Life and career
He was born in Barcelona, where he held conducting posts at the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona and the Gran Teatre del Liceu. He studied composition with Enrique Morera at the Barcelona Conservatory, then went to Germany, where he studied in Berlin with Max Trapp, and also with Richard Strauss, taking five of Strauss's seminars. In 1948 his opera El mozo que caso con mujer brava premiered in Barcelona. In 1951, he emigrated to the United States, where he became a successful composer for the dance. He became a U.S. citizen in 1959. He composed three ballet scores for the renowned choreographer Martha Graham: Embattled Garden (1958), Acrobats of God (1960) and The Owl and the Pussycat (1978). He also composed for the Joffrey Ballet (Feast of Ashes). His harp concerto was commissioned by Charles Royce for his daughter Maria. The premiere was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1978, with Nicanor Zabaleta playing. The concerto was then performed by maria Royce at Interlochen. The Surinach harp concerto has not been played since.
His notable students include Louis W. Ballard.
Surinach died in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, aged 82.
The BMI Foundation sponsors The Carlos Surinach Awards and Commissioning Programs, which recognizes talented emerging young musicians for their service to American music and funds the creation of new works by former winners of the BMI Student Composer Awards. The program was established by a bequest from Surinach. 
The final "ch" in Surinach's surname is pronounced "k", following ancient Catalan orthography (in modern orthography this phoneme is rendered with a "c"). The "ch" ending is commonly found in Catalan surnames, many of which retain this spelling. Also, before Surinach left Spain, his surname was spelled "Suriñach", with a tilde over the "n". He eventually dropped this tilde, but saw the original spelling used on concert posters whenever he visited Spain.
- Sinfonietta Flamenca (Symphony No. 3) (1953)
- Fandango (1954)
- Concertino for Piano, Strings and Cymbals (1956)
- Paeans and Dances of Heathen Iberia (1959)
- Symphonic Variations for Orchestra
- Feria Magica Overture
- Ritmo Jondo (1953), ballet
- Embattled Garden (1958), ballet
- Acrobats of God (1960), ballet
- Chronique (1974), ballet
- Concerto for String Orchestra (1978)
- The Owl and the Pussycat (1978), ballet
- Feast of Ashes, ballet
- Piano Concerto (1973)
- Harp Concerto (1978)
- Violin Concerto (1980)
- Melorhythmic Dramas, for orchestra
- Cantata of St. John
- Tres Cantos Berberes
- Three Songs of Spain
- Tres Cantares
- Hollywood Carnival
- Tales from the Flamenco Kingdom (Leyendas Del Reino flamenco) for Children, for Piano
- Sonatina (1959) for solo guitar
- Via Crucis: a cycle of fifteen saetas (1970) for guitar and chorus
- Songs of the Soul (1964), for chorus
- Celebraciones Medievales (1977), for chorus
- Prayers (1973) for solo voice
- Carlos Surinach page from Schirmer site
- Carlos Surinach Commissions page from BMI site
- BMI Surinach collection, 1900s-1996 Music Division, The New York Public Library.
- Carlos Surinach interview by Bruce Duffie