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Mario Davidovsky

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Title: Mario Davidovsky  
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Subject: Electronic music, Pulitzer Prize for Music, List of music students by teacher: C to F, Synchronisms (Davidovsky), Double bass
Collection: 1934 Births, 20Th-Century American Musicians, 20Th-Century Classical Composers, 21St-Century American Musicians, 21St-Century Classical Composers, American Classical Composers, American Male Classical Composers, Argentine Classical Composers, Argentine Composers, Argentine Emigrants to the United States, Argentine Jews, Argentine People of Lithuanian-Jewish Descent, Guggenheim Fellows, Harvard University Faculty, Jewish American Classical Composers, Jewish Argentine Musicians, Jewish Classical Musicians, Living People, Manhattan School of Music Faculty, Members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, People from Buenos Aires Province, Pulitzer Prize for Music Winners, Pupils of Aaron Copland, Pupils of Milton Babbitt, Rome Prize Winners, University of Michigan Faculty
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Mario Davidovsky

Mario Davidovsky (born March 4, 1934) is an Argentine-American composer. Born in Argentina, he emigrated in 1960 to the US, where he lives today. He is best known for his series of compositions called Synchronisms, which in live performance incorporate both acoustic instruments and electroacoustic sounds played from a tape.


  • Biography 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Awards 3
  • Fellowships 4
  • Works 5
  • Discography 6
  • Notable students 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Davidovsky was born in Médanos, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, a town nearly 600 km southwest of the city of Buenos Aires and close to the seaport of Bahía Blanca. At seven he began his musical studies on the violin. At thirteen he began composing. He studied composition and theory under Guillermo Graetzer at the University of Buenos Aires, from which he graduated.

In 1958, he studied with Aaron Copland and Milton Babbitt at the Berkshire Music Center (now the Tanglewood Music Center) in Lenox, Massachusetts. Through Babbitt, who worked at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, and others, Davidovsky developed an interest in electroacoustic music. Copland encouraged Davidovsky to emigrate to the United States, and in 1960, Davidovsky settled in New York City, where he was appointed associate director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center.

Most of his published compositions since the 1970s have been nonelectronic. His only published electroacoustic compositions since that time are Synchronisms No. 9 (1988) and Synchronisms No. 10 (1992). However, Davidovsky received a commission by a group led by SEAMUS to compose two more electroacoustic works in the Synchronisms series. No. 11 and No. 12 premiered in 2007 at the SEAMUS National Conference in Ames, IA.

Davidovsky's association with the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center continued, and from 1981 to 1993 he was the lab's director as well as professor of music at Columbia.[1] In 1994 he became professor of music at Harvard.[1] During his career, Davidovsky has also taught at many other institutions: University of Michigan (1964), the Di Tella Institute of Buenos Aires (1965), the Manhattan School of Music (1968–69), Yale University (1969–70), and the City College of New York (1968–80).[1]

He serves on the composition faculty of Mannes College The New School for Music.[2]

In 1982, Davidovsky was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.[3]

Personal life

Davidovsky married Ellen Blaustein in 1961.[4]



  • Koussevitzky fellowship (1958)
  • Rockefeller fellowships (1963,1964)
  • Guggenheim fellowships (1960,1971)
  • Williams Foundation Fellowship
  • Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship


  • String Quartet No. 1 (1951)
  • Concertino for Percussion and String Orchestra (1954)
  • Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (1955)
  • Suite Sinfonica Para "El Payaso" (1955), orchestra
  • Three Pieces for Woodwind Quartet (1956)
  • Noneti for Nine Instruments (1956)
  • String Quartet No. 2 (1958)
  • Serie Sinfonica 1959 (1959), orchestra
  • Contrastes No. 1 (1960), string orchestra and electronic sounds
  • Electronic Study No. 1 (1961) Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center
  • Piano 1961 (1961), orchestra
  • Electronic Study No. 2 (1962)
  • Synchronisms No. 1 (1962), flute and electronic sound
  • Trio for Clarinet, Trumpet, and Viola (1962)
  • Synchronisms No. 2 (1964), flute, clarinet, violin, cello and tape
  • Synchronisms No. 3 (1964), cello and electronic sound
  • Electronic Study No. 3 (1965)
  • Inflexions (1965), chamber ensemble
  • Junctures (1966), flute, clarinet, and violin
  • Synchronisms No. 4 (1966), chorus and tape
  • Music for Solo Violin (1968)
  • Synchronisms No. 5 (1969), percussion players and tape
  • Synchronisms No. 6 (1970), piano and electronic sound (won 1971 Pulitzer Prize)
  • Chacona (1971), violin, cello, and piano
  • Transientes (1972), orchestra
  • Ludus 2 (1973), flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano
  • Synchronisms No. 7 (1974), orchestra and tape
  • Synchronisms No. 8 (1974), woodwind quintet and tape
  • Scenes from Shir ha-Shirim (1975), soprano, two tenors, bass soli and chamber ensemble
  • String Quartet No. 3 (1976)
  • Pennplay (1979), sixteen players
  • Consorts (1980), symphonic band
  • String Quartet No. 4 (1980)
  • String Trio (1982), violin, viola, violoncello
  • Romancero (1983), soprano, flute (piccolo, alto flute), clarinet (bass clarinet), violin and violoncello
  • Divertimento (1984), cello and orchestra
  • Capriccio (1985), two pianos
  • Salvos (1986), flute (piccolo, alto flute), clarinet, harp, percussion, violin and cello
  • Quartetto (1987), flute, violin, viola and violoncello
  • Synchronisms No. 9 (1988), violin and tape
  • Biblical Songs (1990), soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
  • Concertante (1990), string quartet and orchestra
  • Simple Dances (1991-2001), flute (piccolo, alto flute), two percussion, piano, and cello
  • Synchronisms No. 10 (1992), guitar and electronic sounds
  • Shulamit's Dream (1993), soprano and orchestra
  • Festino (1994), guitar, viola, violoncello, contrabass
  • Concertino (1995), violin and chamber orchestra
  • Flashbacks (1995), flute (piccolo and alto flute), clarinet (bass clarinet), violin violoncello, piano and percussion
  • Quartetto No. 2 (1996), oboe, violin, viola, violoncello
  • String Quartet No. 5 (1998)
  • Quartetto No. 3 (2000), piano, violin, viola, and violoncello
  • Cantione Sine Textu (2001), soprano and chamber ensemble
  • RecitAndy (2001), cello
  • Duo Capriccioso (2003), piano and violin
  • Sefarad: Four Spanish-Ladino Folkscenes (2004), baritone voice, flute (piccolo, alto flute), clarinet (bass clarinet), percussion, violin and cello
  • Quartetto No. 4 (2005), clarinet, violin, viola and cello
  • Synchronisms No. 11 (2005), contrabass and tape
  • Synchronisms No. 12 (2006), clarinet and tape
  • Piano Septet (2007)


