Ostrava, August 12, 2019 – Around two hundred musicians will converge on Ostrava to take part in the 10th biennial edition of one of the biggestfestivals in the world devoted to contemporary classical music and its alternativeforms. How do young artists from Europe, America or Asia compose today? What music worlds willbe offered by the most experienced composers and performers whorose to their fame through leading record labels, by teaching at universities orby the sole virtue oftheir original works? Which iconic worksof avant-gardists from the pasttimeswill Ostrava revisit this year? These three fundamental questions of the „Oudees“ will be answered in the course of 10 festival days from 22nd to 31st August. On the map of this year’s Ostrava days events areindustrial settings, the theatre, cathedral as well as the river Ostravice: In all of these venues, you will have the chance to encounter orchestral compositions, opera, choir, chamber and conceptual works, electronic music as well as happenings. A festival, which could easily fill up the program of not just one, but three festivals: Ostrava is magnanimous!
THE HIGHLIGHTS of OSTRAVA DAYS
or why you should be in Ostrava in/for a couple of days
Thursday, August 22 Terry Riley’s In C and Robert Ashley’s The Wolfman – Alook back into the year 1964 will give way to a peak into the future: new compositions of the youngest generation of composers in combination with rock music Black Series of Peter Ablinger and Generation S by Steffi Weismann. At night, the Opening Performance Orchestra will pay homage to Phill Niblock.
Friday, August 23 / Saturday August 24 The longest event in the history of Ostrava Days: 18 hour-long marathon of music and happenings which will be commenced by the composition of Dieter Schnebel for nine Harley Davidson motorcycles. We will continue with the performance of a completely unknown work in the Czech Republic – Crazy Nigger for four grand pianos by Julius Eastman, pieces of La Monte Young as well as Alois Hába, Elliot Sharp and dozen others will be heard. The early morning hours will provide the temporal setting to the four-hour performance of Alvin Curran’s Inner Cities by Daan Vandewalle, followed by the five-hour piece For Philip Guston of Morton Feldmanin an authentic rendition of S.E.M. Ensemble from New York. You will be able to eat, sleep or stay up during the Long Night. The event will be wrapped up by a brunch at noon on the riverbank of Ostravice, which will fill in for the river Thames in the composition of Theo Finkel.
Saturday, August 24 A couple of hours after the Long Night, a six-hour Minimarathon of Electronic Music will start at the Coal Mine Michal, showcasing abstract vocalist Agnes Hvizdalek,manipulator of casette tapes Angélica Castelló, sound artists Jonáš Gruska, musician and improviser Joke Lanz and several other. The program is prepared jointly by the Bludný kámen Association and curator Petr Vrba. Ladislav Železný will host the live broadcast for the Czech Radio station Vltava.
Sunday August 25 The Great Orchestra Opening, the busiest and probably the most attractive evening of the festival. ONO consisting of 90 musicians in conjunction with Ostravská banda will present the great orchestral piece of Chaya Czernowin from Harvard, a composition for bass clarinet and orchestra of Vienna composer Bernhard Lang soaked with virtuoso jazz, the world premieres of Petr Cígler and Michal Rataj or the microtonal music of Canadian composer Marc Sabat from Berlin. In the morning, Boris Klepal will discuss the current standing of contemporary composition in the Czech Republic with key personalities from various Czech institutions.
Monday August 28 The first concert of the renowned Ostravská banda, which was founded 15 years ago by the Artistic Director and initiator of Ostrava Days Petr Kotík. And the greatest offerings of this evening? Definitely Sciarrino’s Il Cantiere del poema, which will be sung by his muse Anna Radziejewska or the new composition of American avant-gardist Christian Wolff. For the first time in Ostrava, we will hear the work of Isabel Mundry. Like Wolff, she and a host of young composers presenting their works this evening will be present to witness the performance of their works.
Tuesday 27 The gates of the cathedral will open. Peter Graham will offer his piece for six violoncellos, the composer of silence Klaus Lang will play the cathedral organs, Ligeti’s choir piece Lux aeterna and other vocal pieces will be performed by Canticum Ostrava under the direction of Jurij Galatenko. From Czech composers, Vojtěch Šembera will present his work. After an hour-long break, the only composition of one of the earliest conceptual artists Yves Klein will be performed: a remarkable, almost existential experience – 40 minutes of music and silence in equal succession.
Wednesday August 28 Daniel Rieglercomes from Vienna, and so does his ensemble Studio Dan, well known for its vigorous jazz temperament. Paradoxically, their path to Ostrava Days led via Brooklyn, where they were discovered at their successful concert. The concert, whose program features compositions of young female composers from Belarus and Croatia as well as compositions fromthe Vienna music scene, will be charged with energetic performances. The star of the late evening will be the American composer and virtuoso pianist Frederic Rzewski. At the previous Ostrava Days, his piano variations The People United Will Never Be Defeated! left the listeners spellbound. The late evening concert called Piano Piano Kudu will be complemented by Yemeni shofar in the rendition of the composer Alvin Curran himself.
Thursday August 29 String Quartet Night: Quatuor Bozzini from Montreal on the one side and a quartet formed especially for the occasion, Slavíková Quartet, from Ostrava on the other. Christian Wolff wrote his new composition directly for Bozzini, which also included in its repertoire the quartets of Petr Kotík and Ana Sokolović. The uniqueness of the concert will be underscored by the composition of an authorvirtually unknown in the Czech Republic, Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1988-1944), which represents the first known piece composed for instruments and electronics. Lucie Vítková’s piece Nine is one of the resident works to be presented as part of this night’s program.
Friday August 30 Ostravská banda on the stage again and the world premiere of the (recently finished) violin concerto written for Hana Kotíková by Petr Kotík, an extremely difficult violin composition by Miroslav Srnka (not yet performed in the Czech Republic), compositions of residents and Frederic Rzewski again; the solo piano part of his composition A Dog´s Life will be handled by the phenomenal Belgian pianist Daan Vandewalle.
Saturday August 31 The matinee concert Last call will provide an opportunity for the Institute residents to present their works and grant us insight into the creative endeavors of the young generation of composers throughout the world. Ostrava Days will be concluded in the evening by the performance of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. On the roofed square of Triple Hall Karolina, we will first hear the world premiere of the composition of one of themost original contemporary composers Petr Bakla and then the sky will literally open up for an hour. In ethereal pitches, Claudia Barainsky will sing Samuel Beckett’s text to Feldman’s opera/antiopera Neither. One of the most experienced conductors in the field of contemporary music Peter Rundel will tackle the task of staging the opera.