The Orchestra Reborn

Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960)

Lullaby and Doina (2001)

For Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass
8 Minutes

About the Composer

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Born December 5, 1960, Osvaldo Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina.  His mother was a piano teacher and his father was a doctor.  He was raised surrounded by classical chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla.  He began his musical studies with piano at the local conservatory in Argentina.  In 1983 he moved to Israel to study at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy; there he immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of the city.  In 1986 he moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb.  Golijov studied with Oliver Knussen as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1990.  Currently, he serves as faculty in the music department at College of the Holy Cross in Worchester, MA.  

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Golijov’s output includes music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, opera, chorus, and film.  He has received numerous commissions from prestigious groups in both the United States and Europe.  In Golijov’s music you can hear the amazing tapestry of cultures and sounds that he has experienced during his life; it is this facet of his output that has earned him a reputation as a champion of diverse musical traditions.

About the Music

Lullaby and Doina was originally written for Sally Potter’s 2000 film The Man Who Cried.  The film centers around a love story between a young Jewish woman and a young Gypsy man, and provides an incredible canvas for Golijov to explore two diverse cultures with his music.   The sextet that you will hear tonight was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, who premiered the work at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in April 2001.


About his work Golijov writes, “This piece starts with a set of variations on a Yiddish lullaby that I composed for Sally Potter’s film The Man Who Cried, set to function well in counterpoint to another important music theme in the soundtrack: Bizet’s Aria Je Crois Entendre Encore from The Pearl Fishers.  The lullaby metamorphoses into a dense and dark doina (a gypsy slow, rubato genre) featuring the lowest string of the violas.  The piece ends in a fast gallop boasting a theme that I stole from my friends of the wild gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks."  In this hauntingly beautiful work, Golijov seamlessly blends the music of the Yiddish and Gypsy traditions and takes his audience on a journey through a very special kind of dreamland.


Artist: Boston Symphony Chamber Players
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