A student of a diverse range of composers, Golijov has blended Argentinean music, traditional Jewish idioms, and modern sounds into a distinctive style. His klezmer-influenced clarinet quintet The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (1994) first brought him to international attention and other works have received considerable acclaim, particularly La Pasión según San Marcos, commissioned by the Stuttgart International Bach Academy in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the death of Bach. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003, was Musical America’s composer of the year in 2006, and won the 2007 Best Classical Contemporary Composition Grammy for his opera Ainadamar.
Golijov wrote the following note about Mariel:
“I wrote this piece in memory of my friend Mariel Stubrin. I attempted to capture that short instant before grief, in which one learns of the sudden death of a friend who was full of life: a single moment frozen forever in one’s memory, and which reverberates through the piece, among the waves and echoes of the Brazilian music that Mariel loved. The work was written for and premiered [in 1999] by Maya Beiser and Steve Schick.”