Svoboda, Tomáš

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Svoboda, Tomáš

Svoboda, Tomáš, Czech-American composer; b. Paris (of Czech parents), Dec. 6, 1939. His father was the renowned mathematician Antonin Svoboda. After the outbreak of World War II, his family went to Boston, where he began piano lessons as a child; in 1946 he went with his family to Prague and studied at the Cons, with Hlobil, Kabelác, and Dobiás (1954-62), graduating with degrees in composition, conducting, and percussion; he was only 17 when his first Sym. was premiered by the Prague Sym. Orch. Following further training at the Prague Academy of Music (1962-64), he settled in the U.S. and pursued graduate studies with Dahl and Stevens at the Univ. of Southern Calif, in Los Angeles (1966-69). In 1971 he became a teacher of composition, theory, and percussion at Portland (Ore.) State Univ. His music is marked by broad melodic lines in economically disposed harmonies; there are elements of serialism in chromatic episodes.


dramatic: Incidental Music To :D.Seabrook’s play The Clockmaker (1986). ORCH.: Scherzo for 2 Euphonias and Orch. (1955; Prague, Sept. 3, 1958); 6 syms.: No. 1, of Nature (1956; Prague, Sept. 7, 1957; rev. 1984; Portland, Ore., March 10, 1985), No. 2 (1964), No. 3 for Organ and Orch. (1965), No. 4, Apocalyptic (1975; Portland, Ore., Feb. 19, 1978), No. 5, in Unison (1978; Portland, Ore., Nov. 13, 1988), and No. 6 for Clarinet and Orch. (1991; Portland, Ore., April 26, 1992); In a Linden’s Shadow, symphonic poem for Organ and Orch. (1958); Dramatic Overture (Prague Radio, Sept. 18, 1959); 6 Variations for Violin and String Orch. (1961); Christmas Concertino for Harp and Chamber Orch. (1961); Suite for Bassoon, Harpsichord, and Strings (1962; Prague, April 11, 1963); Étude for Chamber Orch. (1963); 3 Pieces (1966; Sacramento, Calif., March 30, 1967); Concertino for Oboe, Brass Choir, and Timpani (1966; Los Angeles, March 21, 1968); Reflections (1968; Toronto, March 21, 1972); Sinfoniette (à la Renaissance) (Jacksonville, Ore., Aug. 14, 1972); Labyrinth for Chamber Orch. (1974); Prelude and Fugue for Strings (1974); 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (Portland, Ore., Nov. 17, 1974) and No. 2 (1989); Violin Concerto (1975; Jacksonville, Ore., Aug. 15, 1976); Overture of the Season (Bend, Ore., Oct. 6, 1978); Nocturne (Cosmic Sunset) (Sunriver, Ore., Aug. 20, 1981); Eugene Overture (Festive) (Eugene, Ore., Sept. 24, 1982); Ex libris (Louisville, Dec. 3, 1983); Serenade (Sarasota, Fla., March 24, 1984); Concerto for Chamber Orch. (1986; Portland, Ore., Sept. 9, 1988); Dance Suite (Jacksonville, Ore., Aug. 8, 1987); 3 Cadenzas for Piano and Orch. (Boston, March 29, 1990); Swing Dance (1992; Billings, Mont., Aug. 29, 1993); Meditation for Oboe and Strings (1993); Marimba Concerto (1994; Portland, Ore., March 26, 1995). CHAMBER: Evening Negro Songs and Dances for Piano and 2 Percussionists (1956); 2 string quartets (1960, 1995); Baroque Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1962); Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano (1962); Septet for Bassoon, Harpsichord, and String Quintet (1962); Divertimento for 7 Instruments (1967); Parabola for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano (1971); Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Bassoon (1979); Passacaglia and Fugue for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1981); Trio for Electric Guitar, Piano, and Percussion (1982); Trio Sonata for Electric Guitar, Vibraphone, and Piano (1982); Brass Quintet (N.Y., Nov. 22, 1983); Violin Sonata (1984); Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1984); Chorale in E- flat (“homage to Aaron Copland”) for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Double Bass, and Piano (N.Y., May 10, 1985); Legacy for Brass Septet (1988); Military Movements for Guitar and Harpsichord (1991); Theme and Variations for Flute, Clarinet, and Piano (1992); Duo for Xylophone and Marimba (1993); Quartet for 4 Horns (1993); Arab Dance for Synthesizer (1994); also piano music, including 2 sonatas (1967, 1985), and organ pieces. VOCAL: 44th Sonnet of Michelangelo for Alto and Instrumental Ensemble (1967); Separate Solitude for Chorus and 2 Clarinets (1973; Portland, Ore., March 2, 1976); Celebration of Life, cantata for Soprano, Tenor, Chorus, Instrumental Ensemble, and Tape, after Aztec poetry (Portland, Ore., Oct. 31, 1976); Chorale Without Words for Chorus and Piano (1984; N.Y., March 16, 1986); Festival for Men’s Chorus (Portland, Ore., Sept. 9, 1987); Haleluya for Men’s Chorus (1990); Summer Fragments for Soprano and Piano(1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire