Harold Gramatges

Cuba (1918 - 2009)
Corporate Member

Harold Gramatges became involved in music in his native town Santiago de Cuba. Afterwards, he studied composition at Havana with Amadeo Roldán and José Ardévol; in the United States of America with Aarón Copland and orchestral conducting with Sergr Koussevizky.

Throughout his professional career he has made a very important pedagogical work. He founded and directed the Orquesta Juvenil del Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana (Juvenile Orchestra of the Municipal Conservatory of Havana) and was vice-director of the Chamber Orchestra of the same city. He created the group Renovación Musical (Musical Renovation Group) and the Departamento de Música de la Casa de las Américas (Music Department of the Americas House). He also presided over the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo (The Cultural Society Our Time). He worked as Cuban Ambassador in France.

Currently he is Emeritus Professor and Head of the Department of Composition of Instituto Superior de Arte (Superior Art Institute), President of the Asociación de Músicos de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (Musicians Association of the Writers and Artists Union of Cuba), besides working in other important positions and in musical criticism.

Since the fifties, Gramatges attends with his works to international contemporary music festivals and he has been member of the jury in several musical events in his country and abroad.

His wide catalogue of works includes all genres and because of the importance of his production and his valuable work, he has deserved different distinctions and awards, in his country as well as in other nations, like the Premio de Reconocimiento de la UNEAC (Acknowledgment Award of the UNEAC) for his creative work; the greatest award granted by that Union to a Cuban composer.

In 1996 he obtained the Premio Tomás Luis de Victoria (Tomás Luis de Victoria Award), sponsored by the Consejo Iberoamericano de la Música (Ibero-American Council of the Music) and the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (General Autors and Editors Society) of Spain, with the acknowledgment of the Spanish Crown; the highest award granted nowadays to the composers of art music of Ibero-America. In 1998 he was President of the Jury of the same award.

His wide catalogue covers more than 120 titles and includes, besides his vast production for piano, scores such as Invenciones (Inventions) for chamber orchestra, the Ícaro (Icarus) ballet, Mensaje al futuro (Message to the future) for breaths orchestra, Sinfonía (1945) (Symphony), Movil (Mobile) for seven instruments, Quinteto (Quintet) for breaths, La muerte del guerrillero (The death of the Guerrilla fighter) for narrator and orchestra.