LEONARDO BALADA (b 1933 )
Born in Barcelona on 22 September 1933, Leonardo Balada graduated from the Conservatorio del Liceu of that city and The Juilliard School in 1960. He studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and 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. Balada’s works are performed by the world’s leading orchestras, including the Philharmonic Orchestras of New York, Los Angeles and Israel, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Symphonies of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Oregon, Prague, Düsseldorf, Barcelona, São Paulo, Mexico, the Radio Orchestras of Leipzig, Berlin, Berne, Madrid, Hanover, Moscow, Helsinki, Luxembourg, BBC (Manchester) and Jerusalem, and the National Orchestras of Spain, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Ireland, Colombia and Peru, among others, conducted by the most distinguished conductors. Balada has been commissioned by many outstanding organizations in the United States and Europe, including the Aspen Festival, the San Diego Opera, Teatro Real of Madrid, the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Hartford Symphonies, National Endowment for the Arts, Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Millennium of Catalonia, Sociedad Estatal para el V Centenario, the National Orchestra of Spain, the Radio TV Orchestra of Madrid, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. He has composed works for artists such as Alicia de Larrocha, Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, the American Brass Quintet, the Miró String Quartet, Andrés Segovia, Narciso Yepes, Lucero Tena, Ángel Romero, Eliot Fisk, Andrés Cardenes and has collaborated with artists and writers including Salvador Dalí and Nobel Prize winner Camilo José Cela. A large number of his compositions have been recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Albany and New World Records. These include Steel Symphony and Music for Oboe and Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Lorin Maazel, and the cantatas No-res, Torquemada and María Sabina.
Balada’s extensive list of works includes, in addition to chamber and symphonic compositions, cantatas, two chamber operas and four full length ones: Zapata, Christopher Columbus, its sequel Death of Columbus and Faustbal. Christopher Columbus had its première in Barcelona in 1989 with José Carreras and Montserrat Caballé singing the leading rôles and attracted international attention. Christopher Columbus (8.660237–38), with Carreras and Caballé, and Death of Columbus (8.660193–94) were released in 2009 by Naxos. World première performances during the 2007–08 season included a concerto for three cellos and orchestra with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, a work for string orchestra with the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra, a work for solo double bass for Jeff Turner, with the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and two chamber operas at the Madrid Teatro de la Zarzuela and Barcelona Gran Teatre del Liceu. His opera Faust-bal, commissioned by the Teatro Real of Madrid was given its première in February 2009, a twenty-first century interpretation of the classical Faust, with a libretto by the surrealist Fernando Arrabal.