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Petr Kofroň

Artistic Director of the Opera

Petr Kofroň established an ensemble for contemporary music in 1983 known as the Agon ORCHESTRA, of which in the 90s he became the exclusive programme director and conductor. The orchestra is geared to Czech avant garde music of the eighties (J. Berg. Z. Vostřák, Jan Klusák, R. Komorous, M. Kopelent), contemporary alternative Czech music (J. Adamík, P. Graham, P. Kofroň, M. Smolka, M. Chadima. M. Grygar, M. Šimáček, V. Havel, F. Topol, M. Nejtek, M. Ivanovič, I. Acher) as well as world contemporary music (J. Cage, S. Reich, P. Glass, J. Adams, F. Zappa, E. Sharp, J. Zorn, A. Coleman, M. Gordon, D. Lang, H. Goebbels, B. Bargeld). Petr Kofroň has conducted the Agon ORCHESTRA both on prestigious stages in Europe -- Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Holland, Denmark. Spain, Italy, England (in particular he attended the Warsaw Autumn, Budapest Spring Festival, Berliner Festwochen, London’s The South Bank Centre, Mousontum in Frankfurt), in the USA (especially in the Lincoln Center in New York) in Canada (in particular Musique actuelle in Canadian Victoriaville), as well as on local stages (repeatedly at the Prague Spring Festival, the Bratislava Melos-Ethos, the Brno International Music Festival etc.) He has collaborated with the Prague City Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Philharmonic, the Talich Orchestra, at all times with special projects of music of 20th century. The Agon ORCHESTRA is based in the Prague theatre ARCHA, where the Agon ORCHESTRA annually presents a cycle of four concerts of novelties. Petr Kofroň won the prize of the journal Harmonie for the best recording of contemporary music in 1994 and in the same year also the prize of the Czech Music Council as an appreciation of the existence of the ten-year existence of the Agon ORCHESTRA. The critics of the journal Stereo & Video declared the CD Graphic Scores and Concepts as the best recording of serious music in 1996. The concert performance of the opera The Fall of the House of Usher by Glass was nominated in 1996 for the prize of Radio Classic as “the event of the year”, and the stage performance of the same opera in the State Opera Prague (directed by Petr Tyc) was declared the best opera staging in 1999 based on a questionnaire conducted by Divadelní noviny (Theatre newspaper). In 1996-2004 Petr Kofroň was the artistic director in the Plzeň opera house, which, while he was active there, sky-rocketed. Kofroň changed the image of the theatre by inviting a number of stage directors, who so far had no experience of opera but represented trends in contemporary theatre (N. Vangeli, J. A. Pitínský, J. Burian. J. Pokorný. K. Brožek. M. Dočekal, M. Čičvák, J. Heřman, D. Balatka, Z. Plachý). Kofroň began to conduct opera here in 2000 and since then he has presented Šárka by Zdeněk Fibich, Yolanta by Tchaikowsky, The Kiss by Smetana, Capuleti ed i Montecchi by Bellini, Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, Kunál’s Eyes by Otakar Ostrčil, Werther by Massenet, Flying Dutchman by Wagner. In addition to opera Petr Kofroň has introduced a series of concerts with the Symphony Orchestra of the Plzeň Opera at which he has conducted great works by world composers (Mahler’s Symphony No. 1), similarly he has laid emphasis on Czech symphonic works (Smetana, Janáček, Suk, Fibich) and music of 20th century (Ives, Shostakovich, Terry Riley). Petr Kofroň is the author of books -- Eternal Search – Chapters on Western Post-War Music (Unijazz, 1988), Thirteen Analyses (H & H, 1993) Graphic Scores and Concepts (Votobia, 1996) No Tone! A Reader for Those Who Doubt the Sense of Modern Music (HOST, 1998), In Future New Opera Art Will Fall From Heaven Like Out of the Blue (Modern problems of Opera) (HOST, 2002). Petr Kofroň participated as a composer and conductor in the production of the following CDs: AGON I - Adamík, Kofroň, Pudlák, Smolka (ARTA Records, 1991), Czech New Music in the Sixties - Rychlík, Berg. Komorous, Vostřák (ARTA Records, 1994), Graphic Scores and Concepts - Ponc, Röhl, Logothetis, Grygar, Cage, Cardew, Knížák, Nyman, Goode, Palla (audio ego, 1996), AGON - Red & Black - Graham, Kofroň, Smolka, Šimáček (double CD, audio ego, 1997). Martin Smolka (audio ego, 1998), Filip Topol & Agon Orchestra (Indies Records 2001). In the National Theatre Opera Philip Glass's operas La Belle et La Bête (2003) and Les Enfants Terribles (2011), and Michael Nyman's Man and Boy: Dada (2004). Since August 2013, Petr Kofroň is the Artistic Director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera in Prague.

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