Ostrava, September 4, 2017 – This Saturday, the 9th iteration of Ostrava Days biennial festival/institute has reached its climax at Triple Hall Karolina with Victor Hanna (Ensemble Intercontemporain) virtuoso solo part in Olga Neuwirth’s 2016 composition Trurliade – Zone Zero; on this occasion, Hanna was jointly accompanied by Ostrava New Orchestra and Ostravská Banda under Bruno Ferrandis. Afterwards, the percussionist had nothing but praise for both the conductor and the ensemble: „I have performed the piece in Lucerne and Vienna, but the orchestra performance here in Ostrava has been the best.” Ostrava Center for New Music, which runs the festival, now knows that it has paid off to found a new symphony orchestra for contemporary music (ONO – Ostrava New Orchestra) and to move the concerts into the roofed city-square of Triple Hall Karolina.
“In New York, we can only dream about such space for new music,” says violinist Pauline Kim Harris. Many of the 250 participants of the festival, who spent two to three weeks in the city, heaped similar praise on Ostrava’s unique venues, such as Hlubina Colliery Old Bathrooms, Cooltour, picturesque St Wenceslas church, Janáček Conservatory, Antonín Dvořák Theater with its excellent acoustics or Triple Hall itself (the industrial complex once served nearby steelworks and coking plant).
The 22 concerts of the ten-day festival itself were preceded by the festivals Institute for young composers, attended by 37 young artists from around the world, Hong Kong to California (the institute also hosted a record number of Czech attendees this year). The young composers had the chance to have both their chamber and orchestra works performed and to work with a group of world-renowned composers, including Bernhard Lang, George Lewis, Richard Ayres, Marc Sabat, Kate Soper or Miroslav Srnka. “We had an awesome group of residents this year,” says Petr Kotík, the artistic director of the festival, a sentiment shared by all thirteen lecturers.
The festival itself (August 24 – September 2) offered over a hundred compositions, not just from the latter half of the 20th century, but, above all, from the 21st. Ostrava Days’ attentive visitors had no problem paying attention during concerts that could reach several hours in length and ranged from a night of solo pieces to big symphonic compositions and even an opera. Festival highlights included violists Nikolaus Schlierf solo performance in Requiem, Joseph Kubera piano recital, a performance by violin duo String Noise (New York), Ostrava New Orchestra debut (including Xenakis’masterpiece AÏS with Holger Falk as solo baritone or Salvatore Sciarrino violin concert with Hana Kotková as the soloist) or performances by Ostravská Banda, the festival orchestra-in-residence, which included NONcerto for horn and orchestra by Richard Ayres (with Daniel Costello playing the solo part). For the first time, the festival featured pieces by Klaus Lang, Marc Sabat, Christopher Butterfield or Pavel Zemek Novák. A packed St Wenceslas church applauded Canticum Ostrava featuring choirmaster Yurii Galatenko and Cooltour witnessed a night of solos with virtuoso performances by Ostravská Banda members. Wednesday Radical Past at Antonín Dvořák Theater was broadcast live by Český rozhlas Vltava. Another concert, Rudolf Komorous Legacy, introduced the audience to the music of the West Coast of Canada. At the Old Bathrooms, the listeners were enraptured by the precision of Loadbang ensemble from New York; Thursday evening then reached its pinnacle with Daan Vandewalle performance of Frederic Rzewski singular The People United Will Never Be Defeated. For the very first time, Ostrava also welcomed Neue Vocalsolisten from Stuttgart, who demonstrated utmost virtuosity in 12 Madrigals by Salvatore Sciarrino. Miroslav Srnka opera Make No Noise received a lot of attention; renowned international singers (including Measha Brueggergosman as the main protagonist) and Ostravská Banda performance under Joseph Trafton made Make No Noise one of the festival most memorable events. For the occasion, Triple Hall Karolina became an opera house, its giant concrete ramp transformed by Jiří Nekvasil (director) and David Bazika (stage design). The very ending of the festival brought big symphonic pieces by Ostrava Day composers-in-residence or the world premiere of a new addition to Bernhard Lang Monadology series, which the famous Austrian composer dedicated to Leoš Janáček. The evening also included remarkable performances of Varèse Ionisation for 13 percussionists or Olga Neuwirth above-mentioned Trurliade – Zone Zero.
For the organisers, this year Ostrava Days offered no greater joy than the newly born ONO; a young symphony ensemble has infused grand orchestra concerts with entirely new energy and Ostrava Center for New Music is looking forward to further collaboration.
The festival could never have taken place at Triple Hall Karolina without the co-operation of the venue director Petr Šnejdar and his team. We would also like to thank everyone else who contributed to making this year’s Ostrava Days a success. The next Ostrava Days will take place from August 12 to August 31, 2019.
For further info and press materials, please contact:
Ostrava Center for New Music
Mobile phone: 777 613 184