Benet Casablancas at 60

Benet Casablancas at 60
On April 2, one of Spain’s leading contemporary classical composers, Benet Casablancas, celebrated his 60th birthday. Not only does this milestone offer a fantastic opportunity to look back over his distinguished career, but also to look forward: namely, to the 2017 premiere of his first opera, Io, and a new string quartet in 2018.

Earlier this month, members of the Orchestra Simfònica del Vallès commenced celebrations with a portrait concert exploring his most recent works, including Pastoral, Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Ensemble (2012), Siete Haikus para sexteto (2015), and Epigramas cervantinos (2016).

The seven haikus and the alto saxophone concertino have quickly become key works in Casablancas’ catalogue. They both form the centre of another retrospective given by Ensemble New Babylon at the Sendesaal in Bremen, Germany on 30 June 2017. Also featured in the programme are Casablancas’ Six Glosses on texts by Cees Nooteboom and Albumblatt für Arriaga. Casablancas is Composer-in-Residence to the New Babylon Ensemble and the Bremen Cervantes Institute and this year will give masterclasses in Bremen and Frankfurt.
String Quartet No 4 ‘Widmung’ world premiere

The Casals Quartet and the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical have co-commissioned Casablancas to write his fourth quartet. The ensemble will give the world premiere on May 24, 2018 at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, and two further performances at L’Auditori, Barcelona (May 27) and the Wigmore Hall, London (July 4). 

Benet Casablancas
(b. 1957)
Widely regarded as one of the leading Spanish composers of his generation, Benet Casablancas studied in Barcelona and Vienna, and he graduated in Philosophy in the University of Barcelona, winning 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 instrumental detail. Critics highlight his concern for balancing constructional rigour with natural musical lyricism. His works are performed regularly around Europe, Canada, US, Japan and Latin America. His first opera Io was commissioned by Gran Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona for its 2017 season. In 2013 he was appointed first Composer in Residence to the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and L´Auditori and was awarded with the most prestigious composition prize in Spain, the National Music Prize, granted by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

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