Extended biography

Jordi Cervelló was born in Barcelona on the 18th of October 1935. He starts his violin studies at the age of 6 first with Rosa García Faria and later with Joan Massiá. Afterwards he undertakes virtuosity studies with Franco Tufari in Milan (1957-1960) and with Eugen Prokop. With the latter he takes part in an interpretation course in Salzburg’s Mozarteum (1959). A car accident suffered in Rome in 1960 prevented him from continuing his career as a violinist and so he decided to devote himself to composition.

His main professor will be conductor Josep Maria Roma, a well-known organist and composer. With him, apart from finishing the studies on harmony and counterpoint, he also studies both orchestral analysis and instrumentation.

Cervelló is one of the composers who took part in “La Década de compositors Catalans del VIII Festival Internacional de Música de Barcelona” (1970), (The Decade of Catalan Composers of the VIII International Music Festival of Barcelona) (1970), with his piece Fantasia Concertante for violin and orchestra (1969). In 1972, the string orchestra Young Israel Strings, conducted by Shalom Ronli-Rickliss premieres his work Anna Frank, un símbol (Anna Frank, a symbol) (1971) in Barcelona (X International Music Festival) and Madrid (Segundo Ciclo Ibermúsica). The next year he receives the “Premi Ciutat de Barcelona” (The Barcelona City Award) for his symphonic score Seqüencies sobre una mort (1970) (Sequences on a death) and he composes A Piano Ballad as a commission of “The International Festival of Israel” as a homage to Arthur Rubinstein.

In November 1974, the then known as Orchestra Ciutat de Barcelona (The city of Barcelona Orchestra), conducted by Heinz Fricke, premieres Seqüencies sobre una mort and shortly afterwards this same work was recorded, and released by RCA with the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Ros Marbá.

In 1975 Cervelló composes Alliberament (Liberation) for mixed chorus and based on a text by his mother, Maria Concepció Garriga, this piece being a commission of “la Comisaría general de la Música“ (The General Commissaryship of Music). In 1976 he is awarded the first prize of the “Concurso Permanente del Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia“ for his piece Biogénesis, composed in collaboration with physicist Jorge Wagensberg.

Between 1976 and 1977 he composes two pieces for a solo instrument which are very important: the Sonata in cinque tempi for a solo violin and the Sonata a la memoria de Pau Casals (A Sonata to the memory of Pau Casals) for a solo violoncello, which was recorded by Radu Aldulescu. Both pieces have five movements and their formal structure is similar.

In 1977 Seqüencies sobre una mort opens in Madrid with the Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE conducted by E. García Asensio.

His close relationship with the musical culture of Israel helps him being appointed President of the “Asociación de Relaciones Culturales España-Israel“ at Professor and poet Jaime Vándor’s request.

His collaboration as musical critic for the “El País“ newspaper begins in 1981 and lasts until 1989. In 1982 he composes Studio-fantasia, his third work for a piano solo and between 1982 and 1983 he composes the symphonic poem Vers l’infinit  (Towards Infinity), a piece inspired in the poem “L’infinito“ by Giacomo Leopardi, as a commission of The Barcelona Town Hall.

In 1983 Fantasia Concertante premieres in Madrid, in the “Ciclo de la Orquesta sinfónica de RTVE“ with Gonçal Comellas as a soloist. By then he also finishes a treaty on violin technique entitled Principios fundamentales sobre la técnica general del Violin (Fundamental principles on the violin general technique).

From that moment on, his music will be constantly widespread: Among the things that need to be highlighted are the premiere in New York of Anna Frank, a Symbol, with excellent reviews in The New York Times by Bernard Holland, the inclusion of Two Movements ( 1965 ) in the repertoire of The Moscow Virtuosi, the Catalunya concert tour of the Camerata Lysy Gstaad with the piece Concerto grosso (1973) and the premiere of Lux et Umbra (1984-1985), a definitive version of Biogénesis, by the English Chamber Orchestra, in both Barcelona and Granada.

Vers l’infinit premieres in Barcelona (OCB) in January 1985 with Ros Marbá as conductor and in 1986 it was presented in Madrid (Orquesta Nacional de España) and in Bogotá (Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá). In 1988 Cervelló receives the invitation from the “Union of composers of the USSR” to take part in “The III International Festival of Contemporary Music of the City of Leningrad” . Violinist Vladimir Spivakov conducts The Moscow Virtuosi and interprets Two Movements in the Glinka concert Hall. The prestigious English Magazine “The Strad“, specialised in bow instruments, devotes an extensive article signed by critic and musicologist Edward Sainati to Cervelló and his work in the December of 1990 issue. That same year he composes Cant Nocturn for viola and orchestra, a commission of the “Centro para la difusión de la música contemporánea“. In the year 1991 he composes Un Cant a Pau Casals, which premieres in the Oval Hall of Montjuïc in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain during the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona and with Lluis Claret as a soloist. The same piece was interpreted in 1993 in the cemetery of  El Vendrell on the 20th anniversary of the death of Pau Casals .

A new composing era is initiated in 1993 with Concertino for violin and strings, composed and dedicated to violinist Gerard Claret and the Orquestra Nacional de Cambra d’Andorra. To this a series of other pieces will follow, all of them of an spontaneous nature, which Cervelló groups into what he defines as “Natural technique”: a virtuosity of easy execution. Along with the new style several scores will be born: Sonatina for solo violin (1994), Two Divertimenti for two violins (1996), Petita suite for piano solo (1996), Gemini for violin and cello soloists and strings (1997-98) and 4 Capricci for violin solo (1998). In 1999 “The Science Museum” of “La Fundació “la Caixa”” commissions him a piece to illustrate the exhibition “Y después fue la forma“, (And after there was shape), a piece he composed in collaboration with Jorge Wagensberg and which Would later become the symphonic piece Formas para una exposición (Shapes for an exhibition).

In the year 2000 he devotes himself to the viola: for this instrument he composes Sonata para viola, Souvenir and Legenda . That same year a book sponsored by “El Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya“ is published – “Serie col.lecció Compositors Catalans” – in which the essential part of his Work can be found .The authors of this book are Xavier Casanoves Danés, Emilio Moreno and Pedro Alcalde.

In the year 2001 the string quartet Remembrances (1987-1999) premieres in the “ Schubertiada of the Winterthur Auditorium“ with the Italian group David Quartet. La sexta noche para guitarra y orquesta (1983-1996) premieres in Madrid in 2002 in the “Ciclo de la Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE” with Jaume Torrent as a soloist.

That same year Cervelló initiates a very important musical relationship with the city of Saint Petersburg which will last more than two years. Thirteen scores will be recorded, with different formations and soloists which resulted in 3 CDs. On April the 15th of 2002 a monographic concert took place in The Hermitage Theatre with the Hermitage Orchestra-Camerata St. Petersburg conducted by Alexis Soriano. The aforementioned orchestra recorded six pieces for string orchestra in St. Catherine’s Church , and The Academic Symphony Orchestra, again conducted by Alexis Soriano, recorded Formas para una exposición (Shapes for an exhibition) in the Main Hall of the Philharmonic. Moreover, six scores for a solo violin, two violins and a solo violoncello were recorded by violinists Ilia Ioff, Ilia Tepliakov and violoncellist Sergei Slovachevski. Cervelló was invited by the prestigious composer Boris Tischenko , a professor in St. Petersburg Estate Conservatory, to give a lecture on some of his works.

In January 2003 Divertimento 2002 for petit Orchestre premiered in the Auditori de Barcelona conducted by Hans Graf, this piece being a commission of the OBC. In 2004 Cervelló is invited by Alicia de Larrocha in the Marshall Academy of Barcelona to present his most recent works . For her Cervelló composes ( and dedicates to her) Preludiando for piano solo .

In 2005 Lux et Umbra is interpreted in The Hermitage Theatre in the series “Tardes de España” and that same year a very important premiere takes place: On September the 23rd the Concierto para violin y orquesta (2002-2003) premieres in the Teatro Monumental de Madrid in the “Concierto de galardonados de Juventudes Musicales de España”. Uwe Mund conducts the RTVE Symphonic Orchestra with violinist Markus Placci as a soloist. Jordi Cervelló turns 70.

Another premiere will take place in Madrid in January 2006, this is the drama poem Ybris (2004-2005) in the series “Musica y Mito de la Orquesta Nacional de España” (ONE) conducted by Josep Pons. The same piece is interpreted soon afterwards in the ”Palau de la Musica Catalana” in Barcelona (Diumenges al Palau) with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Novosibirsk conducted by Thomas Sanderling. A homage was paid to Cervelló in La Pedrera in the series “Celebracions 2006“ of La Fundació Caixa Catalunya with the Prometeo Quartet from Italy in May 2006. In June 2006 a monographic CD that the Fundación Autor dedicated to him, and which included the pieces: Madrid 11 de Marzo, Lux et Umbra and Formas para una exposición (Shapes for an exhibition ), was presented in the Cosmocaixa Auditorium of Barcelona.

In September of the same year the Etüden nach Kreutzer quartet, a commission of the Barcelona’s Auditorium interpreted by Quartet Casals premiered first in Hamburg’s Mozartsaal and in October in the Barcelona’s Auditorium in the inauguration of the new Chamber Music Hall. On September 25th 2006 Cervelló was awarded “La Creu de Sant Jordi de la Generalitat de Catalunya“, the highest distinction from the Government of Catalonia. In November 2007 a monographic concert was dedicated to him in the Perpignan’s Conservatoire Auditorium with the Orchestre Perpignan Mediterranée conducted by Daniel Tosi, in the Festival “Aujourd’hui Musiques“. In the same year his piano repertoire was recorded by the young pianist José Enrique Bagaria in the Petit Palau, in Barcelona. From this several pieces need to be highlighted, such as Arabesque, Preludiando, Studio-Fantasia and Balada a Rubinstein (A Ballad for Rubinstein).

In 2008 Jordi Cervelló donated his musical archives to the Biblioteca de Catalunya (The Library of Catalonia) at the time of the release of a Columna música CD dedicated to the piano plays by the pianist José Enrique Bagaría. The following year Cervelló was commissioned by the Banda Municipal de Barcelona (The Municipal Music Band of Barcelona) to compose a piano play with wind and percussion instruments to commemorate the 125 anniversary of the band. At about the same time he composed a version for piano and symphonic orchestra titled Piano Concerto. In December 2009 his four string quartets were recorded in Saint Petersburg by the Atrium String Quartet: Remembrances, Two Movements, Etüden nach Kreutzer and For Bach. The recording took place in the studios for Melody in Saint Petersburg.

In 2010 Cervelló received the National Prize of Music awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya (the Catalonian Government). In that same year he was appointed resident-composer of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Vallés and four pieces of his catalogue were performed : Divertimento 2002, Concertino for violin and strings with soloist Gilles Apap, Anna Frank, a symbol and a fanfare titled Els tres tambors (The Three Drums) which was a commissioned piece. He also composed the Vergine Madre cantata ( The Cantata of the Virgin Mother ).

Between 2010 and 2011 Cervelló composes a considerable number of pieces of various types: Nature-Antinature for symphonic orchestra, Piano Concerto, Duo Sonata, Ka-din e Il Diavolo, all three of them for violin and piano; Entre deux for viola and violoncello, Trumpet Sonata, 4 Intermezzi for piano and the quartet titled Saint Petersburg. On November 16 2011 Il Diavolo was performed for the first time in the Weill Room of The Carnegie Hall in New York.

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