Young Careers: Encores for Martin Klusák
We first reported on composer Martin Klusák in 2012. Here he updates us on his latest world premieres and a possibly difficult, important decision he’ll have to make soon.
The young, very busy composer starts by telling Opus Osm about four of his concerts, all taking place within the short time between the end of November and the beginning of this month.
November 28 saw the premiere of his Orion Trio: Miniature Variations for String Trio, performed by Ondřej Skalický, violin; Ilia Chernoklinov,viola; and Matěj Štěpánek, cello, at HAMU. It had an encore performance Dec 16 in an industrial space at the Muzeum Stará Čistírna (The Old Waste-Water Treatment Plant Museum) in Bubeneč, Prague. Far from the comforts of the traditional concert hall, “The trio sat on a balcony high above the audience and in a subtle light,” he says.
“The largest concert of this period, though, was the premiere of a two movement piece called In Paradisum” with The Berg Orchestra at St Agnes Cloister Dec 9. “The first movement was purely electronic and inspired by cinematic narration,” Mr Klusák explains, “and the second orchestral, rather abstract, movement used a boy soprano and six players on crystal water glasses. The whole was supported by ambient light design.”
The inspiration for this piece, according to the program notes, was Mr Klusák’s discovery during a February walk through a Prague park, of a boy about his age, of similar appearance, strangled on a tree limb. “This is an unofficial requiem for you who have lost all hope. I believe that even after this darkest night you survive in the light,” he writes. The composition is currently entered in the annual NuBerg Competition sponsored by The Berg Orchestra (along with entries by Jakub Rataj, Jan Šikl, Michal Rataj, and Michaela Plachká and Tomáš Pálka).Mr Klusák’s newest world premiere continues on a spiritual theme with his composition, Psalm 57, performed Feb 6 by The Prague Philharmonic Choir (SBOR) at the Church of Sts Simon and Jude. (You can read more about this piece in the Opus Osm story, Cancellation Leads to International Prize.) “The composition was written already in 2011 and was richly inspired by medieval and Renaissance music,” he explains. This piece took first place in the category for mixed voices in the Choir’s recent International Composers Competition.
Mr Klusák graduated with a master’s degree from FAMU (The Academy of Performing Arts) last year in the department of sound design. “During those studies I started also my second subject, composition, at HAMU (The Academy of Music),” he says. “If everything goes well, I will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree. I don’t know yet where I will continue to study for the master’s degree. I have thought of both staying at HAMU and going abroad.”
How important is it for serious musicians to study abroad? “I think studying abroad is useful for students of any discipline,” Mr Klusák says. “I have studied abroad twice – it gives you a quick insight to the approaches of others. When you come back, you immediately see what could be done in a better way.”
The ultimate choice, he says, depends on personal needs and preferences. “In the case of musicians-performers, I think it greatly depends on the teacher, rather than on the institution. In the case of composition, I would be choosing equally according to who teaches it and what subjects and opportunities the school offers. Each school has a different group of teachers with different teaching approaches, so one need to make sure he wants to study the way the foreign school offers.” He prefers studying in London, Paris, or the US, although he’s also considering schools in Lyon and Vienna, he says.
But he has some time to decide. His next few months will “only” be taken up with his writing of his bachelor’s thesis, arranging a June concert in Pardubice, and preparing premieres for this summer and fall.
“In the meantime, HBO TV should release Velká Noc (The Great Night), a feature documentary and winner of the 2013 Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival,” he says. Interestingly, he didn’t provide a composition, though; “I took care of sound,” he says. – oo
– Mary Matz, editor of Opus Osm
Photo Credits: Top: Miroslav Setnička; bottom, Prague Philharmonic Choir