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Czech Composer Focus: Antonín Dvořák and Kryštof Mařatka

  • Bohemian National Hall, Historic Ballroom 321 East 73rd Street New York, NY, 10021 United States (map)
National Museum, Czech Museum of Music, Antonín Dvořák Museum, Prague.

National Museum, Czech Museum of Music, Antonín Dvořák Museum, Prague.

Join us for the world premiere of the exciting new piano arrangement of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony “From the New World,” created and performed by contemporary Czech composer/conductor/pianist Kryštof Mařatka.  Originally composed and premiered in New York City by the New York Philharmonic in 1893, the “New World” Symphony is symbolic of Czech and American musical dialogue and cultural understanding.  Musicologist Michael Beckerman, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music at NYU, will offer pre-concert remarks and have a discussion with the artist.  

Pay at door General Admission $20; Seniors, Students, Czech Center Club Members $10.  

Supported by Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association

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Kryštof MAŘATKA Czech composer Kryštof Mařatka lives and works in Prague and Paris. The versatility which marks his artistic activities, carried out between several countries, is often considered as a strong link that he creates between the various cultural universes which he’s inspired by or which he interrogates, while discovering new ways of musical expression.

Kryštof Mařatka’s catalogue of works reflects the author’s attachment to multiple sources and more or less evocative subjects, some of which return regularly, and which are very present in all of his works. These are the traditional music of the world, the birth of Man’s language, prehistoric art and musical instruments of the Palaeolithic. Other works evoke intimate universes with more personal touches such as dreams, contemplation and memories - a collection of legacies sometimes woven as allegories to a childhood lived in a totalitarian country. Melodramas (written on various texts by Karel Čapek, Franz Kafka, Daniil Kharms…) are a very special category in Kryštof Mařatka’s catalogue, while in other works, the instrumental aspect and the know-how of the performer are at the heart of the score, seeking to combine virtuosity, technique and invention in complicity with the sound nature of the instrument. Other works in Kryštof Mařatka’s catalogue are dedicated to young musicians and have been conceived specifically for pedagogical projects organised by structures such as the Philharmonie de Paris (DEMOS), regional or municipal Conservatoires, or abroad, as for Trossingen’s Hochschule or for Prague’s Conservatoire. Various arrangements and transcriptions finish off Kryštof Mařatka’s catalogue and form a coherent whole with the composer’s original works as they are often born from the need for a musical practice led by the author and his colleagues.

Many institutions, festivals and orchestras have commissioned, programmed and / or interpreted Kryštof Mařatka’s works: the Donaueschinger Musiktage SWR Festival (Germany), the Caramoor Summer Music Festival (USA), the Philharmonie de Paris, the Prague National theatre and Opera, the Prague Symphonic Orchestra FOK, the Festival Pablo Casals de Prades (France), the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (USA), the Calliopée Ensemble (Paris), the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Strasbourg MUSICA Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Vigmor Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées (Paris), the Ars Musica Festival in Brussels, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Spring Festival, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de France, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Radio France Choir, the Polish Chamber Choir Gdansk, the Ensemble InterContemporain, the Ensemble Modern…

As conductor, Kryštof Mařatka performs with symphonic and various other ensembles in programs often built around his own work, but also offering repertoire pieces and compositions by his contemporaries. Kryštof Mařatka has thus directed ensembles such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Nederlands Kamerorkest at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Prague Philharmonia Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Orchestra, the Lille National Orchestra, the Prague National Opera Orchestra and many others.

Kryštof Mařatka also performs as a pianist. The physical relationship to a musical instrument and the confrontation to the art of interpretation conditioned by the mastery of the playing is one of the keys to his composer’s thought. Coming from the piano class of the Prague Conservatoire (1986-1992), he stems from the Czech piano school tradition and continues to play solo or shares the stage with other chamber music performers. Apart from the works of the repertoire and his own compositions, he often puts forward his passion for the work of Leoš Janáček or for improvisation. He thus tries to raise awareness of the beauty of musical creation through the experience of the birth of a work witnessed by the audience in real time.

Kryštof Mařatka is the author of the film From Your Life (74’ min, in Czech with French or English subtitles) dedicated to his father, Zdeněk Mařatka. Born in 1914, this eminent physician has known eight different political regimes: against the background of philosophical reflection and discussions between several generations of a family, it is the whole of the 20th century that we see emerge here. A book/DVD (French, English and Czech) has been published in 2016 about the creation of the film (Tomáš Doruška Productions - Prague).

Many performers have recorded his music, and three monographic CDs  of Kryštof Mařatka’s works have been produced: one devoted to his chamber music (CD Lyrinx), the other to concert pieces with orchestra (CD Arion), and finally one to his music for ensemble (CD Dux). In 2016, the Czech National Film Archives of Czech Cinema published a DVD of the Czech silent movie Batalion from 1927 with Kryštof Mařatka’s original music, commissioned by the Musée du Louvre. As a conductor, Kryštof Mařatka also recorded a CD for Challenge Classics with Alexander Raskatov’s Obikhod, together with the Hilliard Ensemble and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. As a pianist, in 2015, he was asked by the Czech Radio to record Leoš  Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared with tenor Aleš  Briscein.

In 2006, Kryštof Mařatka won the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize at the International Competition of Musical Personalities in Lodz (Poland) for his work Luminarium - Mosaic of Twenty-Seven Fragments of World Music - concerto for clarinet and orchestra, the  1st Prize of the Shanghai Spring International Festival in China (2007) and of Radio France for his work Chant G’hai for suona (Chinese oboe) and symphonic orchestra. The piece has been programmed at the Expo Shanghai in 2010) and reprised by the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017, with Hu Chen Yun as soloist.

In 2007, he was awarded the Pierre Cardin Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts, Paris, for musical composition.

In 2007, a documentary film has been produced about Kryštof Mařatka’s musical universe: “Birth of an imaginary” - (26’ min, Karl More Productions), broadcast on the European television channel MEZZO.

Kryštof Mařatka’s works are published by the Jobert Editions, Paris

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