"A century ago, a composer was defined by his nationality. Debussy signed his letters "musicien français." Puccini defined Italian opera. Sibelius was developing into a Finnish national hero. Schoenberg was working toward a musical grammar he vowed would ensure the supremacy of German music for 100 years. Mahler, even torn as he was between being Austrian and being Jewish, grounded his symphonies in the soil of central Europe.
"Today's most ingriguing composers are the migrants, the permanent strangers with intricate histories and adaptable but always foreign accents, whose native country is just a point of departure: Osvaldo Golijov, for instance. Golijov was born in Plata, Argentina, into a family of Orthodox Eastern European Jews, whose older members imported their Yiddish culture to a Catholic land. As a young man he spent several years in Israel, renewing his links to the wellspring of Judaism while avoiding the wellspring of Western concert music Europe.
"Since the mid-1980s he has lived in the Boston area, writing works that blend the flavors of Latin America, the European classical tradition, North American minimalism, and the Judaism of the shtetl, the Bible, and the modern state. He is not a cosmopolitan composer, but one with many roots."
Justin Davidson, Newsday