Award-winning composer Albert CARBONELL Sauri was born in Barcelona (Catalonia) where he began his musical studies at the Conservatory Superior of Music of Barcelona, graduating with top honors (summa cum laude) in percussion, harmony, fugue, composition, and orchestration. At the CSMMB he studied piano with Albada Olaya and Miquel Farré, percussion with Santi Molas and Xavier Joaquín, harmony with Vicens Acuña and Xavier Boliart, counterpoint with Mª Àngels Reixach and Josep Poch, composition and orchestration with Carles Guinovart and orchestral conducting with Albert Argudo.
During his career he has received several awards, grants, and scholarships, among them the grant from the Spanish Association of Artists and Performers (AIE) the years 1994 and 1995, the grant from the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers ("Fundación Autor/SGAE") the year 1999 and the "Foundation Agustí Pedro Pons" Scholarship from the University of Barcelona (UB) in 2000. He completed advanced courses at the Manuel de Falla International Music Composition Course in Granada studying with Franco Donatoni (1996) and at the Veruela International Music Composition Festival “Música Viva” with Samuel Adler, Leon Schidlowsky, and Yitzhak Sadai (1997).
He moved to New York City in 1999, with a grant from the Fundación Autor/SGAE (the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers), to study at the Juilliard School of Music. After receiving a Fulbright Scholarship in 2001, he completed his Master of Music at the Mannes College of Music (2002-04) studying composition with David Loeb, music theory with Robert Cuckson, and Schenkerian analysis with Carl Schachter. In 2004 he was appointed composer in residence at the "Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance of New York City" under the direction of prestigious avant-garde American-French contemporary pianist Marc Ponthus, being Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and Mario Davidovsky members of the board. In 2012 he wrote the incidental music for the Off-Broadway production of Teresa’s Ecstasy premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village (Manhattan, New York City). The play was directed by Will Pomerantz and the cast included playwright Begoña Plaza and co-stars Shawn Elliott and Linda Larkin. In 2017 his piece Sketches was chosen among 110 works for the final round at the third "Krzysztof Penderecki International Composers' Competition" in Radom (Poland) being Krzysztof Penderecki himself at the concert as the head of the Jury.
His catalog is varied and includes pieces for solo instruments, chamber music, string orchestra, symphonic orchestra, choral works, as well as theatrical pieces, pedagogical works, and children's songs. His style is characterized by a sophisticated use of the counterpoint, a marked preference for the new graph, a strong influence of the traditional harmony, an intricate and meticulous predilection for the timbre effects, as well as a taste for the new extended techniques. His projects include the re-harmonization of the Catalan traditional Songbook for mixed choir SATB "a cappella" (a collection of 9 songbooks with more than eight hundred songs arranged for choir) and his approach to the Catalogue of Birds (a collection of one hundred short pieces for solo piano dedicated to Olivier Messiaen).
His work explores a new personal compositional process inspired by the technique of the "Trencadís" a Catalan term that means "broken" or "chopped" and is the name of an artistic method that was popularised by the most famous architects of the Catalan Modernism like Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Antoni Gaudí. A mosaic-like effect, this technique is achieved by cementing together random shards and pieces of broken chinaware, piece by piece like a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes other materials are used, like glass, buttons, or shells. In music this is achieved by the use of a unique timbrical approach and the elaboration of a "parametric counterpoint" (a texture where various parameters of a composition -pitch, rhythm, playing technique, timbre- operate as though they are independent variables or lines, played off against one another) creating a contrapuntal writing that explores the use of minimalistic small cells that are interconnected and expanded through space and time, creating a mesmerizing and hypnotic texture.

Awards & Grants

- Finalist at the International Composition Competition “Alfred Schnittke” 6th Edition (2023) with the work Metamorphosis I- Finalist at the III Krzysztof Penderecki International Composers' Competition (2017) with the work Sketches- 1st. Prize at XXIV Premi Musical de Composició per a cobla Ceret-Banyoles. (2007) with Concertone (new version for cobla)- 1st Prize project "Opera a secundària" by the "Gran Teatre del Liceu" (City Opera Hall in Barcelona) (2005) with the Children's opera Lisístrata- 1st Prize Bohuslav Martinu Award (2004) with the piece Chance "Atzar"- Honorary Prize at the "Murray Schafer" Composition Competition. Poland (1999) with The sepherd's boy- Prize as the best Catalan Composer at the 11th "Francesc Civil" Prize in Composition. (2001) with The magic square- 1st. Prize at the "III Concurs Internacional de Composició" de Música de Càmara de Montserrat (València). (2001) with Seqüencies- 1st. Prize "5th Composition Competition for Christmas Carols" Fundacion Caja de Granada. (1999) with Benid a Belen- 1st Prize Sardanes SGAE (1999) with Cant d'enyorança- 1st. Prize "Premi Ramon Serrat per a compositors de sardanes". Terrassa. (1999) with the sardana Eixerida- Premi d'Honor Grau Superior de Composició (1998)- Premi d'Honor Grau Superior d'Instrumentació (1998)- Special Youth Award at the XIVth Premi Musical de Composició per a cobla Ceret-Banyoles. (1998) Nyeros i Cadells- 1st Prize at the Chamber Composition Competition "Joaquim Maideu". Category A. Vic (1998) with El petit bestiari- 1st Prize at the Chamber Composition Competition "Joaquim Maideu". Category B. Vic (1998) with Variations- Grant by "Fundació Caixa Sabadell" (1996-97)- 1st. Prize of the "Agrupació Sardanista de Taradell". (1996) with the sardana Aplec daurat- 1st Prize Sardanes SGAE (1995) with the sardana Bellsolar- Special Award at the VIIIth Premi Musical de Composició per a cobla Ceret-Banyoles. (1992) La ciutat llunyana- Special Award at the VIth Premi Musical de Composició per a cobla Ceret-Banyoles. (1990) with El silenci del bosc

Scholarships & Certificates

- Fulbright Fellowship (2002-04)- Mannes College of Music Merit Scholarship. (2002-04)- "Fundació Agustí Pedro i Pons" (Universitat de Barcelona). Scholarship (2001)- "Fundación Autor/SGAE" (Spanish Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) Scholarship (2000)- "Fundacón Autor/SGAE" (Spanish Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) Scholarship (1998)- "Artistas Interpretes y Ejecutantes" (Beca AIE). Scholarship (1994 and 1995)- "Fundació Caixa Catalunya". Scholarship to assist to the Summer Festival in Torruella de Montgrí (Girona) 1992.- Master of Music by the "Mannes College of Music" (the "New School University") (2004)- Graduate Superior Professor of "Conducting" (2001)- Graduate Superior Professor of "Harmony, Counterpoint, Composition and Instrumentation" (1998)- Graduate Superior Professor of "Solfege, Music Theory, Transposition and Accompaniment" (1997)- Graduate Superior Professor of "Percussion" (1996)- Graduate Superior Professor of "Music Pedagogy" (1996)


* Rehearsal with conductor Carlos Checa and the JOSB (Jove Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona) at the Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona) 11/26/2023.
© photos by Nacho Roca