Kučera, Václav, Czech composer and musicologist; b. Prague, April 29, 1929. He studied musicology and aesthetics at the Charles Univ. in Prague (1948–51), and then composition (with Shebalin) and musicology at the Moscow Cons. (1951–56). Returning to Prague, he worked at the Czech Radio (1956–59). After serving as head of contemporary musical studies for the Union of Czech Composers (1959–62), he was head of studies in music aesthetics for the Inst. of Musicology (1962–69). From 1969 to 1983 he served as general secretary of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts as a teacher of contemporary composition, and later was prof, of composition there from 1988. From 1988 to 1990 he was president of the “Prague Spring” International Music Festival. In 1972 he received the Prix d’Italia for his Lidice and in 1983 received the prize of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists for his String Quartet, Consciousness of Continuities. In 1986 he was made a Merited Artist by the Czech government. After following the precepts of socialist realism in his scores, he developed an advanced compositional style in which he sometimes utilized electronics. Among his books are a study of Mussorgsky (1959) and a theoretical vol. on creative experiments in music (1973).
dramatic:Zbojnicky ohen (Brigand’s Fire), dance drama (1958); Festivalova pohadka (Festival Fairy Tale), ballet (1959); Sdrce a sen (Heart and Dream), ballet (1973); Zivot bez chyby (Life without Fault), ballet (1979). orch.: Sym. (1962); Krysaf (The Pied Piper), stereophonic concertino for Flute and 2 Chamber Orchs. (1964); Obraz (Tableau) for Piano and Orch. (1966–70); Salut, symphonic mosaic (1975); Operand for Chamber Orch. (1979); Fortunata, Omaggio à Vivaldi for Chamber Orch. (1979); Avanti (1981); Balada a romance for Chamber Orch. (1984); Sapporo, symphonic poem with chorus (1991); Imaginative Concerto: A Tribute to Salvador Dali for Guitar and Strings (1994); Vzyvani radosti (Invocation for Joy) for Guitar Orch. (1997; also for Guitar Quartet); Hovory dûvërné (Intimate Conversations), double concertino for Bass Clarinet, Piano, and Strings (1998). chamber:Dramas for 9 Instruments (1961); Protests for Violin, Piano, and Timpani (1963); Genesis for Flute and Harp (1965); Hie sunt homines for Piano Quartet (1965); Spectra for Dulcimer (1965); Diptchon for Flute, Bass Clarinet, Piano, and Percussion (1966); Duodrama for Bass Clarinet and Piano (1967); To be for Percussion Quartet (1968); Panta rhei for Flute, Vibraphone, and Percussion (1969); Invariant for Bass Clarinet, Piano, and Tape (1969); Scenario for Flute, Violin, and Cello (1970); Argot for Brass Quintet (1970); Diario for Guitar (1971); Taboo a Due Boemi for Bass Clarinet, Piano, and Percussion (1972); Spring Manifesto: In Memory of Prague, May 1945 for 4 Players (1974); Consciousness of Continuities, string quartet (1976); Horizons for 5 Players (1978); Aphorisms for Violin and Piano (1978); Epigrams for Violin and Cello (1978); Science Fiction for Jazz Ensemble (1980); Rosen für Rosa for Harpsichord (1980); Aquarelles for Flute and Guitar (1981); Stenograms for Flute, Cello, and Piano (1981); Wagnerian Inventions for Flute (1982); Capriccios for Violin and Guitar (1982); Nouvelles for Guitar (1984); Eruptions for 5 Cellos (1984); Gogh’s Self-Portrait for Bass Clarinet and Tape (1985); Prague Ritornelles for Bass Clarinet and Piano (1986); Préfigurations, Hommage à Hans Arp for Guitar (1986); Ex abrupto for 2 Percussionists (1987); Elegy for Viola (1988); Duettinos for Oboe and Bassoon (1988); Pieter Brueghel Inspirations for Flute, Bass Clarinet, and Piano (1988); Pastoralissimo for Horn (1990); Consonanza, trio for 2 Oboes and English Horn (1990); Celebrations of Phantasy, Hommage à Max Ernst for 2 Guitars (1991); Vivaldiana for 12 Instruments (1991); Oraculum for Bass Clarinet and Harp (1992); Arcades for Trombone and Piano (1993). Piano: Cardiograms (1983); Tuning (1990–94). vocal:The Time Has Set In, cantata for Men’s Chorus and Orch. (1961); The Blue Planet for Men’s Chorus (1964); Orbis pictus for Chorus and Ancient Instruments (1975); Amoroso, song cycle for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, and Harp (1975); Catharsis for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1979); Ecce homo for Bass, Violin, Viola, Cello, Harp, and Percussion (1980); Listening to Time for Voice and Percussion (1981); Bird, melodrama for Reciter, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Marimba (1983); The Painter is Painting for Children’s Chorus (1984); Bitter and Other Songs for Soprano and Piano (1985); A Serious Hour, song cycle for High Voice and Guitar (1986); The Decisive Time, cantata for Chorus and Orch. (1988); Freedom for Men’s Chorus (1991). electronic:A Kinetic Ballet (1968); Ki-nechromie (1969). other:Lidice, radio musical-dramatic fresco (1972); Spartacus, quadrophonic musical score (1976).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire