Pavel Zemek

Pavel Zemek (born in 1957, real name Pavel Novák) has been probing the possibilities of unison for years in compositions ranging from small-scale pieces for small ensembles to full-blown orchestral works. The results are unobtrusively elegant, but often very complex underneath the surface, and full of movement and energy. Zemek compositions are characterised (perhaps unexpectedly, given his method) by a full sound and, above all, a particular timbre: the reduction to unison or octave intervals brings out the pure sound of the instruments, so to speak, “undistorted” by harmony. Despite the fact that the intellectual background of Zemek compositions is dominated by biblical themes, his music is far removed from kitschy exploitation of traditionalist religion or “the spiritual”. Zemek studied music at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno and received a scholarship to study with George Benjamin in London and Gérard Grisey in Paris.



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