Gabriel Erkoreka was born in Bilbao in 1969. He studied at the J. C. de Arriaga Superior Conservatoire and with Carmelo Bernaola, receiving graduation awards in composition and piano. In 1995 he entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he pursued postgraduate studies in Composition with Michael Finnissy. He obtained the DipRAM and a Master’s Degree with Distinction from the University of London.
His works have been performed at many venues and festivals, including the following: the Venice Biennale in 2004, 2014 and 2019; the ISCM World Music Days in Manchester (1998), Hong Kong (2007) and Beijing (2018); the Vienna Musikverein; the South Bank Centre, ICA and Wigmore Hall in London; the Festival Musica Strasbourg; the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; the Toru Takemitsu Festival in Tokyo; the New Music Festival in Sydney; Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space in New York; the Time of Music Festival in Viitasaari (Finland); the Konzerthaus in Berlin; the Salle Cortot in Paris, as well as in other cities such as St Petersburg, Buenos Aires and Wellington.
His music has been released on DVD by the BBVA Foundation and on CD on the Stradivarius, Verso and Harmonia Mundi labels, with the ensemble recherche, Trío Arbós, Orchestra of the Community of Madrid and the countertenor Carlos Mena. He has received commissions from the Nieuw Ensemble, Arditti Quartet, Hannover Biennale für Neue Musik, Ensemble Court-Circuit, PluralEnsemble, Grupo Enigma, Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Spain, ORCAM, Cadaqués Orchestra, Basque National Orchestra, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Quincena Musical of San Sebastian, Festival ENSEMS in Valencia, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to mark its tenth anniversary. He was composer-in-residence with the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (JONDE) during the 2001-2002 season. In 2018 he was given Carte Blanche with the OCNE, celebrated at the National Music Auditorium in Madrid.
Erkoreka has won various awards for his compositions, such as the Reina Sofia Prize for Music Composition in 2008, first prize at the 1996 SGAE Awards, the Basque Government Award for Contemporary Music, and the Josiah Parker Prize from the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2001 he won the Prix de Rome and the composition prize awarded by the Colegio de España in Paris and the INAEM. He has participated at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers and the 1998 Gaudeamus Music Week.
In 2001 he was made an honorary associate member of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), where he taught orchestration classes. In 2014 he held the Manuel de Falla Chair of Composition in Seville, and also he gave the opening lecture at the University of the Basque Country summer courses. He has given conferences at the Berlin University of Arts (UdK) and the Complutense University of Madrid. He currently holds the post of professor in composition at MUSIKENE – Superior Conservatoire of the Basque Country. He is also the artistic director of the BBVA Foundation Contemporary Music Concert Series in Bilbao.
Gabriel Erkoreka has received the 2021 National Music Award, given by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.