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Roberto Gerhard

Composer; born 15 September 1896, Valls, Catalonia, died 5 January 1970, Cambridge.


Roberto Gerhard was born in Catalonia to a German/Swiss father and a mother originally from Alsace. He studied piano with Granados and composition with Felipe Pedrell. In the 1920s he spent several years studying with Arnold Schoenberg in Vienna and Berlin. He returned to Barcelona in 1928 and became an important advocate of contemporary music in Catalonia and beyond. Among his friends were Pablo Casals and Joan Miro.

As a republican, Gerhard had to emigrate in 1939. He settled in Cambridge and continued to write major works in England, including the ballet Don Quixote which was produced at Covent Garden, and the opera The Duenna which was broadcast by the BBC.

In the 1950s Gerhard became one of the first composers in England to explore the possibilities of electronic music. Catalan culture remained at the centre of his work, but despite his increasingly international reputation Spain remained closed to him as a composer until the end of his life.

Links and sources

Roberto Gerhard on Wikipedia
Roberto Gerhard Archive at Cambridge University Library
Roberto Gerhard at Boosey & Hawkes
Roberto Gerhard official website