Projects

Ensemble-in-Residence at Prague Offspring

With the third edition of Prague Offspring, Klangforum Wien concluded its 3-year residency with a series of events between 31 May and 2 June.

The ensemble looks back on cherished performances like the premieres of Martin Smolka's Andělské schody (Angel Steps) and new compositions by emerging Czech composers. The invaluable collaboration with the festival's esteemed  composers-in-residence such as Olga Neuwirth (2022), Georg Friedrich Haas (2023) and Rebecca Saunders (2024) manifested itself in powerful moments of artistic expression, which culminated in the staging of Haas's monumental concert installation 11,000 Strings, unleashing a microtonal universe for 50 pianos and ensemble, at Forum Karlín on 2 June 2024.

Miroslav Srnka, Founder of Prague Offspring,
(c) Petra Hajská

"In 2018, I dreamed of starting Prague Offspring and embraced my role on the artistic board of the Prague Spring Festival. With the three-year residency of Klangforum Wien, which has now concluded six years later, the first chapter of this dream has come to fruition. Everything came true – not just musically, but in ways I could never have imagined. The deep, personal connections with the audience, with the Prague music scene, and the festival itself were so profound that now, as the residency ended, it feels like a beloved family member is leaving. With gratitude for this incredible experience, I wish the ensemble all the best for their future endeavors and hope to welcome them back to Prague again one day." – Miroslav Srnka (Founder of Prague Offspring and Member of the Artistic Board of Prague Spring Festival)

Josef Třeštík, Programme Director,
(c) Vojtěch Havlík

"Klangforum Wien’s residency has been a game-changer in terms of the perception of contemporary music practice. The ensemble's fascinating musicianship, absolute professionalism, and total dedication to the music they play – be it by world-famous composers or artists at the beginning of their careers – have made a huge impact, reaching far beyond the concert hall. Their artistic relationships with some of the best composers alive, along with warm openness to the Czech music scene, have made for unforgettable festival concerts and established fruitful connections." – Josef Třeštík (Programme Director, Prague Spring)

World premiere of "Andělské schody" by Martin Smolka (Photo: (c) Ivan Ivan Malý)
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Peter Paul Kainrath, Miroslav Srnka, Josef Třeštík, Pavel Šabacký (Photo: (c) Ivan Ivan Malý)
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Master class with Andreas Lindenbaum, violoncello (Photo: (c) Petra Hajská)
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Highlights & Background

Starting in 2022, the pandemic uncertainty still looming, Prague (Off)Spring embarked on a journey dedicated to contemporary music. And Klangforum Wien had the distinct honor of being invited as the ensemble-in-residence for a period of three years. With composer-in-residence Olga Neuwirth taking center stage with the performance of her Lost Highway Suite, the concert programmes, led by conductor Bas Wiegers, also included a piece by Clara Iannotta and especially commissioned works by Czech composers which included Martin Smolka’s aforementioned Andělské schody (Angel Steps) that has since become a treasured part of the ensemble’s repertoire.

The 2023 edition of Prague Offspring commenced with a nod to the centenary of György Ligeti, and Klangforum Wien also treated the audience to a performance of in vain by Georg Friedrich Haas, hailed as “one of the first masterpieces of the 21st century“. The new tradition of premiering festival commissions by Czech composers was continued to much acclaim, which included the first performance of Lunapark by Jana Vöröšová. The musical direction was in the hands of Peter Rundel.

In a wonderful coincidence of fate, Klangforum Wien’s honorary member Rebecca Saunders is also composer-in-residence at the festival in 2024. The highpoint of performances of her works will be marked by the Czech premiere of Nether (for soprano, 19 instrumental soloists, and conductor), together with soprano Juliet Fraser. Known for its intricate interplay between the soloist’s voice and the instruments as voices, it is considered one of the most demanding compositions. Under the baton of Enno Poppe, the concert programme of the final residency-year will also pay tribute to the late Kaija Saariaho and her unique poetic language grounded in spectral music. Again, newly commissioned pieces by Czech and Slovak composers will offer fresh perspectives on new ideas in music. And since such a successful residency has to be celebrated appropriately, the festival invited the performance of Georg Friedrich Haas's 11,000 Strings for 50 pianos and ensemble to the Czech capital.

Georg Friedrich Haas, Peter Rundel (Photo: (c) Ivan Ivan Malý)
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Jana Vöröšová (Photo: (c) Ivan Ivan Malý)
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World premieres by Czech composers
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in vain, Georg Friedrich Haas (Photo: (c) Petra Hajská)
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Knowledge Transfer

What does it feel like sightreading a new composition? Which performance techniques are important?  From the beginning, mentorship for aspiring talents and knowledge transfer were an integral part of Klangforum Wien’s engagement during their residency. Ensemble members hosted masterclasses and reading sessions which were met with great interest and dedication by the students – a unique opportunity for the next generation of musicians and composers to refine their vision for contemporary music practice.

Farewell

The members of Klangforum Wien will fondly remember their tenure as ensemble-in-residence on stage at the beautiful DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, as well as the deep connections with the vibrant artistic community and its audience. The vital experiences at Prague Offspring will continue to inspire their never-ending quest to pursue new horizons of music.

Our residency in Prague was a pivotal experience for the ensemble. We are indebted to the festival's programme director, Josef Třeštík, who not only knew how to skillfully showcase our own excellence, but also cultivated precious connections within the Czech music community. We are taking with us a wealth of memories, new contacts, and insights that will undoubtedly shape our future endeavors.
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Peter Paul Kainrath (Artistic Director, Klangforum Wien)

The concert programme of the residency

The following list includes all programmes that were performed during the three-year residency 2022-2024:

2022

Concert 1, 27 May: (Conductor: Bas Wiegers)

Olga Neuwirth: incidendo/fluido
Martin Smolka: Andělské schody (Angel Steps) (world premiere, commissioned by Prague Spring)
Clara Iannotta : a stir among the stars, a making way
Olga Neuwirth: ...miramondo multiplo...

Concert 2, 28 May: (Conductor: Bas Wiegers)

Olga Neuwirth: Spleen III
Olga Neuwirth: Lost Highway Suite
Petr Hájek / Martin Janíček: 15 Minutes and 15 Seconds in Galegion City

World premieres of compositions commissioned by Prague Spring:
Jakub Rataj: Fade no more
Lucie Vítková: Dream of Others
Konstantin Heuer: peripety - dissolution
Ian Mikyska: Dissolving; Settling
Adrián Demoč: Chord and Trembling

2023

Concert 1, 26 May: (Conductor: Peter Rundel)

György Ligeti: Chamber Concerto
Jana Vöröšová: Lunapark (world premiere, commissioned by Prague Spring)
György Ligeti: Piano Concerto
Georg Friedrich Haas: Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich...

Concert 2, 27 May: (Conductor: Peter Rundel)

Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain

World premieres of compositions commissioned by the festival:
Matouš Hejl: Pendulation
František Chaloupka: The Spectral Waltzer
Michaela Pálka Plachká: Five colors of alpine fog
Pavel Šabacký: Ishan't
Šimon Voseček: Flies. Dipterans for ensemble.

2024

Concert 1, 31 May: (Conductor: Enno Poppe)

Rebecca Saunders: Fury II, Concerto for solo double bass and ensemble
Enno Poppe: Speicher VI
Rebecca Saunders: to an utterance (study)
Rebecca Saunders: Scar

Concert 2, 1 June: (Conductor: Enno Poppe)

Kaija Saariaho: Solar
Rebecca Saunders: Nether (Czech premiere)

World premieres of compositions commissioned by the festival:
Tímea Urban Hvozdíková: microdot
Michal Indrák: Generated Answers
Martin Klusák: In D: Echoes of the Beech Mountain
Matěj Sloboda: 60 noch kleinere Orchesterstückchen
Michal Wróblewski: Durée

Concert 3+4, 2 June:

Georg Friedrich Haas: 11.000 Strings (for 50 pianos and ensemble)

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