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Article

Haptics  

Anne Beetem Acker, Laurence Libin and Alan G. Woolley

Scientific study of perception and manipulation of objects through touch and proprioception, usually for control purposes. As it relates to musical instruments, haptics considers the sensory and mechanical interaction between performers and acoustic, digital, or virtual instruments. Skilled instrumentalists demonstrate significantly greater tactile sensitivity and faster response time than members of the general population. Vibrations, acoustic response, and feedback forces inform players about an instrument’s state, speeding learning and improving control. Researchers try to measure feedback forces and determine which can be perceived and which are important to a player’s sense of control and expressivity. Haptics considers the complete circuit from the moment a player engages an activating component of an instrument until the interaction ceases. This consideration extends to a sequence of such events as the instrument’s mechanisms and player repeatedly respond to each other. These interactions can be termed ‘gestures’ and the input device (such as a keyboard) the ‘gesture controller.’...

Article

Amra Bosnić

(b Kuršumlija, Serbia, 1966). Bosnian and Herzegovinian composer. She graduated with a degree in composition from the Academy of Music in Sarajevo (1991), in the class of josip magdić, after which she gained the Master of Composition (2004) under the mentorship of composer dejan despić. Her first position was at the Srednja muzička škola (‘music high school’) in Valjevo, Serbia (1992–2000). She returned to Eastern Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to work as an Associate Professor of Harmony and Harmonic Analysis.

Dutina’s compositions reflect her interest in Balkan folklore, mostly of a rural-vocal type, and in the formal and harmonic devices associated with neoclassicism. She has composed solo songs, chamber music, symphonic works, vocal-instrumental music, choral music, music for children, and film music.

Dutina also cherishes folkloric vocal traditions through her engagement as founder and artistic director of the female vocal ensembles Rusalke (...

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

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

Neil Lerner

(b Brooklyn, NY, 14 Nov 1900; d North Tarrytown, NY, 2 Dec 1990). American composer for screen, stage, and concert hall. Before Aaron Copland became interested in writing music for film in the late 1930s, he was already recognized as one of his generation’s leading composers. Notable early works like his Piano Concerto (1926) or his Piano Variations (1930) were regarded as modernist for their use of jazz elements and extended dissonances, but by the mid-1930s Copland’s output was becoming more accessible to wider audiences, with pieces like El Salón México (1936) and Billy the Kid (1938). His interest in film music occurred, then, as part of his broader efforts to cultivate and reach a larger audience, a shift to a more accessible musical style that has been connected with Copland’s own phrase, ‘imposed simplicity’. At the time Copland pondered the writing of film music—he travelled to Hollywood in June of ...

Article

Záviš  

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Záviš ze Zap, Zawissius]

(b c. 1350; d Olomouc c. 1422). Composer of liturgical and secular poetry. He studied at the universities in Prague (master of liberal arts), Rome, and Padua (doctor of theology and law) and acted after 1387 as an examiner at Prague University. He was the author of several liturgical chants (...

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

[Gjergji, Ludovik Ndoj]

(b Shkodër, Albania, 11 Nov 1923; d Shkodër, 27 Dec 2015). Albanian singer. His name is linked in particular to the musical repertoire of Ahengu and Kânge Jare, songs in which Ottoman musical roots blend with Western influences.

Born into a family from the Mirdita region, from childhood he was interested in the urban song of Shkodër. Between 1945 and 1947, in Tirana, he came to the fore as a performer with the ensemble Grupi Karakteristik Shkodran directed by Paulin Pali. In 1947 he took part in the performance of Dasma shkodrane, by Prenkë Jakova, an important pioneer of Albanian musical theatre.

In the early 1950s Bik Ndoja emerged in the musical milieu of Shkodra by singing on the radio, in the House of Culture, and at the Perlat Rexhepi musical club.

During the years of the dictatorship, he continued to live in Shkodra and worked as a tailor, though his renown as a singer grew steadily, thanks to his activity at Radio Shkodra and Radio Tirana, and at the local ...

