Vácav Kučera (b. 29 April, 1929 in Prague) is one of the great composers of the 20th century. His works encompass all genres—orchestral, stage, vocal, chamber, electronic—but those involving the guitar (an instrument he has a special kinship with) hold a unique place within his oeuvre. He has chosen this medium to express some of his most profound and poetic visions. We pay homage to Maestro Kucera through these concert featuring his “Concierto Imaginativo—Homenaje a Salvador Dalí” and, his “Diario—Omaggio a Che Guevara” (for solo guitar).
Vácav Kučera studied composition at the Moscow Conservatoire (under Vissarion), and simultaneously graduated with a specialization musicological studies. He worked in the Czechoslovak Radio, headed the Cabinet of Contemporary Musical Studies affiliated to the Union of Czechoslovak Composers, and was active at the Institute of Musical Science in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. From 1969 to 1983, he functioned as lead secretary of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists. Since 1972 he has been Professor of Composition at the Prague Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (at present he is Docent in the subject of modern compositional trends). In 1979 he was awarded the state distinction “For Outstanding Work”, and in 1986 honored with the title Merited Artist—one of the most prestigious awards granted in the Czech Republic. As a composer, Kučera began from an admiration for Janacek, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, and, integrating the character of Czech and Moravian melodiousness, achieved a uniquely personal musical idiom. His artistic ‘voice’ has the character of an individually tinged expressiveness that features the utilization of new musically-technical means to express socially-important and artistically inspired arguments of the present time. The compositions of Kučera have won numerous distinctions: the Tableau for Piano and Orchestra – the prize of Queen Maria-Jose (Geneva 1970); Lidice – special recognition of the Czechoslovak Radio for the 25th anniversary of Czechoslovakia s liberation (1970), as well as the prize of the Italian Radio Prix d’Italia (1972). The cycle Celebration of Spring – the first prize in the competition of the Central Council of the Trades-Unions (1977), and the string quartet Consciousness of Continuities – the prize of the Union of Czechoslovak Composers and Concert Artists (1983).
Also on the Program:
Ting Ho: Concertino Morning – (Nancy Vanderslice, oboe; Andrew Pecota, Lupophone)
Richard Russell: Never Summer
Robert W. Butts: Symphony #1 – (with Emily Thompson and Karole Lewis, sopranos)
New Jersey Institute of Technology
University Heights Newark, New Jersey 07102
“The Virtuoso Guitar” – Stanley Alexandrowicz (10 and 6 String Guitars)
Compositions of the 19th century’s greatest composer-guitarists Napoleon Coste, J. K. Mertz and Johann Dubez, on an 1861-design, 10-string Viennese guitar, and on the modern classical guitar, Contemporary pieces including Ernst Bacon’s “Parting & Fulfillment,” Brian Fennelly’s “Maverick Tango,” Vaclav Kucera’s dramatic concert-cycle “Diario―Omaggio a Che Guevara,” and Eric Sessler’s Guitar-Fantasy “Bombadiliana” based on Tolkien.