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Born in Barcelona, Spain, on September 22, 1933, he graduated from the “Conservatorio del Liceu” of that city and the Juilliard School in 1960. He studied composition with Vincent Percichetti, Aaron Copland and conducting with Igor Markevitch. Since 1970 he has been teaching at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is University Professor of Composition.
Some of his best known works were written in a dramatic avant-garde style in the sixties (“Guernica”, “María Sabina”, “Steel Symphony”). He is credited with pioneering a blending of ethnic music with those avant-garde techniques later on, creating a very personal style starting with “Sinfonía en Negro-Homage to Martin Luther King”(1968), and “Homage to Casals and Sarasate” 1975. Balada has received several international awards.
Balada’s works are being performed by the world’s leading orchestras, such as the Philharmonics of New York, Los Angeles, Israel; the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Washington D.C., Prague, Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Mexico; the radio orchestras of Leipzig, Berlin, Berne, Madrid, Hanover, Moscow, Helsinki, Luxembourg, BBC, Jerusalem; the National Orchestras of Spain, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Ireland etc... conducted by artists like L. Maazel, M. Rostropovitch, Fruhbeck de Burgos, López-Cobos, Lukas Foss, Mariss Jansons, J. Mester, S. Comissiona, Neville Marriner etc.
He has been commissioned by many outstanding organizations in the US and Europe, including the Aspen Festival, the San Diego Opera, the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Hartford Symphonies, National Endowment for the Arts, Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, The Millennium of Catalonia, Sociedad Estatal para el V Centenario, the National Orchestra of Spain, the Radio TV Orchestra of Madrid. He has composed works for artists like Alicia de Larrocha, Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, the American Brass Quintet, Andres Segovia, Narciso Yepes, Lucero Tena, Angel Romero and has collaborated with artists and writers like Salvador Dali and Nobel Prize winner Camilo Jose Cela.
A large number of his compositions are recorded on Deutsche Grammophone, Naxos, Albany and New World Records. Some of his recordings include “Steel Symphony” and “Music for Oboe and Orchestra” with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Lorin Maazel, and the cantatas “Torquemada” and “Maria Sabina.” One of his CDs on Naxos- three concertos for piano, guitar and flute-were selected by Amazon.com as one of the “10 Best recordings of 2001” for classic instrumental music and also won the prestigious Rosette award granted by Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.
Balada’s large catalog of works includes, in addition to chamber and symphonic compositions, cantatas, two chamber operas and three full length ones: “Zapata”, “Christopher Columbus” and its sequel”The Death of Columbus”. “Christopher Columbus” was premiered in Barcelona in 1989 with José Carreras and Montserrat Caballe singing the leading roles and attracted international attention. The New York Times calls Balada’s contribution “a gift to his native Catalonia” while the Washington Times calls the work “a masterpiece..;.a landmark score in the lyric theater of our time.”.During the 2005-06 season Balada will see the premieres of “Caprichos No. 3” performed by violinist Andres Cardenes and the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra; “Symphony No. 6-Symphony of Sorrows”(dedicated to the innocent victims of the Spanish Civil War) with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and “Caprichos No.1” performed by the Miro String Quartet and guitarist Eliot Fisk. During the 2007-08 season the following world premieres took place: “A Little Night Music in Harlem” by the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra; “Concerto for Three Cellos and Orchestra” by the Berlin Radio Sym. Orch.; “Caprichos No.4-Quasi Jazz” by the Pittsburgh Symphony Cham. Orch.; the chamber operas “Hangman, Hangman!’ & “The Town of Greed” at Teatro de la Zarzuela-Madrid- and Teatre del Liceu-Barcelona. The grand opera “Faust-bal” with libretto by surrealist playwright Fernando Arrabal was premiered at Teatro Real in Madrid in February 2009.
Principal publishers: G.Schirmer and Beteca Music. He is represented by Music Associates of America,224 King St., Englewood, N.J. 07631.Tel:1-(201)569-2898; Fax: 1-(201) 569-7023; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Balada’s: Website is: www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/balada/index.htm. ; e-mail: email@example.com