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Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet, founded 1999. Its line-up has remained constant since its foundation: David Pokorný and Vladimír Klánský on violins, Vladimír Kroupa on viola, and Vít Petrášek on cello. Although classical repertoire remains central to their professional lives, the Epoque Quartet is remarkable for the breadth and professionalism of its ‘crossover’ work. The quartet has performed with the leading artists of Czech popular music, arranged world music from various traditions (most recently with the clarinettist Irvin Venyš for their CD Irvin_Epoque), and given the premières of over 80 pieces, the style of which ranges from rock- and jazz-influenced music to contemporary art music, mostly by Czech composers including Jan Kučera, Petr Wajsar, Jan Dušek, Gabriela Vermelho, and others.

Their open-mindedness and long-standing interest in various musical fields allows them to perform stylistically in a way classically-trained ensembles often find problematic, particularly in terms of rhythm, feeling, and energy when performing jazz- and rock-influenced repertoire....

Article

Ian Mikyska

An annual festival of contemporary music, multimedia art, experimental film, installation, sound art, and related areas, which takes place in Prague each May. It was started in 2011 by Dan Senn, an American composer and the organizer and co-founder of Roulette Intermedium.

The first four editions took place in the post-industrial Trafačka Aréna; in 2014, the festival moved to the much more cosmopolitan Paralelní Polis. The festival aims to disrupt the usual division of artists into cliques, and to provoke interaction between artists from different backgrounds. The organizers’ outsider position allows them to do so non-institutionally, without an established position on the scene, but still employing collaborations with various other institutions: the Center for Audiovisual Studies at FAMU (the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague), the Agosto Foundation, the 4+4 Days in Motion Festival, and others.

The programming is a mixture of Czech and international performers. International guests have included Jaap Blonk, Phill Niblock and Katherine Liberovskaya, Bob Ostertag, Yves Degoyan, and Joanna Hoffman. Over the years, the festival has gradually mapped several art scenes in the Czech Republic: contemporary composed music (Lucie Vítková, Michal Rataj, David Danel, and the Fama Quartet); sound art (Marek Hlaváč and Michal Cáb); contemporary art (Michal Cimala and Martin Janíček); and experimental video (Martin Blažíček and Michal Kindernay). In addition, the festival organizes open calls for fixed-media and live works from aspiring artists....

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Olomouc, 3 May 1967). Czech violinist. Raised in a musical family, she studied at the People’s School of Art in Opava with Marcela Kuvíková, then at the Ostrava Conservatory with Vítězslav Kuzník and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with the professors Jiří Vlach, Jiří Novák, and Ivan Štraus. She also took part in master classes with Josef Gingold in Greensboro, NC and with Wolfgang Marschner in Weimar. In 1990 she received a scholarship to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Alberto Lysy.

In 1997, she became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Violin Competition. She has also received the Gideon Klein Prize, the Bärenreiter Prize, the Supraphon Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Prague Spring Foundation Prize. In 2005 she represented the Czech Republic at the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, together with the Prague Philharmonic....

Article

Ian Mikyska

A biannual festival of new and experimental music held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, since 2001, founded by petr kotík and Renata Spisarová.

The performers include guest ensembles and soloists, as well as a core of both international and Czech soloists specializing in contemporary music, who coalesce into the resident ensemble, Ostravská banda. Since its conception, the festival has established strong relations with other local arts organizations, including Bludný Kámen, the National Moravian-Silesian Theater, the Janáček Philharmonic, the Canticum Ostrava choir, and, more recently, the PLATO art gallery and the multi-arts space Provoz Hlubina. The festival also features dance and opera, as well as performance, multimedia, and installation work.

The 9-day festival at the end of August is the finale of a three-week-long ‘Institute’ for aspiring composers from around the world. Some ten established composers are invited as instructors for master classes, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one lessons at the Institute. The festival then features music by the invited composers, as well as one piece by each of the 35 composer-students....

Article

Concert venue and gallery, focusing at first on visual art, but soon becoming one of the key locations in the Czech Republic for contemporary and improvised music, sound art, and intermedia work.

Housed in the courtyard of an 1888 neo-Renaissance building in the centre of Prague, the former galvanizing workshop was reconstructed in 1999 by the Linhart Foundation and opened to the public in 2000.

The gallery has offered a regular programme of two monthly concerts, always featuring a local act opening for a foreign guest. Performers have included Thomas Lehn, Franz Hautzinger, Dieb13, and Jim Denley, as well as most musicians on the Czech improvised music scene, and many composer-performers, including Peter Graham, Lucie Vítková, and Miro Tóth[1]. Artists working with sound at the gallery in an installation context have included Jacob Kirkegaard, Phill Niblock, Peter Cusack, and John Grzinich.

Apart from regular exhibitions and concerts, the gallery has also organized long-term residencies for artists, artistic workshops, and discussions. Since ...

Article

Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

[music management]

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Mobile]

Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks.

Unlike other electronic player systems, the Disklavier is only installed in new Yamaha pianos and only at the factory. It cannot be installed in older Yamahas or other brands of pianos. Compared with other systems, the Disklavier’s recording capability is generally regarded to be of the highest quality and sophistication. Of the Disklavier models available in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

[Elektronmusikstudion] (Swed.: ‘electronic music studio’)

The Swedish national centre for electronic music and sound art, in Stockholm. It was preceded by a smaller studio run by the Worker’s Society of Education from 1960. EMS was established by Swedish Radio in 1964 under music director and composer Karl Birger Blomdahl (1916–68), who hired the composer and performer Knut Wiggen (b 1927) to take charge of creating the studios. In 1965 an old radio theatre studio called the klangverstan (‘sound workshop’) opened for composers. Construction of a new facility was begun, but after Blomdahl’s death EMS became independent, funded only in small part by Swedish Radio, and otherwise by Fylkingen (a society for experimental music and arts) and the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.

Wiggen envisioned EMS as both a place to produce electro-acoustic music and a research institution that would give the composer ‘the possibility of describing sounds in psychological terms’. The studio was equipped accordingly. The sound sculpture ...