b. 1943, Spain

José Evangelista’s compositional style explores ways of making music based exclusively on melody. Evangelista has developed a heterophonic writing style, both for instruments and orchestra, in which the melodic line generates echoes of itself and creates an illusion of polyphony. His music draws its roots from an enlarged vision of tradition: to his Spanish origins he has added the influence of the Indonesian gamelan, the Western avant-garde and that of modal music. 

Evangelista was born in Valencia, Spain. He began his musical studies with Vicente Asencio while simultaneously studying physics. Later work in computers led him to Canada. Settling in Montreal in 1970, he studied composition with André Prévost and Bruce Mather. 

He is a founding member of several concert societies, and has received several awards and numerous commissions, among others, from Itinéraire (Paris), the Kronos Quartet, the Groupe vocal de France, the SMCQ and the CBC. His works have been performed in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.

Since 1979 he has been a professor at the University of Montreal where he created the Balinese Gamelan Workshop in 1987. 

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
02/24/2010 Cantares Listen Close

'Cantares' ('Singings') is based on sixteen traditional Spanish songs, mostly from Castile. Encompassing religious songs, love songs, social songs, and a lullaby, much of the material would originally have been sung a cappella, with only rhythmic accompaniment. Evangelista sought a way of presenting them in new ways without imposing a harmonic language.