Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Enrique Ubieta

Sound/soundtrack designer, musical arrangement, music artist, original score

Composer and conductor. He studied at the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana (now known as Amadeo Roldán Conservatory) with Dolores Acosta (theory), Mario O'Hallorans (solfège), and Francisco Villafañe (piano). In 1957 Ubieta joined Teatro de Bellas Artes where he composed incidental music and then worked as a composer and director in film, radio, and television.

Ubieta turned his creative abilities to "phonochromy," a method of musical notation using color to designate dynamics. After studying in the Soviet Union at the Moscow Conservatory with Aram Khachaturian in 1960, Ubieta composed four songs-"Nana," "Estribillo," "Joropiana," and "Los sones de Manzanillo"-creating and demonstrating his compositional technique with "bimodalism," enriching his harmonic palette by juxtaposing major and minor chords.

After living in Paris for one year, Ubieta moved to New York in 1965 where his Ensayo Típico for string orchestra was premiered in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall (1968), and The Cuban Mass was premiered in 1973 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This last work has received numerous performances worldwide and the score is distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation. Also at Carnegie Hall, his first work for guitar, Bimodal, a sonata in one movement, was premiered in 1975.9

In June 2012, the Spanish Government named Ubieta "Miembro de Mérito" for his distinguished service and contributions to international music. At a ceremony held in Madrid at the Teatro Real, the prestigious award was conferred by the King of Spain and presented by the Fundación Carlos III.

Ubieta composed music for the films El Tabaco, Realengo 18, Cowboy, El Papalote, El Súper, and En Sus Propias Palabras. His oeuvre include vocal, orchestral, choral, guitar, a zarzuela (Mefistófeles o El Fausto Cubano) and chamber music works,10 but his piano and guitar piece, New York Rush (published by G. Schirmer, Corp.) and The Cuban Mass are perhaps better known. (Suzanne Dreyer, "Forbidden Songs, Forgotten Treasures." The Journal of Singing 71.4 (Mar-Apr 2015): 433-445).

 

 

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