Elegía andina

Gabriela Lena Frank


Gabriela Frank is one of the most acclaimed contemporary female composers. Born in California to a Jewish father of Lithuanian origin and a mother from a Chinese-Peruvian background, she bases her artistic approach on exploring various cultural and musical identities. It was through the piano that Frank entered the world of music and, from a very young age, she has enjoyed performing not only classical works and ragtimes but also her own compositions, deeply influenced by her mother’s Andean origins. In addition to her activities as a composer, Frank is a pianist specializing in contemporary repertoire. She also hosts emerging young composers at the Gabriela Frank Creative Academy of Music, which she founded in 2017.

“I write to tell stories, and stories exist to enlarge our reality so that we can really be human, not merely a reactive organism.” – Gabriela Frank

Composed in 2000, Elegía Andina is Frank’s first orchestral work. She wrote it following a trip to Peru while she was completing her doctorate at the University of Michigan. In the piece, the composer melds western art music and aspects of traditional Peruvian music. The flute, with its pentatonic harmonies and playing techniques associated with panpipes, and horns that quote El Cholito, a folk tune with a very characteristic beat, evoke stylistic elements of Peruvian music.

© 2022 Florence Leyssieux
Translation by Craig Schweickert