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VÁCLAV KUČERA

(*29.4.1929 Praha)


Czech composer, musicologist and pedagogue

Václav Kučera studied musicology, aesthetics, philology musicology, aesthetics, philology at the Charles University in Prague (1948-51) and composition with Vissarion Shebalin and musicology with L.A.Maazel, V.A.Zuckerman, N.V.Tumanina in Moscow at theTchaikovski Conservatoire (1951-56). He graduated with the dance drama The Brigands Fire and a dissertation about Leoš Janáček. 1956-59 he worked at Czechoslovak Radio in Prague, 1959-62 he founded and headed the Cabinet for New Music Studies affiliated to the Union of Czechoslovak Composers. 1962-69 he worked as a musicologist in the Institute of Musicology in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. From 1969 to 1983 he was the leading secretary of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists. Since 1972 he has been teaching composition at the Music Faculty of the Academy for Performing Arts in Prague, since 1988 as professor. Since 1997 he is also professor of musicology at the Palacky University in Olomouc. 1978-82 he was member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), 1988-92 he was president of the International Music Festival Prague Spring, 1992-98 member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC). Kučera's work includes more than 150 titles of music in different genres inclusive electronics. His compositions won a number of distinctions: Obraz (The Tableau) for piano and orchestra the Prize of Queen Marie-José in Geneva (1970), Lidice a special recognition of the Czechoslovak Radio (1970) as well as the Prix d'Italia (1972), the string quartet "Consciousness of Continuities" the Prize of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists (1983), the children chorus "Son tre noti che non dormo" the Trentino International Prize (1994), the mixed chorus "Esta noche" the Premio Municipalidad Gran Canaria (2002) etc. As composer he is interesting in a humanistic theme, tradition of expressive music in combination with searching for new methodology. From the other compositions we can mention: ballet Srdce a sen (Heart and Dream, on his own libretto, 1973), Tableau for Piano and a Large orchestra (1970), Sapporo, a symphonic poem for orchestra and mixed chorus (1991), Concierto imaginativo "Homenaje a Salvador Dalí" for guitar and string orchestra (1994), Criterion, "Hommage a T.S.Eliot", essay for large symphony orchestra (1997), Intimní konverzace (Intimate Conversations, double concertino for bass clarinet, piano and string orchestra,1998), from chamber music i.e.: Panta rhei, music for flute, vibraphone and percussions (1969), Invariant, music for bass clarinet, piano and a stereo tape recorder (1969), Vědomí kontinuity (Consciousness of Continuities, a string quartet to the memory of Vladislav Vančura, 1976), Gogův autoportrét (Gogh´s Self -Portrait, music for bass clarinet and stereo tape, 1985), Slavnosti fantazie (Celebrations of Phantasy, hommage a Max Ernst, a concertante cycle for two guitars, 1991), Metathesis, music for bass clarinet and piano (1998), Mysterious Players, a trio for bass clarinet, violoncello and piano (2000), Imaginace ( a string quartet "Hommage a Edvard Munch". From vocal music: Zpěvy země (Songs of the Earth, a song cycle for baritone and pianoon verses by S.K.Neumann, 1958), Orbis pictus, four painter´s inspirations on composer´s own texts, for mixed choir and ancient musical instruments (1975), Amoroso, a song cycle for mezzosoprano, flute and harp,on words of Old Korean lyrical poetry in Czech and German translations (1975), O Leben, wunderliche Zeit, vier Lieder auf Gedichte von Rainer Maria Rilke für Sopran, Flöte und Klavier (2004). He was also one of pioneer of electro-acoustic music in Czechoslovakia. He composed a Kinetický balet/Labyrint, Pastorale, Spirála (A Kinetic Ballet /Labyrinth, Pastorale, Spiral,1968), Kinechromie, an electrosynthetic composition for afour-channel reproduction (1969), Lidice, a wireless musical-dramatic fresco for a reciter, two reporters,an announcer, solo soprano, mixed chorus, instrumental ensemble and electroacoustic sounds (1972), Spartacus, a quadrophonic musical relief for male, female and mixed choirs, trumpet, percussion instruments and electroacoustic sound objects (1976) and others. Kučera's works have been published by Supraphon, Panton, Peters, Ricordi, Bärenreiter, Moeck, Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Billaudot, Editio Moravia, Intersound and other publishers. As musicologist, Kučera published books "M.P.Mussorgsky - Music of Life" (Prague, 1959), "Talent, Mastery, World Outlook" about beginnings of soviet music avantgarde (Prague, 1962), "New trends in Soviet Music" about dissent-composers in the Soviet Union (Prague, 1967), a number of scientific studies, public lectures, radio and TV music-educational programmes etc.

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