The Contempuls 2012 New Music Festival Wants to Make Prague Matter
“We need to create awareness of the current European (and American) music scene,” Petr Bakla tells Opus Osm. “We need to become part of the relevant context, even if it’s just to come with something different and opposing. The isolation in which the new music scene in Prague has been operating is intolerable and extremely unhealthy,” he charges.
So the Contempuls Festival is bringing Czech and international ensembles to Prague in concerts on the next three Fridays in November. “We are inviting top performers from abroad and presenting pieces that have had a dynamic effect on the world scene, or are actually changing it today,” says Mr Bakla, co-founder with Miroslav Pudlák, of the fifth annual event.
The Festival is presented by the Czech Music Information Centre, and this year features new music performed by musicians from Belgium, Slovakia, the Netherlands, and the UK; musicians from New York and Denmark opened the Festival with two concerts on Tuesday.
Neighboring countries already have healthy new music events, Festival program director Bakla says, “and they have always been there.” In the Czech Republic, he points to the “very spectacular” Ostrava Days festival (running since 2001) and a couple of smaller events in Brno, such as the Exposition of New Music with its “quite long and formidable” tradition.
But in Prague, the former New Music Marathon was discontinued a few years ago, and nothing has taken its place. But that’s starting to change, Mr Bakla says, and the Contempuls Festival is part of it by offering quality contemporary art music. An equal goal of the Festival is to stimulate the domestic composing and performing scene.
The Contempuls 2012 website will offer scheduled podcasts from the concerts each day during the Festival. Live concerts are set for Nov 9 at St Lawrence Church, and Nov 16 and 23 at La Fabrika. The MoEns (Prague) ensemble will perform Gorecki’s Lerchenmusik on the 16th. — oo
– Mary Matz
Photo Credits: Karel Šuster