Luis de Pablo was born in Bilbao.2021 After losing his father in the Spanish Civil War, he went with his mother and siblings to live in Madrid from age six. Although he started to compose at the age of 12, his circumstances made it impossible to consider an artistic career, and so he studied law at the Complutense University of Madrid. For a short time after graduating in 1952, he was employed as legal advisor to Iberia Airlines, but soon resigned this post in order to pursue a career in music. As a composer, he was essentially an autodidact. He travelled to the Darmstädter Ferienkurse in the 1960s, where he met Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, Bruno Maderna, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In Paris, he studied with Max Deutsch and Maurice Ohana. His participation at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse in 1959 led to the performance of some of his works under Boulez and Maderna.
De Pablo and Cristobal Halffter are regarded as key members of a group called Generación del 51, formed by young composers at the time they finished their studies, with a mission to connect music in Spain to musical developments in Europe after the Civil War. De Pablo adapted atonalism, serialism, aleatory forms, use of electronics and graphic notation. In 1958, he co-founded the group Grupo Nueva Musica, and in 1959, Tiempo y Musica. He organised several contemporary music concert series, for example the Forum Musical and Bienal de Música Contemporánea de Madrid. He was particularly concerned with promoting appreciation in Spain of the Second Viennese School, publishing translations of Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt's biography of Arnold Schoenberg in 1961, and texts by Anton Webern in 1963. In 1965, he founded the first studio for electronic music in Spain, with the group Alea. He founded a festival, Rencontres de Pampelune, for music, theatre, film and the arts in 1972. He was accused of giving too much prominence to "left-wing art" by the Franco regime, but also of being a supporter of that regime by ETA. When one of the festival's patrons was kidnapped by ETA, the event was cancelled, and De Pablo went into exile in the U.S. and Canada, returning only after Franco's death.
De Pablo composed film scores, collorating with directors such as Víctor Erice (The Spirit of the Beehive) and Carlos Saura (The Hunt). His opera Kiu is based on Alfonso Vallejo's farce Zero Temperature. The world premiere of his opera La señorita Cristina (Miss Cristina), based on a novel by Mircea Eliade, with a stage design by José Hernández, took place in 2001 at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
De Pablo began teaching at the Madrid Conservatory in 1971. In exile, he lectured at the University of Buffalo, and later at the University of Ottawa and the University of Montreal. He resumed teaching in Spain upon his return. De Pablo was awarded Spain's Premio Nacional de Música for composition in 1991, among many other awards
His music is published by Salabert / Universal Classics & Screen
Photo : © De San Bernardo