Pablo E. Furman

All material in this website, including music, is copyright of Pablo E. Furman.  No reproduction and/or distribution is allowed without explicit and written permission from Pablo E. Furman.

Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra

I. Suspiros y tambores (Sighs and Drums)
       Interlude for harp

II. Aire de milonga - breathless
      Interlude for percussion

III. La comparsa (The Carnaval Parade Troupe)

An Inaugural Fanfare, for brass ensemble and percussion


Composed for the investiture of the president of San José State University. Performed by the SJSU Wind Ensemble, Dr. Edward

Harris conducting, and Dr. Kathryn James Adduci, Stephen Ruppenthal, Jack Goodwin, solo trumpets.

The Singing Icons, for large orchestra and choir


MIDI mock recording available on request

The Singing Icons takes its title from, and is inspired by, the Eastern Orthodox bell-ringing tradition in which bells are believed to sonically define the acoustical space of the liturgy.  In The Singing Icons, the bells are icons of collective memories. The bells are imaginary, but alive as agents of human passion. Their rhythm crystallizes in our minds the ideals of life, celebration of the human spirit, and of freedom. In this imaginary landscape, the bronze icons come to life. The choir - the voice of the bells - fulfills its role through onomatopoeic vocalizations and percussive effects. The few actual words sung by the choir are specific to bell ringing and are in different languages including English, Greek, Russian, Chinese, German, Latin, and French. 

Paso del fuego, for string quartet and string orchestra

I. Preludio y coral

II. Triste

III. Fantasía del bailarín

IV. Romance arioso

V. Capricho a cuatro arcos

"A STUNNING WORLD PREMIERE - To hear this piece is to be carried along a road of blazing colors, through rugged terrain that's virtually sand- blasted by rhythm and topped with melodies speak- ing of beautiful doom. It grabs the gut. It fascinates. It should be performed far and wide...

sometimes music speaks on an intuitive level: Listening to "Paso del Fuego," one simply knows that every choice of note, chord and effect has been carefully and rightly made by a composer who is in steady control of his craft." - San Jose Mercury News

Pneumatic Variations, for classical accordion and chamber orchestra


This was a commission for a short piece to end the last concert of the 20th anniversary season of the orchestra, and to showcase a virtuoso classical accordion player. 
Spokes, gears and cranks, air chambers and varying pressures, flywheels and levers, the machine grinds a spirited industrial metamorphosis. The accordion churns away freed from its inherited expectations, showcased in a ride of musical fancy. The music, loosely cast as a set of variations, is based on thematic material inspired by the action of the accordion’s bellows, its breathing apparatus and leading driver of the performing forces.

Concertino, for bandoneon and string orchestra

This  was a commission to write an accessible piece inspired by tango. The following are the 2nd and  3rd movements, recorded during a live performance, edited.


I.  Recitativo y aria

II.  Ramal sur (Southern Rail Line)

III. Laberintos y añoranzas

IV.  Entreveros

The bandoneón is the soul of Argentina, land of city-scapes and pampas, of adventures, aromas, first loves, mate (green tea) rituals, nostalgia and introspective pessimism, lunfardo and perennial bar polemics. It is a land of hopes fulfilled and of shattered dreams, of unqualified splendor and utter disillusionment, of noble history and disgraceful recent past. All these collective memories come to bear weight on this work, and all are imbedded in the sound of the bandoneón. 

Mvt. III - The poet Jorge Luis Borges vacationed in Adrogué, a town in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires where I grew up, and wrote about it in numerous occasions. It is a place of “bucolic houses and iron fences (quintas y verjas)” wrote Borges, “enveloped by the medicinal aroma of eucalyptus trees, that ancient smell; traced by a tranquil labyrinth of canopied streets radiating from its numerous squares. A place,” he continued, “to loose oneself in.” I remember "loosing myself in,” walking a different route each time while contemplating very important things or nothing, according to the occasion.


"...Furman's piece, which matches the fire and dignity of tango, goes well beyond homage. It feels like an evocation of collective and personal memory. Its second movement, in particular, conveys a wistful, lost-in-thought lyricism. Furman's program notes allude to his wanderings through the "tranquil labyrinth of canopied streets" in the very same Buenos Aires neighborhood that once inspired Jorge Luis Borges; the "memories" rise over a throbbing ostinato in the form of arching melodies for bandonéon, cello, viola and violin. Through all three movements, there was a compressed energy... at once edgy, lyrical and conversational. This sort of easy virtuosity is an illusion, inasmuch as the bandonéon is a wickedly difficult instrument with its double keyboard and myriad buttons." - San Jose Mercury News

Obertura de la lira encantada, computer processed piano sounds

A piano harp (the one used to extract the sound samples) provided the inspiration for the idea of a magical environment, deep inside the acoustical universe of the instrument (a lyre), in which one could touch every physical parameter and make music unremittingly.

Vox Chordae, for chamber orchestra (3 excerpts)


This work is a Koussevitzky commission award. It is in a more abstract style with focus on lively colors.

