Gabriela Lena Frank
Carnegie Hall Commissions
Composer and pianist Gabriela Lena Frank has been hailed as representing “the next generation of American composers.” She regularly draws on and incorporates Latino/Latin American mythology, archeology, art, poetry, and folk music into western classical forms, reflecting her Peruvian-Jewish-Chinese heritage. Her compositions exhibit “honesty and genius” (Springfield Union-News), “unself-conscious craft and mastery” (Washington Post), and “brilliantly effective writing” (New York Times), and have furthermore been described as “striking, original” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), and “luminous… bursting with fresh originality” (Los Angeles Times). Her work Las Sombras de los Apus for cello quartet was recently elected to Chamber Music America’s list of Top One Hundred and One Great American Ensemble Works.
Upcoming premieres include a viola sonata for the 2006 Aspen Summer Music Festival; Canto de Harawi for the DaCamera Society of Houston; and Requiem for a Magical America based on Pre-Inca civilizations for the University of Kansas Wind Band Ensemble and Dance Department. Forthcoming commissions include new works for Chanticleer, the Brentano String Quartet, guitarist Sharon Isbin, The Silk Road Project, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the ProMusica Orchestra, and the Modesto Symphony, among others.
Gabriela is currently developing opera libretti on Latin American folkloric and/or contemporary topics, including La Historia Oficial (The Official Story) regarding the disappearance of thousands of civilians during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the 1980s and the ongoing protests by the famed Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (Madres de Plaza de Mayo).
Recent premieres include Manchay Tiempo (2005) by the Seattle Symphony; Inkarrí (2005) by the Kronos Quartet; Ccollanan María (2005) by the Volti Vocal Ensemble; Ghosts in the Dream Machine for piano quintet by the Chiara Quartet with pianist Simone Dinnerstein; Illapa: Tone Poem for Flute and Orchestra (2004) by Leone Buyse and the Shepherd Symphony Orchestra; Songs of Cifar and The Sweet Sea (2004) (based on the poems of Nicaraguan sailor-poet Pablo Antonio Cuadra) by baritone Robert Gardner and pianist Molly Morkowski at Carnegie Hall; and Three Latin American Dances (2004) by the Utah Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart. The Utah Symphony subsequently recorded Three Latin American Dances (to be released in 2006). Three Latin American Dances has since entered the repertory of several major orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony. In Spring 2006 the Chiara Quartet will release a new recording of Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout.
Active as a pianist, Gabriela recorded the complete solo piano and violin/piano compositions of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Leslie Bassett on the Equilibrium label for which the American Record Guide describes her performance as one of “care and enthusiasm.” She currently collaborates with renowned Peruvian ethnomusicologist Raul Romero in recording the piano music of indigenous composers of coastal and Andean Peru. Next season she will premiere several works written specifically for her by Evan Chambers, Richard Lavenda, and Andrew Mead. Gabriela has also participated in the transcription and publication of a volume of piano works by the Venezuelan composer Ramon Delgado Palacios through the Fundación Vicente Emilio Sojo in Caracas, Venezuela.
A great supporter of community outreach Gabriela has taken part in residency projects with the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony; the Spencer Museum of Art with the University of Kansas Music Department; the American Composers Forum, Michigan’s Harrison Correctional Facility, and various others. Gabriela also frequently serves as composer-in-residence with both performing and academic institutions. In this capacity, she has recently been a guest at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Kansas, and Cornell University. She is a frequent guest at schools and festivals not only in North America but throughout Latin America as well.
In July of 2005, Gabriela served on a panel session and performed original works at the Latina Letters conference in San Antonio, TX. This annual conference focuses primarily on the work of living Latina poets and writers, and Gabriela presented the view of a Latina composer working with Latina texts in song. As a result of this venture, Gabriela will embark on collaborations with award-winning Chicano poets Lorna Dee Cervantes, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., and Pat Mora, and has been engaged to return and collaborate further with the conference’s sponsoring organization, the Guadalupe Center for the Arts.
Born with a moderate-to-profound neurosensory hearing loss, Gabriela also served as the keynote speaker in the national convention for ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults) in September 2005 in Salt Lake, UT.
Gabriela has been recognized by numerous organizations including ASCAP, the International Alliance of Women in Music, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, Arts International, and the inaugural Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize. A Global Connections award through Meet the Composer recently sent her to Brazil in May of 2005 where her flute concerto was performed by the Orquestra Sinfonica da Bahía and principal flutist Lucas Robatto in Salvador-Bahía. She was named the 2005 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Commissioned Composer by the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) for which she is composing a multi-movement solo piano work, The Book of Quipus.
Born in Berkeley, CA in 1972, Gabriela holds degrees from Rice University and a doctorate (2001) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her composition teachers have included William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and Samuel Jones. Her piano studies have been with Jeanne Kierman Fischer and Logan Skelton. She currently makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and travels often in Latin America. Her music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer.