Sofia Gubaidulina was born in Chistopol in the Tatar Republic on October 1931. She studied piano and composition with Grigory Kogan, and graduated from the Kazan Conservatory in 1954. Until 1959 she studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory with Nikolai Peiko, Shostakovich's assistant, and did postgraduate work with under Vissarion Shebalin. She has been active as a composer since 1963. With Shinittke, Denisov and Silvestrov she is considered to be one of the leading representatives of the New Music in the World. As a result of the support from many artists, especially names like Gidon Kremer and Annie Sophie Mutter, her works have been performed widely in western countries. This is also reflected in numerous commissions form the BBC, The Berlin Festival, The Library of the Congress, NHK, the New York Pylarmonic, etc. In 1992 Gubaidulina moved to Germany, and now lives near Hamburg. 
Sofia Gubaidulina, among many other important memberships, is an active member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, of  the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, of the Royal Academy in Stockholm and the German Order "Pour le Mérite". She also has received numerous awards and prizes.
Although Sofia Gubaidulina's education and background are Russian, it is important to bear in mind the significance of her Tatar origins. She is not however, a Romantic nationalist. Her compositional mastery enables her to make use of all contemporary techniques evolved by European and American avant-gardein, though in a wholly individual manner. Furthermore, oriental philosophies have an influence on certain aspects of her music. A striking feature of Gubaidulina´s work is the almost total absence of 'absolute' music. The vast majority of her pieces have an extra-musical dimension, e. g. a poem, either set to music or hidden between the lines, a ritual, or some kind of instrumental "action". Some of her compositions demonstrate her preoccupation with mystical ideas and Christian symbolism. She has wide-ranging literary interests, and has set to music poems by ancient Egyptian and Persian writers as well as by contemporary lyric poetry as Marina Tsvtayeva.    
This biography was most recently edited by... - 14 Jul 2012