PRESS RELEASE / AUGUST 20, 2017
Ostrava, August 20, 2017 – ONO stands for Ostrava New Orchestra. On August 17, 2017, the hall of Janáček Conservatory Ostrava witnessed a historic moment: after formation phase consisting of on-line communication with Ostrava Center for New Music, a hitherto virtual ensemble finally “materialized” and started rehearsing. Founded as Ostrava Days orchestra-in-residence for the interpretation of contemporary music, ONO comprises 106 performers from 20 countries. Its debut performance will take place on Sunday, August 27, 7PM, at Triple Hall Karolina.
“The idea of forming our very own symphony orchestra for new music came about two years ago during Ostrava Days. It was prompted by our experience with forming and running our previous orchestra, Ostravská Banda, which has been working on an international basis for 12 years now and always approaches contemporary scores seriously and knowledgeably,” says Petr Kotík, artistic director of Ostrava Center for New Music and one of ONO concuctors.
There are 85 performers aged 20–30 who form the orchestra core; some sections feature additional musicians from Ostravská Banda. Orchestra members come from Spain, Norway, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania or Hungary; they also include representatives of Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Lithuania, Belarus, Slovenia, Slovakia, Moldavia, Kazakhstan, USA and China (see list of members).
“They are young and energetic, and in addition to rehearsals that take up to eight hours a day, they are constantly practising. The atmosphere is friendly, you just feel the good vibes. Initially, some of Spanish participants were not exactly punctual, but they have caught on to the fact that there is no siesta in the Czech Republic,” says Lucie Fojtíková, ONO manager, with a smile.
In the course of Ostrava Days, ONO will feature at three concerts: ONO FIRST TIME (Triple Hall Karolina, August 27, 7PM), RADICAL PAST (Antonín Dvořák Theater, August 30, 8PM) and the CLOSING CONCERT (Triple Hall Karolina, September 2, 7PM), playing works by Iannis Xenakis, Salvatore Sciarrino, Phill Niblock, Morton Feldman, Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, John Cage, Bernhard Lang or Olga Neuwirth, but also some ten compositions by Ostrava Days Institute artists-in-residence, i.e. the youngest generation of composers.
“ONO reminds me of Boulez Lucerne Festival Academy, though we focus solely on today music. ONO is here to help the composers who come to Ostrava – everyone works side by side make the festival a success. I am very pleased with ONO quality, the orchestra shows real concentration and enthusiasm,” says German conductor Carl Bettendorf. Aside from Petr Kotík, ONO will also be conducted by Bruno Ferrandis (Paris) and Canadian composer and conductor Owen Underhill.
There have been no auditions for places in the orchestra, the performers have simply come to Ostrava on recommendation of lecturers and experienced musicians or conductors (in its sixteen-year history, OCNM has made quite a lot of contacts). All the same, there was some suspense on the first rehearsal day, when selected Ostravská Banda players assessed the actual quality of the newly-formed orchestra. Often, the differences in the performers skills were so minuscule that some sections will have alternating “leaders”.
“Studying with Petr Kotík and learning to understand, among others, the compositions of John Cage and the New York School, has been the main reason for our Spanish group to come here. We knew that Kotík will be here and we wanted to draw on his experience,” says Irene Serahima Violant, ONO first violinist and concertmaster.
This year, most Ostrava Days events will take place in Triple Hall Karolina, a newly reconstructed industrial space previously used by Žofín Iron and Steel Works and Karolina Coking Plant. It is basically a roofed city-square, a monumental venue which stage designer David Bazika and a team of acousticians will turn into a concert hall. Karolina will not just host ONO and Ostravská Banda concerts, but also Momenta New York string quartet or Make No Noise, opera by Miroslav Srnka, currently the most highly sought-after Czech composer. Other Ostrava Days venues include Hlubina Colliery, St Wenceslas Church, Cooltour at Černá louka, Janáček Conservatory or Antonín Dvořák Theater.
“Right now, founding a new orchestra seems to have been a good idea. We’re waiting for the first concert to confirm it. We needed new blood, new hope and some evidence that young performers are interested in contemporary music and want to learn how to play it. But forming an orchestra also requires a lot of work and support. We could never handle the technical side of ONO without institutions like Triple Hall Karolina, The National Moravian-Silesian Theater, Janáček Conservatory or Janáček Philharmonic. At least with regard to culture, this city really can pull together,” says Ostrava Days executive director Renáta Spisarová.
The creation of ONO has been supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, Allianz Kulturstiftung for Europe, Statutory City of Ostrava, Czech Ministry of Culture, Libor Winkler, Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and others.
Ostrava Days 2017 start Thursday, August 24, and ends on Saturday, September 2.
For more information and press materials, please contact:
Ostrava Center for New Music
Mobile phone: +420 777 613 184