In a surreal landscape strings instruments dictate the sounding of musical ideas. The “voice [or call] of the strings” is an instrument inspired sound voyage. Melodies, harmonies, textures and gestures are presented through the perspective of the string instrument as if, in a fantastic rendezvous, the strings had taken control of the performance space, picked up scattered notes and revealed them through their idiosyncratic acoustical nature. 

Trip to Twelve Tone Town, for piano


A series of miniatures for children based on the tone row of Anton Webern’s 1924 Kinderstück. The work is intended to introduce the 12-tone technique to young audiences in a lighthearted manner. Upcoming CD recording by pianist Janis Mercer.

  1. “Can you count to twelve?” requires the player to figure out how to sound all 12 pitches simultaneously without using the damper pedal.

  2. “Retro Rock” presents the tone row in reverse order and in a retro-music style.

  3. “How far can you reach” explores dynamic contrast, tone color, and extreme registers with two statements of the row that start around the middle of the keyboard.

Sureña, for violin and electronic sounds


I. Cadenza y danza in moto perpetuo

II. El colibrí mágico (the magic hummingbird)

III. El campanario de San Miguel

IV. Nubes de Magallanes (The Clouds of Magelan Galaxy)

V. Milonga rota

Patricia Strange, Violin

"...a mesmerising protagonist in Pablo Furman's Sureña: Memorias Australes , during which the violinist's effusions are processed and transformed by the composer at his laptop. Pizzicato passages return sounding like Javanese temple gongs, birds flutter, an Argentine dance emerges from loudspeakers and Jennings solos in a concerto whose accompaniment is of his own devising." - Financial Times

"Live runs danced around the pre-recorded and distressed tracks for effects that felt timeless: hugely amplified violin served as narrow present, with computer-vague prophecies and electronic echoes." - Piedmont Post

CD Recording: Patricia Strange - "Ghost Strings" ( )

, computer processed soprano voice

Erie Mills, soprano

The composition is inspired by traditional liturgical texts and created in response to the horror of human violence and suffering in the early 2000s. It is a contemplative and introspective exploration of the impressions suggested by the vocal rendition. All source materials are derived from the recording of the original tune used to set the Latin text and sung, unaccompanied, by acclaimed soprano Erie Mills (Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera among her main performance stages). The voice and the pandiatonic melody are treated to various technical and musical processes in an attempt to affect the perception of dramatic content. The work follows a loosely programmatic scheme modeled after the texts:

Prologue of the sabres of war


Tu pauperum refugium  refuge of the poor

Languorum remedium  alleviator of weakness

Spes exulum, fortitudo laborantium  hope for the erring, strength of the weak

Veritas et  vita truth, life


Postlude - pax in terra

CD Recording: EAM-2006, Music from SEAMUS. Volume 15
Music from SEAMUS. Volume 9
Music from SEAMUS. Volume 9

Matices Coincidentes,
for mixed quartet



Performers:  Earplay Ensemble

Matices Coincidentes [Converging Colors] is scored for flute, clarinet, violoncello, piano and electronic sounds. The title is derived from the use of perspective in painting and architecture where lines coincide or converge to give the illusion of depth. One of the principal ideas concerns the exploration of timbral change of the live instruments when their musical lines coincide and fuse with that of the electronic sounds. Electronic sounds are employed to transform the sonic characteristics of the instruments and to alter the perception of timbral amalgamation. FM synthesis and samples (brief recordings) of the instruments of the ensemble, processed and mixed, make up the prerecorded part. 

CD Recording: Music from SEAMUS. Volume 9, EAM-2000

Three Folk Dances, for chamber ensemble (fl, cl, bssn, vln, vcl, pno). Commissioned by the Composers Conference & Chamber Music Players, Boston.

1. Zamba
2. Milonga
3. Malambo

Music for Alto Saxophone and Electronic Sounds
Score published by Theodore Presser (;  search Pablo Furman)


John Sampen, Alto Saxophone

CD Recording:  "The Electric Saxophone," Capstone Records CPS-8636 ( ]

Concerto for Chamber Ensemble and Electronic Sounds


Performers: Ensamble Fa, Daniel Kawka, Conductor

In this commission from the International Computer Music Association the ensemble interacts with the electronics in contrapuntal textures and semi-static planes. The electronic sounds modulate the sonic characteristics of the ensemble and extend, virtually, the capability of the instrumental resources beyond their idiosyncratic limitations. The electronic part is made out of synthesized sounds and samples of representative instruments from the ensemble as well as vocal sounds representative of the composer. 

Recorded at GRM - Radio France. Centaur Records, CRC 2552; CDCM Computer Music Series, Vol. 32 ( )

Psalm 8,  for unaccompanied choir and mezzo soprano. For Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Saratoga, CA - 1990

Synergy,  for flutes and electronic sounds


Danilo Lozano, flutes

CD Recording:  Music from Cream-CDCM Computer Music Series Vol.26 [ ]

Centennial Sketches,  for string trio. Commissioned by the City of Whittier, CA, for its centenary celebrations, 1987.