Mario Davidovsky was born in Argentina and emigrated to the United States in 1960. After studies with both Aaron Copland and Milton Babbitt, he began to specialize in electroacoustic music. Despite his long-time position as Director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, since 1974 most of Davidovsky’s published works have been purely instrumental. His significant body of work has been described as “clear and compelling, drawing the listener immediately into its personal, idiosyncratic world…it handsomely rewards repeated listening and study.” A distinguished educator, Davidovsky currently serves as Professor of Composition at the Mannes School of Music, part of the College of Performing Arts at The New School.
Davidovsky writes about “Fragments”: “the meaning of the word ‘Fragments’ as it relates to my Quartet No. 6 is quite ambiguous. Commonly, the word refers to broken parts belonging to ‘something,’ to some object; in our case, and most importantly, it also means broken (and scattered) parts that, moved and processed by some creative force, can aggregate to become ‘something.’
“The piece begins by presenting a sequence of events/gestures, one of them appearing to have a more defined rhythmic/timbral dance-like character that will be transformed many times through the course of the piece. The rest of the events are a set of ‘elements’ that do not offer the necessary pitch/rhythmic information to define them clearly as motives, but can be described in basic ‘expressive’ terms as being very fast, percussive, or lyrical, etc. As the narrative unfolds, all these elements will reappear in new sequences and contexts, constantly reprocessing, developing, and exhibiting distinct expressive personalities – as if each time impersonating a different character of the Commedia dell’arte, then attenuating and homogenizing the differences between them. Each one could be at the same time somebody else, and anybody else, and anybody equal to the One…perhaps a nostalgic mimicking of the classical model: the single seed flowering into the splendid musical tree.
“Slow melodic/contrapuntal episodes are followed by intricate fast ones. Much of the score is intensely pointillistic, out of which the single instrument often appears as an embedded part of a larger imaginary ‘sixteen-string instrument,’ later to return to its own – perhaps another metaphor of timbral Tonic/Dominant relationship.
“Writing my Quartet No. 6 for the magnificent Juilliard Quartet was an exceptional privilege and an unending joyful exercise!”
Mario Davidovsky’s String Quartet No. 6, “Fragments,” was commissioned for the Juilliard String Quartet by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music and The Juilliard School.
About Mario Davidovsky
Mario Davidovsky was born on March 4, 1934 in Medanos, a town in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
His main teacher was the composer, Guillermo Graetzer. In 1958 he was invited to participate in the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where he studied with Aaron Copland. Mr. Davidovsky’s interest in the fledgling field of Electronic Music was further encouraged by meeting Milton Babbitt, a faculty member that year. Learning of the imminent opening of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1959, he joined the early group of composers there and later became the Center’s director.
Mr. Davidovsky is widely recognized for his seminal contributions in the realm of electro-acoustic music. His Synchronisms No.6, for piano and electronic sounds, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971. He has received commissions here and abroad from various organizations including: the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Juilliard and Emerson String Quartets, Speculum Musicae, the Parnassus Ensemble, NYNME, Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, and many others. He has also received numerous grants and awards including Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, The Kaske Prize (Germany), Naumburg Award, Asociasion Wagneriana, and Asociasion Amigos de la Musica (Argentina), to name a few.
Mr. Davidovsky is the Fanny P. Mason Prof. Emeritus at Harvard University, former MacDowell Professor of Music at Columbia University, and the director of the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley College. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (Argentina). He has been recorded by Columbia Records, CRI, New World Records, Wergo, Nonesuch, Finnadar, Turnabout, Bridge Records, DDG, Albany Records; and published by C.F.Peters Corp., E.B.Marks Corp., and McGinnes & Marx.
Sponsored by: Wesley Green, in memory of his wife, Pearl