Wednesday, January 18,2011: Never Too Young

Curious about new music? You're never too young (or too old) to learn, as Ema Vorošová discovers

NuBerg: You’re Never Too Young

You’re never too young to start enjoying music. Most people would agree with that.

But add “to start enjoying original, contemporary music” and people begin to squirm.

The Berg Orchestra is changing that, with their annual NuBerg Award recognizing local, original, contemporary music compositions commissioned by the orchestra. And we, the public – regular people – get to vote for the winner, now through Feb 12.

Even if some among us may think they don’t like contemporary music.

But The Berg is making it temptingly easy to vote. The ballot and the audio for all six entries is currently on The Berg Orchestra’s website and each composition can be listened to uncut. There are even listening docks around the city – at the Municipal Library, Archa Theatre, and The New Stage – where you can get details and also listen to the selections.

As Eva Kesslová, public relations director for The Berg Orchestra tells Opus Osm, “NuBerg is a great opportunity to sample new music without any risk — no pricey tickets, and the opportunity to switch to another work in case I don’t like the one I am listening to [on the website].”

The six candidate composers (plus Ema)

“And it’s fun to be able to influence who wins and which work is going to be performed at the Berg Orchestra Opening Concert of the 2012 Series,” she adds.

There are two prizes: 5,000 Czech crowns for the winner of the “public” vote, and 10,000 Czech crowns for the winner named by the “professional musicians” jury. Raffle winners from the public will receive prizes such concert and movie tickets, books, and CDs at the opening concert Mar 5.

Listening to the NuBerg candidates is a great way to learn about contemporary music – and how varied it is. This year’s entries offer something for everyone. Mrs Kesslová notes that at a discussion with some of the composers held recently at the Municipal Library, one man “told everybody that before he started going to our concerts, he thought contemporary music was horrible,” she says. Now he’s a subscriber to the Berg’s entire concert series.

She adds, “We’ve had many reactions like this: ‘I don’t care what names are on the program – and I don’t know them, anyway.

But I trust the orchestra.’”

You can’t get a better vote of confidence than that. — oo

– Mary Matz

Entries in the 2011 NuBerg Award:
Roman Pallas, “Welcome Waltz,” premiered Apr 4, Lichtenstein Palace; Jan Trojan, “Dinner at the End of the World,” premiered June 13, Bubenská; Michal Nejtek, “Heart in Darkness,” premiered Sept 13, Roxy Club; Jan Dušek, “A Child of the Ghetto,” premiered Oct 10, Spanish Synagogue; Jana Vorošová, “4 Haiku,” premiered Nov 2, Prague Conservatory; and Ondřej Štochl, “Blue – Innocent and Fragile,” premiered Dec 5, Salvator Church. Judges include the public; and six jurors from outside the Czech Republic; plus 1 appointed by Literární Noviny magazine; and Peter Vrábel, the orchestra’s artistic director. Who is Ema? Composer Vorošová’s daughter. www.nuberg.cz

Photo Credits: The Berg Orchestra

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