Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, born in Pfaffenhofen-an-der-Ilm, Germany in 1969, is of Kurdish descent but has never lived in his ethnic homeland or in the town where he was born. Educated in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Austria, Poland and the United States, Dr. Gawlick holds degrees from the University of California in Santa Barbara (BM cum laude), the University of Texas at Austin (MM) and the New England Conservatory of Music (DMA).
Similarly, his music travels far afield by drawing inspiration from and engaging with literary, visual, and musical landscapes both in time and place. This dialogue across centuries and among the arts informs much of his solo, chamber, orchestral, film, and vocal music. Through noteworthy festivals, recordings, and commissions, his work has received both national and international recognition, including grants, fellowships, and awards from the American Composers Orchestra, American Music Center, ASCAP, SCI, the Moniuszko Musical Society, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Augustine Foundation, the Britten-on-the-Bay International Piano Composition Competition, the 1st Karol Szymanowski International Composers Competition, and most recently the Red Note New Music Festival International Composition Competition.
Groups championing Mr. Gawlick’s works include the Slovak State Philharmonic, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the American Composers Orchestra, the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Sinfonietta Polonia, the New England Conservatory Classical Orchestra, the Knabenchor der Chorakademie Dortmund, the Gütersloh Knabenchor, the Poznan Boy’s Choir, the Treble Chorus of New England, Youth Pro Musica, New York’s Music at the Anthology (MATA), Composers in Red Sneakers, Majestic Brass, the Hawthorne and Atma String Quartets, as well as numerous new music ensembles and distinguished soloists.
In 2003, Mr. Gawlick was the American selection at the 1st Festival of Contemporary Art in Kosice, Slovakia. Zrodlo, for soprano solo, mixed chorus and full orchestra, was commissioned in 2004 for the 25th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Boston and the United States. The following year, his work At the still point of the turning world for solo violoncello was selected by the Miami ISCM Section as one of six works sent to the 2005 World Music Days in Zagreb, Croatia, representing the United States.
His works include solo, chamber, orchestral and choral music as well as music for a film documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary (2009) of the fall of the Berlin Wall, music commissioned by the German Embassy (Washington D.C.) and Boston College. The world première of his cantata Kinderkreuzzug in April 2010, written for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, was supported by the German Consulate General Boston, the Jesuit Institute, Boston College as well as the Goethe Institutes in Boston and Munich. In addition to the European première of Kinderkreuzzug in Dortmund, Germany, in June 2012, and a performance for the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII in Poland, August, 2014, his song-cycle Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände) was performed at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln by soprano Anne Harley and guitarist Eliot Fisk in April 2013. Missa gentis humanæ, a Mass for eight-voice a cappella choir was recently premièred by Julian Wachner and the GRAMMY-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Mr. Gawlick’s music, broadcast on National Public Radio, is available on Musica Omnia and the Capstone label.
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick teaches at Boston College and his music is available through ECS Publishing, Brazinmusikanta Publications and the American Music Center. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife, Basia, and their two children.