In Luce Praesenti

‘There is little music as delicate and evocative as that of Miquel Oliu. Mastery of materials, extraordinarily fluid form, penetrating poetic images, profound silences, and exceptional communicative ability: a brilliant composer.’ This is how composer Ramon Humet presents the music of Miquel Oliu.

Miquel Oliu won the prestigious Reina Sofia Prize for Music Composition in 2015. In Luce Praesenti, commissioned by L’Auditori and premiered by the OBC and Juanjo Mena in 2021, evidences a sound universe full of detail and subtlety. With an orchestration full of French reminiscences, the work sketches a clear and clean structure, without artifice or elements that seek contradictions in its formal development.

OBC musicians



Inspired by John 1:5 (‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it’), In luce praesenti reveals a sound universe replete with details and subtleties. With an orchestration full of French musings – from Claude Debussy to some sounds that are reminiscent of the pioneers of Spectral music, Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail – the work showcases a clear and clean structure, without artifice or elements that seek contradictions in its formal development.  

The music obeys a diaphanous concept, which is based on the relationship between light and darkness. In this sense, the work suggests images of the creation and transformation of light, as well as its absence. Especially in the use of what we could call orchestrated silence (for example, sections with harmonics in the strings, soft and treble) which, together with movements between the orchestra’s low and high registers, creates an extremely visual listening experience, in which listeners can imagine how the sun’s rays move through the branches and leaves of a tree while a gentle wind stirs them.  

Regarding the progression of the piece, the composer explains that In luce praesenti is structured in ‘three large sections that open with an ascending movement in glissando, [where] everything leads to an ending that invites one to look within, without directionality, in which breathing and silence progressively gain space’.  

It is precisely this conception of space that is especially captivating in Oliu’s work. The music is unhurried; at no time does it seek a dialectic of fast and slow tempi. Here, time exists as an element of its own, alive and independent, which is bound by careful sounds, evocative of light and its shadows.  

Joan Arnau Pàmies


Honoured with the 32nd Queen Sofia Prize for Musical Composition, Miquel Oliu (Barcelona, 1973) is a composer and pianist. Trained at the Acadèmia Marshall, the Barcelona Conservatory of Music and the Aragon Conservatory of Music, Oliu has a wide-ranging compositional output, with pieces for solo instrument and chamber music, as well as orchestral works.

His contact with fellow composers Ramon Humet and Agustí Charles was an essential and huge leap forward in his creative development. Moreover, Oliu has also received guidance from Benet Casablancas, Josep Soler, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Tristan Murail.

Miquel Oliu combines his composing activity with teaching at the Vic School of Music and Conservatory, where he teaches piano and accompaniment.


Benjamin Shwartz

FIRST VIOLINS: Jaha Lee, Joan Espina, Maria José Aznar, Sarah Bels, Walter Ebenberger, Ana Galán, Katia Novell, María Pilar Pérez, Ana Kovacevic, Neus Navarrete, Laura Pastor, Francesc Puche, Aria Trigas, Yulia Tsuranova | SECOND VIOLINS: Emil Bolozan, Maria José Balaguer, Jana Brauninger, Clàudia Farrés, Mireia Llorens, Melita Murgea, Josep Maria Plana, Paula Banciu, Gabriel Graells, Mar Miñana, Ariana Oroño, Oleksandr Sora | VIOLAS: Benjamin Beck, Christine de Lacoste, David Derrico, Sophie Lasnet, Miquel Serrahima, Adrià Trulls, Celia Libertad Eliaz, Javier López, Johan Rondón | CELLOS: Charles-Antoine Archambault, José Mor, Lourdes Duñó, Vicent Ellegiers, Marc Galobardes, Jean-Baptiste Texier, Irene Cervera, Yoobin Chung | DOUBLE BASSES: Christoph Rahn, Dmitry Smyshlyaev, Albert Prat, Salvador Morera | FLUTES: Sara Ureña, Ricardo Borrull | OBOES: Raquel Pérez-Juana, Disa English | CLARINETS: Larry Passin, Lluís Casanova | BASOONS: Thomas Greaves, Slawomir Krysmalski – contrabagot | FRENCH HORNS: Juan Conrado García, Pablo Marzal | TRUMPETS: Adrián Moscardo, Miguel Herráez | TROMBONES: Gaspar Montsesinos, Carlos Fluixà | TUBA: Daniel Martínez | TIMPANI: Manuel Martínez | PERCUSSION: Ignasi Vila, José Luis Carreres, Daniel Ishanda | HARP: Magdalena Barrera | CELESTA: Jordi Torrent | LIBRARIAN: Begoña Pérez | TECHNICAL COORDINATOR: Ignasi Valero | STAGE MANAGER: Luis Hernández | PLANNING DIRECTOR: Joan Cortés


Album recorded in January 2021 in L’Auditori de Barcelona.

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