Opus Osm Minutka: Pulling Out All Stops

Chrobokova

Kateřina Chroboková performs music in two widely different styles at the 2015 Smetana’s Litomyšl festival.

Organist Kateřina Chroboková explores variations on Gregorian hymn, sampled world organ music, and the effect of her own voice at two Smetana’s Litomyšl concerts June 20, 22.

Opus Osm’s Minutka (“Little Minute”)

5 Fast Facts about Kateřina Chroboková’s Upcoming Concerts

1 In her organ concert June 20, she will perform her own Veni Sancte Spiritus, the premiere of her 10-minute variations on the theme of the Holy Spirit sequences of this Gregorian hymn. She also sings as she plays, telling Opus Osm, “My voice adds another layer of sound, another register to the organ.” Also on this program: works by Bach, and Concertante Symphony (with Kateřina Englichová, harp, and Cecile Boiffin, tympani), by Jan Hanuš.

Chroboková

Kateřina Chroboková

2 Her organ concert June 22, “Katt: Inside the Apple,” is another of her premieres. The title comes from a poem by Israeli poet Yehudi Amichai, but Kateřina Chroboková has written her own variations on his text. (And Katt, her “alter ego,” is a nickname she picked up in Luxembourg.) This hour-long composition uses a specially-designed organ with software containing samples of various types of organs from around the world. Again, the organist’s own voice will accompany her music.

3 How does she mix centuries-old music with her own contemporary musical explorations? “It’s great to perform music by other [traditional] composers – Bach was a genius,” she says, “but I’m extremely happy to explore my own things. Your own music is the most authentic, the most You.” Still, she expects to “never, never give up playing classical music too.”

4 She admits that while studying music at the conservatory, the idea of playing her own music using electronics never occurred to her. “But there was one major limitation with the organ,” she explains. “You can’t move it.” Exploring the possibilities inherent in an electronic organ, and its ability to add all musical styles to its soundbank, led Ms Chroboková into new variations and explorations, but still using her classical training as a foundation.

Watch this interesting, entertaining video to understand more about organs and Katt: Inside the Apple:

5 Kateřina Chroboková studied at the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava and the Janáček Academy in Brno. She has a master’s degree from Utrecht School of the Arts, and is currently studying for a PhD. She has performed in many international festivals and as soloist for several major Czech orchestras. She also works as a teacher and tutor, giving masterclasses and workshops. She released a CD in 2011, and her next project is her original work which will be performed at the Strings of Autumn Festival.

– Mary Matz, Opus Osm editor

Photo Credits: Top: Smetana's Litomyšl website; bottom: Miroslav Setnička; video: YouTube-Kateřina Chroboková

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