Composers

Vičar Jan

5.5.1949—

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Biography

Jan Vicar began playing the accordion at the age of eight. He won many awards as a soloist or in duo with his brother in the national Contests of Young People's Creativity. After studying accordion and clarinet at the People's Conservatory in Olomouc, he continued his studies in music education and Czech at the Philosophical Faculty of Palacky University in Olomouc (1967 - 1972). He simultaneously pursued accordion studies at the Conservatory in Ostrava. He completed his career as a solo accordionist by winning first place in the instrumental category of the Army Contest of Artistic Talents in 1973. During his studies, he was engaged as a leader of student ensembles, as an instrumentalist and composer of songs in the area of pop music, and as a choirmaster of the university students choir. At the onset of his career as composer Jan Vicar began composing popular songs at the age of fifteen; and some of them were recorded by Czechoslovakian Radio. His songs for children (Captain, Drawn with a Yellow Crayon, Bandits on the Moon? etc.) were performed by the Ostrava Radio Children's Choir of Jaromir Richter with the accompaniment of the rock group Flamingo, and became quite popular in the late sixties. In 1973 he began teaching at the Department of Musicology and Music Education at Palacky University, Olomouc. In 1980 he started to lecture on music theory at the Department of Music Theory and History of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague. This intensified his research and pedagogical orientation (PhDr. in 1974, CSc. in 1985, associate professor of Academy of Music and Performing Arts in 1988, associate professor of Palacky University in 1995, professor of the theory and history of music in 1998). After The Velvet Revolution (1989) Vicar has been active in the re-establishment of the musicology program (canceled in 1980) at Palacky University (became the head of the Division, later Department of Musicology, 1990 - 98, from 2000 on). He is also the professor of music theory at the Faculty of Music of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and in 2005 he was a visiting professor at Birmingham/Southern Colleger, Alabama, USA.

His activities as composer of classical contemporary music deepened in the years 1976 through 1981 when he studied composition at Janacek's Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (with Zdenek Zouhar) as well as at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague (with Jiri Dvoracek). Music critics acclaimed his exotic vocal cycle Japanese Year, cantata Cry, the polystylistic String Quartet and Sonata for flute and cembalo; the folksy Nonet about Mountains, Oak Groves and the Land of Wallachia; and the virtuoso Music for strings and timpani. Research, critical, educational and organizational activities in the second half of the eighties kept Vicar out of his developing compositional career until the 1990's. He sought renewed inspiration in the formation of children's choruses and in exotic and historic themes. This exploration resulted in the collection, Choruses and Songs for Children (Olomouc 1997) and the chamber pieces The Instructions of Suruppak, and Night Prayer, which were performed at the Days of Contemporary Music in Prague and at the Fifth International Festival of Contemporary Music in Santiago de Chile. Vicar's inventive, expressive, and technically refined work is illuminated by contemporary compositional techniques. Because of his use of popular idioms as well as elements of neoclassical and ethnic music, Vicar's work can be classified within the broad framework of today's musical post modernism. Among his most recent successes is first prize at the 9th International Composers' Competition Jihlava 2008.

His publications include the following books: The Accordion and its Musical Use (Praha 1981), Vaclav Trojan (Praha 1989), Music Criticism and Popularization of Music (Praha 1997), Musical Aesthetics (Praha 1998, co-author R. Dykast), Imprints. Essays on Czech Music and Aesthetics (Togga, Prague 2005, in English).

 

Work

SELECTED COMPOSITIONS

Chamber Music

STRING QUARTET (1978, rev. 1982), CHF, r CR 12'.
NONET ABOUT MOUNTAINS, OAK GROVES AND THE LAND OF WALLACHIA (1979), CHF, 8'.
SONATA FOR FLUTE AND CEMBALO (1979, rev. 1986), CHF, r CR, 12'.
THREE MARCHES for doctor Kabyl (version for brass quintet, 1999-2000), API 7'
MUSIC FOR MISHAN (Teddy) BEAR, for brass quintet (2001), r CRo Praha /The Brass Quintet of CR, 2002/
QUATRO VISIONI per cembalo (2005)
SONGS OUT OF THE BASEMENT. A cycle-scene to poems by J. Zacek for baritone, bassoon, radio receiver and a thrush of park (2008)

Vocal Music

JAPANESE YEAR. Cycle of songs for soprano, flute, piano and prepared piano to lyrics by Japanese poet Basho in Czech translations by Miroslav Novak and Jan Vladislav (1979), Honourable mention in the Contest of Young Czech Composers in 1980, Pa, r CR, r Pa, 16'.
THE INSTRUCTIONS OF SURUPPAK. For contratenor (or baritone or mezzo soprano) and harp on the Accadian text (1994), MusicOl, 7'.
THE NIGHT PRAYER. For contralto, oboe, clarinetto, fagotto e piano, to an ancient Babylonian text (1996), MusicOl, r CR, 8'.

Orchestral Music

MUSIC FOR STRINGS AND TIMPANI (1980), CHF, r CRo, 20'.
WAY TO THE SUN. Symphonic picture (1980, rev. 1981), CHF, r CR, 12'
CRY. Cantata for baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra to poem by Jiri Zacek (1981), CHF, 20'
FANFARE FOR PALACKY UNIVERSITY IN A, IN ES (1996, 1998), MusicOl, 2', 2'
VIVAT UNIVERSITAS! Symphonic procession for large orchestra (2000) CD UP 2002 8'

Choral Music

HELLO SEA! A Song-cycle for children soloists, children's choir, piano, guitar and percussion instruments ad libitum to lyrics by Jiri Zacek. English translation by Susanna Behr (1981), Third Prize in the Festival of Songs Composition Contest Olomouc 1982, MusicOl, r CR, 20'.
WE ARE SINGING. Cycle of compositions for two-part children's choir and piano (and trumpet ad libitum) to lyrics by Jindrich Balik. English translation by Jessica Jayne Maertin (1982), MusicOl, 7'.
MICKEY'S DITTIES. Collection of compositions for children's choir, piano and brass/wind instruments ad libitum to lyrics by Jiri Zacek. English translation by Susanna Behr (1993), MusicOl, r CR, 11'.
U.F.O.S AND OTHER SONGS FOR CHILDREN. Cycle for children's choir and piano (and guitar, bass-drum and wind instrument ad libitum) to lyrics by Jiri Zacek. English translation by Jessica Jayne Maertin (1993), MusicOl, r CR, TV videorecording, 9'

 

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