MacArthur Fellows Program

Osvaldo Golijov

Composer | Class of 2003

Drawing on the rhythms and melodies of his Latin and Jewish heritages to create a sense of wonder and delight at the possibilities of contemporary classical music.

College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, Massachusetts
42 at time of award
Published October 5, 2003

About Osvaldo's Work

Osvaldo Golijov is a composer who blends classical forms with the rhythms and melodies of other genres to create a concert experience that resonates deeply with contemporary audiences. Drawing on diverse musical (e.g., tango, roma, and klezmer) and literary traditions (such as the poems of Emily Dickinson and Pablo Neruda), Golijov’s compositions exhibit a fresh, powerful style. Golijov synthesized the prayers and folk songs of his Jewish heritage with the Latin and classical traditions of his Argentine homeland to craft two pieces, Yiddishbbuk (1992) and The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (1994), that seamlessly harmonize the disparate customs of his youth. His recent Pasión Según San Marcos (2000) further explores his syncretic musical heritage as it stylistically and visually reimagines Bach’s Passions on the streets of Cuba and Brazil. This latest work, a sophisticated play on the word and concept of passion, exemplifies the way in which Golijov’s thoughtful artistry is enlivening and expanding the breadth of the contemporary classical music scene.


Osvaldo Golijov studied composition at the Rubin Academy of Jerusalem and received his Ph.D. (1990) from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center (1990) before joining the Department of Music at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1991. Golijov also serves on the faculties of the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center. His works have been performed by numerous ensembles and orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Sinfonietta.

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