Article

Tristian Evans

(b Baltimore, MD, 31 Jan 1937). American composer. Philip Glass is considered one of the founding figures of minimalist music. After studying at the University of Chicago (1952–6) and the Juilliard School (1957–62) he received a Fulbright scholarship that supported him to develop his craft with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1964–6). During this period, he served as Ravi Shankar’s music assistant for the film Chappaqua, which depicts the life of its director and protagonist, Conrad Rooks, and his struggles with drug addiction. On returning to the United States, Glass collaborated with the Chicago-based Kartemquin Film company on Inquiring Nuns and Marco (see Eaton, 2013). This period of soundtrack production was short-lived, however, as he later concentrated on concert music and opera, producing such key works as Music in Twelve Parts (1971–4) and Einstein on the Beach (1975–6)....

Article

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Domazlaus Predicator]

(b Bohemia, c. 1300; d c. 1350). Dominican friar and a leading author of liturgical poetry during the period of rising patriotic feelings in Bohemia. Several sequences to Bohemian patron saints appearing after 1300 are attributed to his authorship, among them De superna hierarchia to Corpus Christi (with acrostic ...

Article

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

(b Prague, 1348; d Rome, 17 June 1400). Bohemian archbishop (1378–96) and composer of liturgical poetry. The list of his liturgical chants (alleluias, sequences, hymns, and two full sets of office chants for Marian feasts) and spiritual prayers (cantilenae and orationes) includes about 40 items, which makes him one of the most prolific late-medieval authors. The most important part of his compositions was intended for the feast of the Visitation of the BVM that was introduced on his initiative to the Roman calendar in 1389. While his texts were influenced by Classical poetry and therefore criticized for their unorthodox vocabulary, his melodies, composed mostly in the late-medieval chant style, enjoyed great popularity.

CSHSG.M. Dreves: Die Hymnen Johann von Jensteins (Prague, 1886)G.M. Dreves and C. Blume: AH, vol.48 (1905), 421–51V. Plocek: ‘Eine neu aufgefundene Sequenz von der heiligen Dorothea und ihre Beziehung zu Jenštejns “Decet huius”’, ...

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

Speranța Rădulescu

(b Romania, 1930; d Copenhagen, 4 April 2015). Romanian-Danish ethnochoreologist. She worked as a researcher at the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore in Bucharest from 1953 to 1979. She contributed to the foundation and development of scientific research on traditional dance in Romania, where she conducted extensive fieldwork, filming dances and rituals in over 200 villages. Her main interests concerned the contextual study of dance, the analysis of dance structure, the processes of dance improvisation, and dance as an identity marker for the Roma minority group. She also investigated the way traditional symbols were manipulated in Romania for national and political power legitimation.

After 1980 she lived in Denmark, where she conducted research on topics such as continuity and change in the traditional culture of the Vlachs (a Romanian speaking ethnic minority of Serbia) living in Denmark, the Romanian healing ritual căluş, and on the theory and methods of field research in contemporary society. She was the Honorary Chairperson of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology and the leader of the Sub-Study Group on Fieldwork Theory and Methods, a Board member of Danish National Committee for ICTM, and Doctor Honoris Causa of Roehampton University, London. She had a great number of publications and a fruitful activity as a lecturer on an international level. In her last years, she worked with Margaret Beissinger and Speranța Rădulescu on the volume ...

Article

Pavla Jonssonová

(‘Tooth and Nail’)

Czech rock group. Formed by university students in Prague in 1980 as Plyn (‘Gas’), with Marka Horáková (Míková; b 1959; piano, bass, vocals), Pavla Fediuková (Slabá, Jonssonová; b 1961; guitar, vocals), and Hana Kubíčková (Řepová; b 1961; drums, vocals). All of the members contributed songs in a punk, girl-band, dadaist fashion, playing college clubs and alternative music festivals. After Plyn was blacklisted, they re-formed under a new name as Dybbuk, and were joined by Kateřina Nejepsová (Jirčíková; b 1963) on the flute and saxophone, and Eva Trnková (b 1963) on the lead guitar. Their eponymous EP (Panton, 1987) was released during the communist era. Dybbuk disbanded in 1987.

In 1988 Míková started Zuby nehty with Slabá on the bass, Naďa Bilincová (1959−2011) on the guitar, and Tomáš Míka (b 1960) on the saxophone. In 1991 Dybbuk reunited to record their 1980s material on the album ...

Article

Herbert Heyde

This article discusses trends in organizing the production of European instruments from the 15th century to the mid-19th.

