Music for three orchestras

Saturday, November 19, 2016 / 7:00 PM
Forum Karlín / Prague


Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava
Ostravská banda
Milan Osadský, accordion
Johannes Öllinger, guitar
Daan Vandewalle, piano
Johannes Kalitzke, Petr Kotík, Rolf Gupta, conductors
Stonava Miners Brass Band, Jaroslav Šindel, condutor

Phill Niblock: Three Petals (2014)
Jacek Sotomski: beautiful to me. ah (2014)
Petr Kotík: Variations for 3 Orchestras (2003–05)
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge (1955–56)
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gruppen (1955–57)
John Cage: Atlas Eclipticalis (1961) & Winter Music (1957), simultaneous performance with miners brass band

"Swimmingly evocative (and too rarely attainable) listening experience.“
Classical Lite, New York

„The orchestra has been elevated way past its usual dimensions.“
Radio Wave

Despite Karlheinz Stockhausens position as one of the most inspirational musical figures of the 20th century, his Gruppen for three orchestras, three conductors and 112 musicians is seldom performed, owing to the demanding character of the composition; each chance to experience it live is a singular, extraordinary treat.

Featuring both Gruppen (1957) and the electronic piece Gesang der Jünglinge (1955-56) back-to-back is an unprecedented choice. There is, however, musical continuity between the two compositions: the quadrophonic Gesang der Jünglinge saw Stockhausen testing and employing, for the first time, the idea of “music in space” that would find its radical expression in Gruppen.

Only very rarely (and for the absolutely first time in Prague!) does one get the opportunity to hear a simultaneous performance of John Cages Atlas Eclipticalis (1961) for 86 soloists and his Winter Music (1960) for solo piano, the way the composer himself used to perform the combination with the pianist David Tudor. In keeping with Cages concept, his music will also feature an embedded performance by Stonava Miners Brass Band.

Phill Niblocks and Petr Kotíks compositions for three orchestras both reflect Ostrava Center for New Musics lasting preoccupation with spatial compositions: let us recall the legendary concert at Prague Spring in 1999, which included works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alvin Lucier, Earle Brown and Giovanni Gabrieli.

The inclusion of Polish composer Jacek Sotomskis (*1987) piece for two orchestras and a soloist situated in the center is representative of Ostrava Center for New Music’s strategy of performing works by the youngest generation of composers.

Approximate duration of the concert: 3 hours.


Johannes Kalitzke – composer, conductor, musikFabrik co-founder, frequent collaborator of Ensemble recherche, Klangforum Wien or Ostravská banda.

Petr Kotík – composer, conductor, director of S.E.M. Orchestra New York and Ostravská banda. Ostrava Days artistic director, co-organiser of NODO (New Opera Days Ostrava).

Rolf Gupta – composer and conductor working with prestigious orchestras worldwide (his past occupations include the position of chief conductor at The Norwegian Radio Orchestra [KORK).

Reviews of the opening concert of Ostrava Days 2015, held at Trojhalí Karolina (Triple Hall Karolina):

Gruppen! There are precious few places where you will witness the full symphony orchestra showcasing the same hijinks as in Ostrava. […] Karlheinz Stockhausens pulsing Gruppen for three orchestras and three conductors is an uncommon treat indeed.
Radio Wave, August 19, 2015

Gruppen offered an experience replete with colors, sounds and spatial effects, a venerable fireworks, so to speak. […] The three orchestras were seated in the front and to the sides of the audience, with the back-and-forth of the sound providing a resolute answer to the question: Can music lovers settle for recordings?
Harmonie, September 10, 2015

John Cages 1961 Atlas Eclipticalis was paired with his Winter Music from the same year. And on initiative of Kotík, the Stonava Miners Band, with its own conductor, joined in. […] Notes had time to bounce around the room. […] The performance was hilariously lopsided. Peals of laughter could be seen around the room, although not heard over such bombast.
Classical Lite (New York), October 2015

Cages simultaneous musical happening … was perhaps one of the opening concerts highlights.
ORF, August 26, 2015

To hear, to play, to conduct this particular composition [K. Stockausens Gruppen], to hear it as we did, that is a truly singular experience.
Opera PLUS, August 24, 2015

Even if you actively seek out musical treasures, you can mostly hope to hear Gruppen about once in a lifetime.
Zápisník zmizelého, August 23, 2015

The concert takes place with the support of the Czech Ministry of Culture, Statutory City of Ostrava, Goethe-Institut Prag and German Embassy in Prague

Main media partners: Český rozhlas Vltava, Unijazz

Media partners: Opera Plus, HIS Voice, Fullmoon, Harmonie, Art & Antiques, Headliner, Radio 1

Organized by Ostrava Center for New Music, United Islands s.r.o. and Forum Karlín