Mario Davidovsky

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Davidovsky was an important American composer, particularly noted for compositions combining the live musical instruments with pre-taped electronic music.
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Mario Davidovsky was a renowned composer who is best known for his work in electronic music. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for his Synchronism No. 6 for piano and tape.

Davidovsky began his musical training at the early age of 7 while still residing in Argentina. He went on to study at the Collegium Musicium before entering the Bartolome Mitre School at the University of Buenos Aires. He began composing at age 13 and studied under Guillermo Graetzer.

In 1958, Davidovsky traveled to the U.S. to study at the Berkshire Music Center with Aaron Copland, who was not a fan of electronic music, believing it to be limited by its reliance on electronic media. Milton Babbitt encouraged Davidovsky to permanently move to New York City in 1960. After coming to the U.S., he taught at the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, City University, CUNY, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan. He also was a visiting professor at the Di Tella Institute in Argentina, and in January 1994, he joined the music department at Harvard University.

In addition to his teaching and composing, Davidovsky served as director of the Koussevitsky Foundation at the Library of Congress, director of the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, and chairman of the Electronic Music Center at Columbia University. He founded and served as the vice president of the Robert Miller Fund for Music. Davidovsky was the recipient of numerous awards and commissions. He received two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Brandeis Creative University Creative Arts Award, a Koussevitsky Fellowship, the Williams Foundation Fellowship, and two Rockefeller Fellowships. He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982. In 1997, he received the honored Christopher and Stephan Kaske Foundation Music prize for his contributions in developing contemporary music.

His many commissions came from such prestigious institutions as Harvard's Fromm Foundation, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Pan American Union, the Koussevitsky Foundation, Yale University, the Emerson String Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, he received commissions from Speculum Musicae, the Naumburg Foundation, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Davidovsky was perhaps best known for combining live instrumental performances with pre-recorded electronic sound. He composed a series of eight Synchronisms for various instruments.