"I want you to continue along your mistaken path." Dmitri Shostakovich gave this advice to a young Sofia Gubaidulina upon her graduation from the Moscow Conservatory. Even then, Gubaidulina's music exhibited itself as original, exploratory, forceful, and spiritual. "I'll never forget those encouraging words," she recalled. "Shostakovich encouraged me to be myself, no matter what everybody else said, and I am very grateful for that." Gubaidulina indeed followed her path to become one of the most distinctive post-Soviet voices in contemporary music; and, her journey continues this month as she embarks on a North American tour.Gubaidulina begins in Toronto for a 75th birthday festival hosted by the Toronto Symphony, Soundstreams Canada, the Esprit Orchestra, and New Music Concerts. From 21 to 27 November, she will attend numerous performances which include the Canadian premieres of Now Always Snow sung by the Berlin-based RIAS Chamber Choir, and the Toronto Symphony's concerts of The Rider on the White Horse.[a] lively, soft-spoken woman with warm and piercing eyes... known for a uniquely personal and uncompromising vision....[Her] music has the power to move and transform the human spirit. — The Christian Science MonitorOn 1 December, Gubaidulina goes to Pittsburgh, where Andrew Davis conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony in their performances of Feast During a Plague, a co-commission with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Pittsburgh immediately brings the work to Carnegie Hall for the 5 December New York premiere. The following day, Gubaidulina joins moderator Ara Guzelimian for a portrait evening at Zankel Hall. The Making Music 2006 chamber concert includes the US premieres of Mirage: The Dancing Sun and On the Edge of the Abyss. Gubaidulina starts her New Year in London at the Barbican's annual composer weekend which includes performances of Feast During a Plague (UK premiere), Pro et Contra, and The Light of the End.