During the 15th century European instrument making entered a new phase with the rise of polyphonic instrumental music. Previously, folk and minstrel instruments had been made mostly by the players themselves. The intricacies of polyphonic music and the social context in which sophisticated instruments such as clavichords, trombones, lutes, and viols were played demanded craft refinement and specialization. The professional traditions of organ building and bell founding provided precedents upon which the new branches of trade could build. While the production of folk instruments continued as it had previously, the new, commercial approach to instrument making gradually evolved into two major forms, which were first observable in the processes of both bell founding and organ building. These forms were small craft-workshops and entrepreneurial businesses. These two forms sometimes intersected; small workshops would sometimes grow and develop into entrepreneurial businesses....

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Ostrava, 7 June 1953). Czech folk singer, poet, and composer. After completing his studies at Gymnasium (1971) and at a school of librarianship, he entered the field of popular music as a writer of lyrics (he has written song texts principally for singers from Ostrava). As a guitarist, violinist, flautist, and accordionist he is entirely self-taught. In the 1980s he began to appear at Czech festivals of folk music, singing songs of his own with their distinctive texts. Gradually he has become one of the most popular of Czech singers. He mainly sings his own songs, but also translations of songs by the Russian composers Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzha, and settings of the poems of Aleksandr Blok. He has set, and sung, poems by the Czech poets Petr Bezruč and Jiří Šotola. His songs owe their popularity largely to the fact that he sings of ordinary people living ordinary lives; they are lyrical and epic, and often ironical and extremely funny. Nohavica is fond of using the dialect of the Ostrava and Těšín region. He has also produced successful translations of opera libretti for works performed at the Ostrava Opera (for example, Mozart’s ...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

[Plekancová-Vondráčková, Lucie]

(b Prague, 8 March 1980). Czech pop singer and actress. Her family was one of musicians (her father, Jiří Vondráček, is an actor and singer, her mother, Hana Sorrosová-Vondráčková, writes lyrics, and her aunt, Helena Vondráčková, is also a singer). Lucie was trained in music and drama at the Prague Conservatory and later obtained the doctorate in the Arts Faculty at Prague University (2006). From early childhood she appeared in films and TV serials for children; in 1992 she became a presenter of children’s programmes on TV, and in 1993 she issued her first record album. There have been more than 10 of these, and all have been enthusiastically received by her public in sales; she regularly features as one of the most popular Czech singers. As an actress, she often plays major roles in Czech films, stage plays, and musicals.

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Vsetín, Moravia, 27 June 1929; d Vsetín, 11 Feb 2017). Czech folk singer. Trained in dressmaking, she worked between 1945 and 1949 as a furrier’s seamstress. From 1950 until her retirement in 1985, she was the manager of a shop selling gramophone records in her native town. Her musical talent, inherited from her parents, was evident from her youth, when she began to appear as a singer in local choirs and folk ensembles. From 1952 she was a soloist with the Brněnský rozhlasový orchestr lidových nástrojů (BROLN, ‘Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments’), with whom she performed hundreds of times in the then Czechoslovakia and also abroad (in Vietnam, China, Mongolia, the USSR, Korea, Cuba, Belgium, the UK, Senegal, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, the USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and Denmark). She also performed with various folk ensembles (Vsacan, Jasénka, Kyčera, and the dulcimer ensemble Technik, whose leader, Jan Rokyta, decisively influenced her later development as a singer), and between ...

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

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

Ian Mikyska

(b Bratislava, 16 Oct 1981). Slovak composer, saxophonist, and improviser. Studied composition at the University of Performing arts in Bratislava (VŠMU) (with Jevgenij Iršai and Vladimír Godár) and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (with Michal Rataj), as well as musicology at the Comenius University in Bratislava.

He is unusual in the Czecho-Slovak context for the breadth of his musical and cultural interests – eclecticism and a Schnittkean polystylism are the only unifying elements of his work, perhaps together with relentless demands on the listener’s emotions (in one direction or another). His earlier works betray the influence of Schnittke in their rapid changes and distressed emotiveness interspersed with moments of (ironic?) grandeur, while at other times, his use of explosive improvisation and a range of stylistic contexts brings John Zorn to mind.

He has a close relationship with theatre, both in his operas and video-operas – often made in collaboration with the actor, director, and librettist Marek Kundlák – and in his instrumental music, which doesn’t shy away from theatricality and make-believe. He often treats musics as cultural phenomena, mindful of their history and current position, unafraid to appropriate and explore what he calls the emptied-out or sketched-out worlds that remain in music after the 20th century....