; the original score of Goyescas for flute & guitar was written and premiered by Marina Piccinini and guitarist Emanuele Segre on February 2009 at The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. An unusual score for choir and string quartet, Flaming Rock, received the New York premiere by the Cassatt Quartet and Cantori New York.
Highlights of the 2008 season included the premiere of Voices of the rainforest for flute, cello & piano (2008) commissioned and written for the Meininger-Trio at Nachtmusik – WDR Broadcasting Station in Cologne (Germany) and at the Berlin Ibero-American Institute (in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Berlin) and Oro Verde (Tropical Rainforest Foundation); the premiere of the The Flaming Rock (2008) for choir and string quartet, commissioned by the Allegro-Chorale & Orchestra and the Cassatt String Quartet in Odessa and Midland, TX; the premiere of Homenatge a Mompou (2007), commissioned by Dutch pianist Marcel Worms in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of Federico Mompou’s death, which received multiple performances in Holland and the U.S. in November 2007 and January-February 2008. Other performances in the 2007-08 season included over twenty performances of Voces de mi tierra (2003) by the Murali Trio in Belgium and The Netherlands; All Seasons Chamber Players in the Northeast, U.S.; Trio Noir in Augsburg, Germany; and The Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio and Boerne, TX. Additional performances by the Toki Ensemble at the Donnell Library Center Auditorium in New York City; the Annabella Gonzalez Dance Company; cellist Larissa Groeneveld in Hollad; St. Bart’s Concert Series, NYC; CRR Konser Salonu in Instanbul, Turkey; McGill University in Montreal, CA; National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) in Providence, RI; and concerts in several cities in Germany. In March of 2007 Elisenda was the composer in residence at the Taos Chamber Music Group Concert Series.
Highlights of the 2006-07 season included over thirty performances of Hommage a Mozart, a piano piece commissioned by Eric Himy commemorating the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth. This work was premiered at La Salle Cortot in Paris and later at the Norris Arts Center in Chicago; The Music Festival of the Hamptons; Les Moments Musicaux de Notre Dame in Marseille; the KWCMS Chamber Music Series in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada; Concert Theatre des Varietes de Monaco; the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon, MI; Soirees Musicales in Dayton, OH; the Embassy Series in Washington D.C., as well as additional performances in Prague, Buffalo, Oregon, Utah, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Texas. Subsequently Hommage a Mozart was recorded by Eric Himy on the Centaur label and it is published by Friedrich Hofmeister Musik Verlag in Germany.
Other performances of Elisenda’s music were conducted at the 2006 NATS in Miami; the Chautaqua Institute in NY; 2006 National Society of Composers and College Music Society in Texas; 2006 International Alliance for Women in Music in Miami; 2006 ASTA/NSOA National Conference in Kansas City; Westminster Choir College, NJ; and SOLI Chamber Music Series in San Antonio, TX. Her work Colores Andaluces for cello & piano was premiered at the 2006 Celloherbst Festival in Germany by cellist Francoise Groben and at the CRR Konser Salonu in Instanbul, Turkey, on February 2007.
Elisenda Fábregas was born in 1955 in Terrassa, Barcelona, and received extensive training as a pianist at the Barcelona Conservatory. In 1978, she came to the United States as a Post-Doctoral Fulbright scholar and earned a masters degree from The Juilliard School and a doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College. She began composing at The Juilliard School in 1985, working with several dance companies and choreographers in New York City, including Jerome Robbins, Hector Zaraspe, Janet Soares and Anna Sokolow. She started composing in 1986, when The Maria Benitez Spanish Dance Company commissioned her to write Reflexiones for solo piano, which was premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the Joyce Theater in New York, followed by numerous performances throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
In her early career as a pianist, she performed in Spain, England, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and the United States, appearing in Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, and The Joyce Theater in New York City, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., The United Nations Conference in Beijing, The Place Theater in London, Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona, and the Manuel de Falla International Festival in Granada, Spain.
In her New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall she was praised by Tim Page of The New York Times as having “… fluid technique and a poet’s command of musical shading.” She was featured on NPR’ s recording “Live Concert at the Alamo,” and performed live on WQXR-FM “New York Spotlight,” WNYC-FM “Around New York,” and the Voice of America.
Elisenda was awarded in 2011 a Doctoral degree (DMA) in composition at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. From February 2010 to 2013 she was a Visiting Professor at the Chugye University for the Arts in Seoul. She was an Adjunct Professor in Composition at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, and currently she is an Invited Professor of Music at Kyung-Hee University Humanitas College in South Korea.
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