“Absolute music”

Published: April 2016


Associate professor of music Ralf Yusuf Gawlick has never met his biological mother. He knows only that a young Kurdish woman risked much to travel and give birth to him in Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm, West Germany, and then left him in an orphanage. Forty-seven years later, Gawlick has composed Imagined Memories, a 40-minute “musical memoir” for string quartet that conceives shared experiences between mother and son.

The Hugo Wolf Quartet, whom Gawlick chose to premiere the work, rehearsed the score for three months in their home city of Vienna in early 2016, but Gawlick waited to hear them until he could be in the same room. @BC interviewed the composer in his office on April 21, three days before the quartet landed in Boston, and filmed a rehearsal in O’Connell House, where Gawlick heard his score performed for the first time.

The quartet premiered Imagined Memories in St. Mary’s Chapel on April 28, with a second performance scheduled in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City on April 29.

Gawlick teaches courses in “Tonal Composition” and “Music of the Modern Era” at Boston College.

Listen to a clip from the Hugo Wolf Quartet’s studio recording of Imagined Memories.

This feature was posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016 and is filed under Videos.
Producer: Ravi Jain. Video: Britt Boughner, Paul Dagnello, Ravi Jain