Kofroň Petr

  • Kofroň
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After graduating from a grammar school in Prague, Petr Kofron studied composition at the Janáček Academy of Perfoming Arts in Brno with Alois Piňos, and he was in parallel a private student with Marek Kopelent (1971- 1979). Between 1980 - 1988 he was employed as a teacher at the Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. In 1989 he became for a short time editor in the publishing house of Panton. From 1989 to 1996 he worked as freelancer. From October 1996 to June 2004 he was head of the Pilsen Opera, and after that he has been working again as a freelance composer, conductor and writer.  In August 2013 he was appointed artistic director of the National Theatre Opera. 

As a composer he worked since the early seventies. After 1975 Kofroň turned to primitive diatonic music and musical sentiment (among others he was interested in the work of Isaac O.Dunajevsky). After 1983 - under the influence of hermetic philosophy of  Aleister Crowley - his activities resulted in several ritual compositions. Since 1989, his earlier preference for nostalgic music transformes into a more aggressive musical style, which deals only with the "energy" of the sound, the playing and the musicians.  After 1993, Kofroň was intensely engaged in working with graphic scores and concepts (graphical scores of Anestis Logothetise, Miroslava Ponce, Grygar Milan, Milan Knížák). After 2000 he prepared several arrangements of alternative rock songs: Petr Křečan - Kilhets (1998), Filip Topol (2000), Blixa Bargeld (2000), The Plastic People of the Universe (Ladislav Klima - Aj I walked around the field five, 2002, Passion, 2004), Brian Eno (2003), MCH Band, and Agon Orchestra (2005), DG 307 and Agon Orchestra (2006). In his fifties Kofroň turns increasingly towards rather bizarre combinations of pop and rock music - Musical Magic Flute (Municipal Theater Stanislava Mosi, Brno 2006 Price Alfred Radok 2006), opera Mai 68 (co-production with National Theatre in Brno and Prague, 2008) - and also to a big-band quasijazz (Symphony Titan, 2005, Magor, 2008).

Kofron participated in several compositional workshops (Boswil 1978, 1980, 1982, Darmstadt 1982, 1988). He won several awards in composer's competitions both in his country and abroad (IGNM Bonn 1977, Boswil 1978, 1980 GB Viotti Vercelli 1982, CISM Luxembourg 1982 Jirkov 1987, Jihlava 1987). For a number of compositions he was commissioned by institutions such as the Leos Janacek Foundation Praha (Golden Fern, 1991), Deutschlandfunk Köln (Enhexe, 1991, Big Dipper, 1998), The London South Bank Center (The Fire Is Mine, 1993), Internationale Tage für Neue Blockflötenmusik Winterthur (OTM 1993), Stiftung Alypios München (Die Stille Nacht, 1993), Bang on a Can New York (IG-D, 1996), Music of Exceptional Lengths Festival in Prague (HRS, 1997).

In 1983 he founded, along with some other composers - Miroslav Pudlak and Martin Smolka - Agon Orchestra, an ensemble devoted exclusively to contemporary classical music, continuing the line of "New Music", this ensemble is still in existence. Since the early ninties Kofroň has bee associated with the ensemble as his chief conductor and repertory manager. He participated in the preparation and performing of several thematic concert series: World's avant-garde anthology (1991/92), New Beginnings of Czech Music (1993), Alternative - music artists and rockers (1993), Micro-intervalic music (1993), Origins of Dodecaphony (1993), Graphic scores and concepts (1994), New York Downtownmusic (1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Iannis Xenakis (1998), New Rock - Heiner Goebbels (1999), John Adams (2000), Frank Zappa (2000, 2003), Young Czech composers (2000, 2003), Conlon Nancarrow (2001), Michal Nejtek (2002), E. F. Burian (2004), Michal Nejtek/The Plastic People of the Universe - Railway Opera (2007), Summa Magorova - musical setting of texts by Ivan Martin Jirous (2008)

Throughout all the time, he devoted himself to Czech New Music (Mark Kopelent, Jan Klusák, Josef Adamik, Peter Graham, Martin Smolka, Miroslav Šimáček), he dedicated the whole blocks with premieres of forgotten songs to Rudolf Komorous, Zbynek Vostřák and Josef Berg. Conducting the Talich Chamber Orchestra he performed in 1996 Pocket Universe by Z. Vostrak, and prepared for the Czech TV the productions of two operas by Josef Berg - The Return of Oddyseus (1994, dir. Jiri Nekvasil), European Tourism (1997, dir. Jiri Nekvasil).

Kofron is also intensely devoted to American minimalists‘ works (Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Phil Glass, John Adams), as well as those of American postminimalists (Michael Gordon, David Lang, Evan Ziporyn, Julia Wolfe), the New York downtown (John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Annie Gosfield, Norman Yamada, Anthony Coleman), he performs the works by young Czech composers (Ondrej Adamek, Ivan Acher, Slavomir Hořínka, Marko Ivanovic, Michal Nejtek, Roman Pallas, Pavel Smutny, Miroslav Srnka, Michal Trnka, Jan Trojan), as well as the works by Heiner Goebbels. Since 1994, together with Ivan Bierhanzl and the Society for New Music, he was the organizer of new music festival Marathon, one of the biggest shows of contemporary classical music in Bohemia.

Petr Kofron performed with Agon Orchestra at the prestigious stages in Europe and the USA: Warsaw Autumn, Budapest Spring Festival, Berliner Festwochen, Konzerthaus Berlin, Berlin Festival Ultraschall, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg Kampnagel (Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival), the Kunsthalle Austria Krems, Wien Modern Festival, Rote Fabrik Zürich, The South Bank Center in London, Musique actuelle in Victoriaville, Canada, Lincoln Center in New York. He regularly performs at major festivals in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovak: Prague Spring (1996 - ballet by Anestis Logothetis, 2001 - Representative Concert of Agon Orchestra, 2003 - Frank Zappa), Prague Alternative, Melos Ethos in Bratislava, Brno Exhibition of New Music, in 2007 appeared Agon Orchestra with Iva Bittova at the Next Wave Festival, New York with a project Don Juan in Prague.