Ostrava Days Festival 

English: Muhal Richard Abrams, moers festival 2009

Source: Ostrava Center for New Music. This fest takes place in Ostrava, Czech Republic starting in late August. The lineup is extensive, but here are a few highlights.

* The Opening Night concert, launching the 80-piece international Ostrava New Orchestra (ONO) with a program featuring world premieres by Phill Niblock and Rolf Gupta, Salvatore Sciarrino’s virtuosic Giorno velato presso il lago nero with violinist Hana Kotková, and Iannis Xenakis’ rarely performed AÏS with baritone Holger Falk and percussionist Tamás Schlanger. (August 27 at Trojhalí Karolina)

* A double bill featuring key figures from the internationally acclaimed Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM), which played a major role in the history of American experimental music: pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and trombonist George Lewis. Featuring Ostravská banda with live performances by these pioneering artists, the program also includes Christian Wolff’s Five Songs (sung by baritone Thomas Buckner), the world premiere of Petr Bakla’s Summer Work (commissioned by the festival), Richard Ayres’ NONcerto for horn (with Daniel Costello playing the solo part), and Marc Sabat’s Lying in the Grass (featuring pianist Daan Vandewalle). (August 28 at Trojhalí Karolina)

* “Radical Past,” an evening showcasing pioneering composers of the 20th century, whose work radically change the direction of music: Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Jan Rychlík, Petr Kotik and Philip Glass. Ostrava New Orchestra (ONO) will perform the works at the Antonín Dvořák Theatre. (August 30)

* Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated, a 60-minute set of 36 variations on a Chilean song, performed by pianist Daan Vandewalle. (August 31 at Hlubina Coal Mine)

* Two operas: Kate Soper’s acclaimed Here Be Sirens for three soprano and grand piano, in which three sirens kill time on an island as they await an endless procession of doomed sailors (August 25 at Hlubina Coal Mine); and the Czech premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s Make No Noise, featuring a libretto by Tom Holloway, based on Isabel Coixet’s critically acclaimed screenplay, The Secret Life of Words. A co-production with Bregenzer Festspiele festival (Austria), Make No Noise is sung by soprano Measha Brueggergosman and a cast of German and Austrian singers. (September 1 at Trojhalí Karolina)

* The Closing Night concert, during which ONO will give the world premiere of Muhal Richard Abrams’ Textures, commissioned by the festival, and the Czech premieres of Bernhard Lang’s Monadologie XIX for large orchestra and Olga Neuwirth’s Trurliade – Zone Zero for percussion and orchestra. (September 2 at Trojhalí Karolina)

* The Minimarathon of Electronic Music, curated by Martin Klimeš (August 26, in cooperation with Bludný Kámen Association and Art Gallery in Ostrava).

* An evening curated by composer Christopher Butterfield (University of Victoria, B.C.), paying homage to the legacy of Czech-born Canadian composer Rudolf Komorous, who taught in Victoria from 1971 to 94 and strongly influenced generations of composers on the West Coast of Canada. The program will feature the European premieres of works by Martin Arnold, Linda Catlin Smith, Owen Underhill, Christopher Butterfield and Rudolf Komorous. (August 31 at Hlubina Coal Mine Area)

* Recitals by pianist Joseph Kubera (music by Christian Wolff, Lejaren Hiller and Muhal Richard Abrams) on August 25; String Noise (world premieres of Alex Mincek’s Way and Petr Cigler’s Nothing is Free) also on August 25; Momenta Quartet (Kotik’s String Quartet No. 2, “Torso,” and Petr Bakla’s Major Thirds) on August 30; and Neue Vocalsolisten (Music by Enno Poppe, Friedrich Cerha and Salvatore Sciarrino) on September 1.

* A performance/installation evening, including Alvin Lucier’s Love Song for two violins and string; the film An Gléacht by the late Irish visionary artist Caoimhín Breathnach, with original live music by Walshe and friends; and Walshe’s Zusammen I for 10 performers and film. (August 26 at the Gallery of Fine Arts)

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