Carlos Surinach

Born on 4 March 1915 in Barcelona, Carlos Surinach was among this century’s premier composers for the dance. His works combined the fiery imagery of his native Spain with the technical sophistication of his German musical education. Studies in composition at the Barcelona Conservatory were followed by advanced work at the Düsseldorf Conservatory, the Cologne Hochschule, and Berlin’s Prussian Academy as well as at lecture-seminars under Strauss. He was conductor of the Barcelona Philharmonic and the orchestra of the Gran Teatro del Liceo conducting the world premier of Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas and the concert for tow pianos by Poulenc , with Poulenc and Alicia de Larrocha as soloists. He later moved to the United States in 1951 where he gained renown as both composer and conductor.

In the United States, Surinach’s scores were quickly picked up by choreographers and dance companies including Martha Graham and the Joffrey Ballet. Graham included his Acrobats of God and Embattled Garden in her Edinburgh Festival programs and the Joffrey programmed his Feast of Ashes for their Russian tour in 1963. An impressive body of orchestral, choral, and chamber music as well as music for the dance is uniquely colored by Surinach’s innate sense of rhythm and melody.

Surinach taught at Carnegie Mellon University and received commissions and grants from the Louisville Orchestra, Ricordi, the Rothschild Foundation, Martha Graham, MGM Records, and many other institutions. He was awarded England’s Bax Society Medal for Non Commonwealth Composers in 1966 and the Spanish title of Knight Commander of the Order of Isabella I of Castille in 1972.


Year Title Instruments Choreographer Publisher
1945 Passacaglia-Symphony orquestra piece
1945 Ritmo Jondo orquestra piece D Humphrey Associated
1946 Danza andaluza chbe orch
1947 El mozo que casó con mujer brava opera Paul Goube
1953 Embattled Graden ballet Martha Grahm
1953 sinfonietta flamenca orch
1954 Fandago orch
1957 Sinfonia chica orch
1959 Concerto for orchestra orch
1960 Acrobats of God ballet Martha Graham Associated
1960 Apasionada ballet Palu Long
1960 David and Bathshedba ballet J Butler
1962 Symphonic variationes orch
1965 Venta quemada ballet P. Lang
1966 Melorhythmic Dramas orch
1967 Agathe’s Tale ballet P Taylor
1967 Suite Española ballet Udaeta
1977 The Owl and the Pussycat ballet Martha Grahm
1978 Blood Wedding Ballet Terekhov
1949-50 Symphony no 2 orch
1964-65 Los renegados ballet j: Anduze


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1944 Piano quartet pf,vn,va,vc
1953 Tientos fl,ob,cl,va,vc,hp
1954 tres Cantos berbers fl,ob,cl,va,vc,hp
1965 Flamenco meditations vn pf
1967 Flamenco cyclothymia vn pf Peer
1970 Via Crucis vv gui
1973 Players vn gui
1974 Sting quartet vn vn va vc Associated
4 tonadas del siglo 18 various Peer


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1963 Cant de San Juan SATB
1964 Songs of the Soul SATB
1969 The Missions of San Antonio male vv orch


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1954 Doppio concertino vn,pf,9 insts
1956 Concertino pf, str, cym Associated
1973 Piano Concerto orch
1978 Concerto for strings str orch
1978 Harp concerto orch
1980 Violin concerto orch

Doppio concertino

Year Title Instruments Publisher
1979 Feast of ashes ballet


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1956 Feria magica orch Associated
1965 Drama jondo orch
1973 The trumpets of the Seraphin orch


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1953 Tres canciones y dansas pf Peer
1955 Flaminquerias 2 pf Peer
1958 Sonatina pf Peer
1974 Acrobacias de dios pf C.F.Peters


Year Title Instruments Publisher
1945 Tres canciones S pf or chbr
1958 Tres cantares S pf