  • Works by Martin Brody, Mario Davidovsky, Miriam Gideon, Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, New World Records, New World 80412-2. Release date: December 8, 1992.
    • Synchronisms No. 6; Fred Bronstein, Piano.
  • Korf: Symphony No.2/Davidovsky: Divertimento/Wright: Night Scenes, New World Records, New World 80383-2. Release date: December 8, 1992.
  • Flashbacks: Music by Mario Davidovsky, Bridge Records, Bridge 9097. Release date: June 27, 2000.
    • Flashbacks; The New York New Music Ensemble.
    • Festino; Speculum Musicae.
    • Romancero; Susan Narucki, soprano; Speculum Musicae.
    • Quartetto No. 2; Peggy Pearson, oboe; Bayla Keyes, violin; Mary Ruth Ray, viola; Rhonda Rider, violoncello.
    • Synchronisms No. 10; David Starobin, guitar.
    • String Trio; Speculum Musicae.
  • Mario Davidovsky: 3 Cycles on Biblical Texts; Susan Narucki, soprano; Riverside Symphony, George Rothman conducting; Bridge Records, Bridge 1112. Release Date: July 30, 2002.
    • Shulamit's Dream.
    • Scenes from Shir ha-Shirim.
    • Biblical Songs.
  • Harvard Composers, Mendelssohn String Quartet, BIS Records, BIS-SACD-1264. Release date: September 9, 2003.
    • String Quartet No. 5.
  • Salvos: Chamber Music of Mario Davidovsky, Empyrean Ensemble; Susan Narucki, soprano. Arabesque Records, Arabesque Z6777. Release date: January 6, 2004.
    • Simple Dances.
    • Cantione Sine Textu.
    • Quartetto.
    • Salvos.
    • String Trio.
  • The Music of Mario Davidovsky, Vol. 3, Bridge Records, Bridge 9171. Release date: September 1, 2005.
    • Synchronisms No. 5; The Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble, Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor.
    • Synchronisms No. 6 Aleck Karis, piano.
    • Synchronisms No. 9; Curtis Macomber, violin.
    • Chacona; Curtis Macomber, violin; Eric Bartlett, cello; Aleck Karis, piano.
    • Quartetto; Susan Palma Nidel, flute; Curtis Macomber, violin; Maureen Gallagher, viola; Eric Bartlett, violoncello.
    • Duo Capriccioso; Curtis Macomber, violin; Aleck Karis, piano.

Notable students


  1. ^ a b c Mario Davidovsky biography at Collage New Music, Boston at the Wayback Machine (archived July 25, 2011)
  2. ^ Mario Davidovsky faculty profile at Mannes College The New School for Music
  3. ^ List of academicians at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. "Mario Davidovsky --- Music --- 1982"
  4. ^ "Bio: Mario Davidovsky", NNDB
  • Cole Gagne and Tracy Caras, Soundpieces: Interviews with American Composers, Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1982.
  • Eric Chasalow, Mario Davidovsky: An Introduction, AGNI 50 (also available as a PDF document).
  • The Music of Mario Davidovsky, Vol. 3Eric Chasalow, Liner Notes to .
  • George Crumb, Music: Does it Have a Future? - a slightly revised article, originally appearing in The Kenyon Review, Summer 1980.
  • Charles Wuorinen, "Mario Davidovsky: Contrastes No. 1", Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring-Summer 1966), 144–49.
  • liner notes to discs Bridge 9097 and Bridge 9112 (see Discography)
  • Bob Gluck interviews Davidovsky at the Wayback Machine (archived April 15, 2012) - took place on September 24, 2005.

External links

  • Electronic Study No. 3, In Memoriam Edgar Varèse - An mp3 file of the entire piece.
  • Art of the States: Mario Davidovsky - RealAudio streams of three works by the composer
  • Performance on 2006-10-22 by Lynn Kuo of Synchronisms No. 9: Part 1 on YouTube, Part 2 on YouTube.
  • NewMusicBox: "Mario Davidovsky: A Long Way from Home" (November 1, 2006). Mario Davidovsky in conversation with Frank J. Oteri on February 15, 2006. (includes video)
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