Golijov Defends Creative Process in Times Interview

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In the wake of the fracas over the authorship of his orchestral piece Sidereus, Osvaldo Golijov has broken his silence in an interview with the New York Times.

Golijov defended his methods after weeks of scrutiny that he borrowed too much from another work by fellow composer Michael Ward-Bergeman while writing the nine-minute Sidereus. He said that the disputed material came from several discarded minutes of “Tetro,” a 2009 film score that the two composers collaborated on. Golijov received the credit for "Tetro" but Ward-Bergeman reportedly helped out on several sections.

"There was this beautiful material," Golijov said. “It didn’t work for the movie, but it worked for music. We decided both: ‘Let’s grab it. Each one can do what he wants.'"

The composer added that it was too difficult to determine who wrote what in the end. "Joint ideas, joint material, same room."

The Times story also reveals that Golijov received $75,000 for the nine-minute piece, which was commissioned by 35 orchestras. The League of American Orchestras put up $50,000 toward the commission while the orchestras themselves put up another $70,000. The $45,000 difference went towards "production costs."

In an e-mail to the newspaper, Ward-Bergeman blamed the “impoverishment of our culture and media” for “judging the artistic process” of Golijov.

Earlier this week, WQXR explored the question of Golijov's borrowing in a Conducting Business podcast. When asked for a comment at the time, his manager, Jonathan Brill, said the composer had "turned off email and phone and asked not to be disturbed."