Ostrava, 5 August – Soon, around 200 hundred musicians will converge on Ostrava. They will all participate in the biennial of one of the biggest festivals devoted to the questions, problems and concepts of contemporary music. In what terms do young composers from Europe, America or Asia think about music today? What music worlds will be presented by the most experienced composers and performers of achievedworld renown by their releases on leading labels, working at prestigious universities an (above all) by creating original, authentic works of music? What iconic works of avant-garde from the past will the festival revive this year? You will find answers to these and many other questions in the course of 10 festival days from 19-28 August in many places in Ostrava – from Triple Hall Karolina, Jiří Myron Theatre, Cathedral of the Divine Saviour all the way to BrickHouse in the Lower Vítkovice Area. In all these venues, you will have the opportunity to encounter great orchestral compositions, choir, chamber as well as electronic music, site-specific performances or works of the Fluxus movement.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OSTRAVA DAYS
or why is it worth it to stay in Ostrava for 10 days
Thursday 19/08 The Past and the present. The first tribute to Frederic Rzewski, contemporary electronics of Rolanda Dahinden and a peek into the past at the pioneer of electronic music Karlheinz Stockhausen. Works of three generations of composers will be heard at the BrickHouse in the Hlubina Coal Mine.
Friday 20/08 - Saturday 21/08 After a successful first run, the longest event of Ostrava Days from 2019 will be repeated again this year, of course with a completely original program. A music marathon of the same duration of 18 hours will offer site-specific performances as well as legendary fluxus works and film projections. We will start on the Masaryk square with a “wandering” piece of Alvin Curran. The program will continue in front of the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour (James Tenney) and inside the cathedral itself (Et Lux by Wolfgang Rihm). Then we will relocate for almost 16 hours to the Theatre of Jiří Myron, where orchestral as well as ensemble compositions will alternate with virtuoso solo performances of the members of Ostravská banda, generative opera of Milan Guštar will be heard alongside a cult piece of Morton Feldman. Trio Kimmig-Studer-Zimmerlin (accompanied by dance) will make its very first appearance at Ostrava Days, two FLUXUS blocs, directed by Eric Andersen, will take place at the D12 theatre and other premises of the theatre will offer projections of photographs and films by Wolfgang Träger.
Saturday 21/08 A couple of hours after the Long Night, a six-hour Minimarathon of Electronic Music will take place at the Gallery of Fine Arts Ostrava. The curator of the event Ivan Bierhanzl decided to focus on “live” music generated by very diverse electronic sources of sound. Petr Válek, Karel Ančerl, Steve Reich, Ivan Acher or Michal Nejtek are but some of the names of authors on the program.
Sunday 22/08 Great orchestral opening and one of the most attractive evenings of the festival. Ostrava New Orchestra together with Ostravská banda will present the world premieres of compositions of the young generationrepresented by Lucie Vítková, František Chaloupka and Todd Tarantino alongside works of Ostrava Days “regulars” Petr Kotík and Christian Wolff.
Monday 23/08 Traditional concert of the renowned Ostravská banda, which was established as a residential chamber orchestra of Ostrava Days in 2005, will present for the very first time the composition of Luboš Mrkvička or the violin concerto of the Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolović. Irena Troupová will sing the solo part in the Theory of Absolute Sadness of Miro Tóth and a very difficult piece to play Persephassa of Iannix Xenakis will certainly be an event worthy of the festival.
Tuesday 24/08 In the Cathedral again: Canticum Ostrava under the direction Jurij Galatenko will present the compositions of a Czech and Iranian resident of the Institute, the vocal piece Sirens of Ana Sokolović and the virtuoso work of the “regular” of Ostrava Days Bernhard Lang. A piece of a newcomer at the festival, composer Raven Chacon from New Mexico, will also be heard. Petr Kotík is the author of the composition Děvín set to Vladislav Vančura’s text. Another, independent part of the evening will be hosted by Brno Contemporary Orchestra – chamber orchestra led by Pavel Šnajdr will perform the meditative piece of Pavel Zemek Novák Isaiah's Prophecy.
Wednesday 25/08 Brno Contemporary Orchestra, yet this time on the stage of the BrickHouse, will perform new compositions of Peter Graham and Michal Rataj alongside those of Martin Smolka and the resident of the Institute Ester Wityńska. The second part of the evening will offer another tribute to Frederic Rzewski (who died on 26 June 2021). His composition De Profundis for a speaking pianist in the rendering of Rzewski’s close friend, Belgian pianist Daan Vandewalle will no doubt engender an authentic experience. Rzewski’s close collaborators Daan Vandewalle and Petr Kotík will talk about his extraordinary personality as a composer and virtuoso pianist.
Thursday 26/08 Ostravská banda II – Petr Bakla wrote a new piece for the orchestra and for Miroslav Beinhauer, but the residential orchestra of the festival will also present the work of Japanese-American composer Miya Masaoka, a composition of the legendary avant-garde figure Phill Niblock from 2019 or a piece of the master of loops Bernhard Lang. We will also have the opportunity to hear new compositions of the residents of the Institute Michal Wroblewskiand Devin Maxwell.
Friday 27/08/ A unique concert of compositions commissioned precisely for this occasion: Estonian Ensemble for New Music Tallinn and sixth-note harmonium of Alois Hába played by Miroslav Beinhauer who happens to be the only musician in the world dedicated to performing on this unique instrument. The program was devised by Arash Yazdani. Then we will move to the banks of Ostravice (behind the New City Hall), where we will have the opportunity to witness the rendering of Miro Tóth’s piece Black Angel Songs. The composer wrote it for a Czech-Slovakian Dystopic Requiem Quartet and dedicated it to the victims of ethnic cleansing, parents of Fedor Gál, who will conclude the composition with a personal commentary.
Saturday 28/08 The final day of the festival will showcase three events! A matinee Last call will give voice to the residents of the Institute and provide listeners insight into the work of the young generation of composers around the world. Studi per l’intonazione del mare of Salvatore Sciarrina will be heard in the afternoon hours: the sea in Ostrava will gently sway us to silence and let us cherish the hum of the water surface in the impressive space of Triple Hall Karolina. For the very first time at Ostrava Days, the Closing Concert will be executed by PKF Philharmonia under the baton of Roland Kluttig. Next to the world premiere of the Horn Concerto of Petr Cígler, you will hear a new piece of American composer Stephen Morris, Martin Smolka will play with the way eardrum handles sound and the virtuoso concerto for trumpet and orchestra …miramondo multiplo… of Olga Neuwirth will close the festival.