HAROLD GRAMATGES (b 1918 )
One of the leading figures in Cuban musical life, Harold Gramatges was born in Santiago in 1918 and had his early studies there with Zoila Figueras, followed by study with Dulce María Serret at the Conservatorio Provincial de Música de Oriente, where he completed his course in 1936. He went on to study at the then Conservatorio Municipal de Música in Havana as a pupil of Amadeo Roldán and José Ardévol. He was associated with the Grupo de Renovación Musical from its foundation in 1942, the year in which a scholarsship took him to Tanglewood, where he worked with Aaron Copland and Sergey Koussevitzky. He studied further with Copland in 1948-49 and attended seminars by Elliott Carter.
He founded and directed the Havana Chamber Orchestra and until 1958 taught at the Conservatorio Municipal, and for ten years, from 1951, was president of the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo. He has held various other positions of importance in the official cultural life of Cuba and from 1960 to 1964 was Cuban ambassador to France.
From its foundation in 1976 he held the chair of composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte, and is now Professor Emeritus. He has been the recipient of various national and international prizes, with the highest Cuban honours and, among the latter, the Premio Tomás Luis de Victoria of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España. His earlier compositions were largely neo-classical in style, developing over the years as a result of external influences.