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(1901 - 1989)

Tomás Garbizu was a constant presence in the musical life of the Spanish Basque Country throughout the twentieth century. He composed many works in a number of different genres, as well as being active as a performer and teacher. Born in Lezo, Guipázcoa, in 1901, Garbizu began his musical education in San Sebastián with Josá Maráa Iraola and Beltrán Pagola, continuing his organ studies in Madrid, and then in Paris with Charles Lebout. From 1954 until his retirement he was organ professor at the San Sebastián Conservatory. His wide-ranging catalogue includes sacred music for organ and chorus, such as Cantantibus organis (1937), Missa cum jubilo (1931), Gure Meza (1967), Triptico al Buen Pastor (1953); piano music; works for txistu (Basque pipe), such as Gure Erria (1967); zarzuelas; tone poems; choral works and many songs. Garbizu drew his inspiration principally from Gregorian chant and folk music. He was a master at taking melodies wholesale and enhancing them in an idiom employing specifically twentieth-century techniques—a variety of harmonic structures, resonance effects and clashes—without ever upsetting the balance of the musical discourse. He was awarded numerous distinctions throughout his career, and died in San Sebastián in 1989.

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