José Evangelista

José Evangelista



Born in


Featured work



October 20, 22 and 23. 2016

Composer José Evangelista was born in Valencia, Spain, and almost all his career has evolved on the Montréal music scene. Parallel to his classes in physics and computer science he studied music with Spanish composer Vicente Asencio before settling in Montréal in 1970, at which point he continued his training under composers Bruce Mather and André Prévost, earning a Ph.D. in composition from McGill University in 1984.

Hired by Université de Montréal in 1979, where he occupied the position of professor until 2009, José Evangelista is recognized as the originator of the Balinese Gamelan Workshop there, a traditional orchestra of Indonesian origin. In 1993 he succeeded Denis Gougeon as composer in residence with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for two years. His works have been commissioned by ensembles in both Canada and Europe, and have been performed by a number of renowned ensembles around the planet.

In his creative work, José Evangelista takes an approach aimed at making music an essentially melodic manifestation. Complementing that perspective are the influence of his Spanish origins, and that of gamelan orchestras, which lends his music a rhythmic energy that melds with his melodic writing.


Concert note

José Evangelista’s note on Accelerando

Accelerando is a work commissioned by the OSM to mark the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Metro. Centered on the idea of movement, this music for orchestra made reference to the movement of an engine that starts up, which takes off. Also, acceleration, movement forward, evokes the progress. José Evangelista wanted to celebrate the development achieved during the 50 years of the Montreal metro.


The work revolves around a melody treated cyclically: end goes with his start and then it starts again. We could see a parallel with the movement of the metro which starts from one station to the other. Harmonic color is intimately linked to the melodic conception of the work. It’s the horizontal dimension (melody), which becomes vertically (harmony). About the pace, acceleration is changing between 40 and 132 beats per minute, which helps create the impression of a perpetual movement. Finally, on the anecdotal level, José Evangelista suggests in the melody some of the familiar sounds of our metro, you will probably know.


Accelerando was commissioned from José Evangelista by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal specifically for a concert marking the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Montréal Métro.


– José Evangelista, Salabert Actuels, 1992. (SCD 9102)

La porte ; Plume, SONARt, 1996. (IMSO 9605)


ÉVANGELISTA, José. “Pourquoi composer de la musique monodique,” Circuit, musiques contemporaines, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1990, pp. 55-70.

GOLDMAN, Jonathan. “José Evangelista: Du gamelan balinais à l’hétérophonie contemporaine,” in La création musicale au Québec, under the direction of Jonathan Goldman. Montréal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2014, pp. 77-102.