Jirásek Ivo

  • Jirásek I
Year of Birth - Death :
1920 - 2004 †
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Ivo JIRASEK studied composition privately with Otakar Sin and later on, between 1938 and 1946, at the Prague Conservatoire in classes of Alois Haba and Miroslav Krejci. Simultaneously he also attended courses in conducting led by Pavel Dedecek, and opera stage directing with Ferdinand Pujman. The early days of his career were inextricably bound up with performing arts. Between 1945 and 1946 Ivo Jirasek was an assistant to Rafael Kubelik in the Czech Philharmonic orchestra, then a conductor in the Zdenek Nejedly Theatre in Opava (1946-1953) and finally head of that theatre\' s opera company. Following on from there, Jirasek had many different jobs, working as a composer, music teacher and organizer.
From the beginning of his career as a composer Ivo Jirasek has gravitated towards a distinctly vocal type of music, especially in terms of musical-dramatic forms. He has composed numerous song cycles, eg. The Zodiac, a setting of texts by Vitezslav Nezval, composed in 1942. The Crucified Heart, based on poems by Jiri Wolker and created in 1948, or You, My Homeland, written to verses by Andrej Plavka in 1960, as well as countless chamber compositions, symphonic works and cantatas. Jirasek also wrote many works for the stage, and his one-act opera The Bear (after Chekhov) has been performed not only on Czechoslovak stages, including the National Theatre in Prague, but was also highly acclaimed abroad. Jirasek\' s opera Master Jerome was commissioned by Prague\' s National Theatre to be staged on the occasion of the centenary of its foundation.
Originally, Ivo Jirasek\' s musical language stemmed from what is essentially an Ostrcilian tradition in Czech music, dating back to the interval between the two wars. Later on the composer came under the strong influence of French music, notably works by the composers of the Paris Six, Igor Stravinsky in particular, and by the Viennese Second School, as epitomized by Alban Berg.
This seeming clash of influences has, however, been instrumental in enabling Ivo Jirasek to avoid becoming a one-track composer, who has never succumbed to a single stylistic orientation. On the contrary, he has always striven to achieve synthesis, proceeding from a thorough awareness of all major trends of development in European, and hence also Czech, musical traditions and their perception as continuous processes, influenced and streamlined by progressive tendencies and aimed at the idelas of common humanity. The very substance of Ivo Jirasek\' s artistic credo lies in endeavours to promote the underlying spirit of music rather than its style.
Over the years Ivo Jirasek has been awarded prizes in many competitions and on innumerable other occasions. In 1980 the composer was presented with the title Merited Artist.