By: Montse Andreu

One would think that the so long fought for equality of the sexes should have reached the adequate levels with respect to the chances that women have to succeed in the field of alternative musics. This is not so. And nevertheless, there are women who have devoted part (or all) of their careers to electronic, experimental composition, who have a great deal of talent. The objective of this series is to make some of these names known to the interested readers.


Teresa Borrás Fornell, a Catalan composer born in Manresa (Spain) on July 30, 1923, starts her musical studies at age eight in Manresa, and soon after she pursues her musical education at the Conservatoire of the Liceu in Barcelona, where she specializes in piano, harmony and guitar, among her first professors being Molinari and Cervera. Teresa Borrás later studies counterpoint, harmony and composition "at a much more advanced level than at the Liceu", she points out, with professor C. Taltabull, besides having studied harpsichord for two years at the "Conservatorio Superior Municipal de Música" in Barcelona (Higher Conservatoire of Music). At a recent interview with the composer, she comments: "I have always been interested in novelties and have attended several post-graduate courses". The artist has taught the piano and guitar at the "Escuela Municipal de Manresa" (Manresa Municipal School) for seven years, and later on, piano and harmony at the "Escuela de Música de Mataró" (Mataró School Of Music). Teresa Borrás is awarded a grant at the Chigiana Academy of Siena, in Italy, thanks to which she can attend post-graduate studies in composition in this country tutored by Frazzi, where she specializes in Composition, besides her additional studies in piano, attending Agosti's classes after obtaining another scholarship in 1952. This same year she attends a course in movie soundtrack music, "It was a very interesting experience", she explains. In 1979 Teresa Borras gets a new grant in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and studies Composition with Rodolfo Halffter. "This one was a very interesting course as well, about Manuel de Falla's work, whose advanced conception with respect to the time when it was created is virtually unknown today".

As for her creative process, the composer comments: "When I get an inspiration I think, for instance, 'look, this prelude could be for such and such person...' and then I tell them, because in this way I have to develop and finish it. Creativity has its charms as it has its defects. When you see something you have done, I guess the same happens with poetry and with painting, you no longer like it. Two or three days later you would modify it. And of course, this cannot be so, since - if everybody kept perfecting a work over and over again, it would never come to be finished... There comes a point when you must say, 'enough is enough'. When you create a work it is an anguish, yet once you have finished it, it is finished. You must go on to something else. Furthermore, otherwise it would lose all spontaneity. Many of my works are commissioned, for example an oboe professor asked me to create some pieces for his students, and these are already published. The same happened with a trumpet professor. I have written seven concerts for a soloist instrument and orchestra, among many other things..."

Throughout her fruitful career, Teresa Borrás gives several piano recitals and develops a wide task of divulging her own music: "I don't want my music to become lost. I attend as many courses as I can because I love being immersed in the musical environment. What's more, it helps me to make my music known, and you always learn something new in these courses". As for the kind of music she writes, she herself explains, "my music has undergone an evolution. Some of my works lack measure, others are atonal, bitonal, or contain New Music traits. Other works have been composed in a completely free way, and none of them have been written based on dodecaphonism".

Among her works, mention must be made of the following: the compositions for piano "6 Preludis" ("Preludes") op. 67-13; "Confluències" ("Confluences") op. 75; "6 Estudis op. 76" (1983); "Scherzetto" (1979); "Toccata op. 77"; "Nuvol" ("Cloud") op. 83 (1983); "Lluny" ("Far Away") (1983); "Sardana" (1985). Besides these, Teresa Borrás composes works for other acoustic instruments, such as, for instance: "Preludis 1, 2, 3" (1970) op. 46, for harp; "Danzas Españolas" ("Spanish Dances") 3 op. 48" (1970) for harp; "Paisatge" ("Landscape") (1972) op. 53, for harp; "Cinco Danzas" ("Five Dances") (1954) op. 7 for guitar, (1993); "6 Estudis per a oboe solista" ( "6 Etudes for soloist oboe") (1993); "Tiento" ("Feel") (1993) op. 125, for guitar; "Dues peces per Carilló", ("two pieces for carillon", premiered with the carillon of the Generalitat de Catalunya ,the government body for the Catalonian Autonomic Community) in 1994; "Trio" (1992) op. 112 composed for flute, clarinet and bassoon; "Matinal" (Sardana) op. 113. for clarinet, corno di bassetto and piano; "Cuttings" (1995) op. 141, a work composed for two trumpets and two trombones; "Laberint" ("Labyrinth") (1994) op. 129, composed for bassoon and piano; "Quartet" (1991) op. 103, for two violins, viola and cello; "5 Miniatures" op. 142 (1995), for 4 Clarinets; "Concert op.64" (1975) for two soloist flutes and string orchestra, premiered by the Chamber Orchestra of Engelberg in Peñiscola in 1990; "Concert op. 65" (1976) for soloist bassoon and string orchestra, for piccolo timpani; "Rondó" (1990) op. 100, for string orchestra, premiered by the Chamber Orchestra of the Empordà in Barcelona; "Oreig" op. 29 (1967) a "Sardana", premiered by the Cobla Barcelona in 1973; "Burriac", op. 30 (1967), another "Sardana", also premiered by the Cobla Barcelona; "Concert op. 106" (1992) for soloist viola and string orchestra; "Concert op. 116" (1994) for soloist English horn and string orchestra; "Concert" op. 122 (1993) for soloist clarinet and basset- horn and string orchestra; "Ones" ("Waves"), op. 154, for flute and piano, premiered in Mataró (Barcelona) on June 7, 1997. Her musical scores have been published by Casa Beethoven Publicacions and Ed. Clivis, and her recordings can be found under the label Rec. Audiovisuals de Sarrià.

Born in 1956 in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, this composer settles in Quebec in 1959. She starts learning music with her aunt Cecile  Bourgeois, who gives her some private lessons, and continues with Edna Hawkins. Later she moves to La Cite des jeunes de Vaudreuil. From 1973 to 1975, she studies at the Ecole de musique Vincent d'Indy, specializing in piano and flute. Graduating in composition at the faculty of music of the University of Montreal, she also studies New Music analysis. She also is a member of the New Music Workshop conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt. Between 1982 and 1987, Michelle attends various courses on electroacoustic music at McGill University. Having received several grants and awards from the Canada Council, she has been able to devote her time to composing music. The artist has won in two different occasions the CAPAC's William St. Clair Low Award. A member of the ACREQ (Association pour la creation et la recherche electroacoustiques du Quebec), she also is the founder and artistic director of Musiques Itinerantes. Her compositions are characterized by the research she usually makes on matter, structure, gesture and the theatrical and visual integration. She has collaborated with such visual artists as Luc Bourbonnais and Lise-Helene Larin. In her opinion, the means provided by electroacoustic music, the musical traditions all over the world, culture and society are essential for the development and evoluiton of the musical language.

Essential works: Music Theatre and Multi-media: * Ce tas de miroirs brises (1991). * Hymne Territorial (1986). * Le Magasin Pittoresque (1986). * Puits Sonore (1986). Chamber: * Enneanne (1983). * Jeux et Figures (1979).  Vocal: * Croissances Croisees (1980)


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