A member of G. Schirmer’s prestigious roster of artists, identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has travelled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
Among recent numerous awards, Frank has received a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2009 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, a 2010 Grammy nomination nod for Best Crossover Album, and a 2010 United States Artists Fellowship given each year to fifty of America’s finest artists. Her compositions have been described as «luminous… bursting with fresh originality» (Los Angeles Times), «brilliantly effective» (New York Times) «of unearthly beauty» (Miami Sun-Sentinel), and «[belonging to] one of the most compelling voices on the classical music scene today» (Chicago Tribune). In 2011, the all-Frank Naxos CD «Hilos» broke into the top 100 classical recordings on Billboard in the first week of its release while garnering a rare 10/10 rating review from Classics Today that praised her both as composer and concert pianist. She is the subject of the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary «Peregrinos: A Musical Journey» about her work with the Indianapolis Symphony creating music inspired by the stories of Latino immigrants. In 2012, she will be featured prominently in a new Norton anthology on Latin AFrank works regularly with some of the most important artists today, having written for the Kronos Quartet, cellist Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (of which is she is a member), the King’s Singers, soprano Dawn Upshaw and guitarist Manuel Barrueco, among others. Pulitzer Prize playwright Nilo Cruz frequently partners with Frank as her lyricist for vocal works, and a new collaborator in 2012 will be renowned jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera. Performed regularly by the premiere orchestras of the US, Frank is currently composing new pieces for the Cleveland Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as works for the Los Angeles Master Chorale (in collaboration with the Andean music band Huayucaltia), Astral Artistic Services, Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man and the San Francisco Girls Chorus, among many others.