Piňos Alois

  • Piňos A
Year of Birth - Death :
1925 - 2008 †
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Alois Pinos attended grammar school and then studied and graduated at the Forestry University. Composition Pinos studied at first privately, then at the Brno Conservatory and in 1949-53 at Janacek Academy. Since 1953 he has been teaching music theory and, since 1965, composition at the Academy mentioned.  Since the end of the fifties his name has been joined mainly with the new music. His development as a composer was stimulated by the discovery of new compositional techniques that suited his temperament and outlook. He continued to broaden his knowledge by repeatedly participating in courses in Darmstadt (with P.Boulez, B.Maderna, K. Stockhausen), in courses of electronic music in Munich (with M.Kagel and J.A.Riedel) and in courses of French concrete music in Prague (with P.Schaeffer, F.Bayle and G. Reibel) etc. with a conscious aim in mind he began since the late fifties to apply his own compositional methods and poetics, and undertake theoretical research into music. Soon he had managed to create his own compositional system and he became one of the most distinctive and assertive composers of the generation rising at the beginning of the sixties.

He wrote many compositions - from chamber and vocal works to symphonic ones, and many compositions in non-traditional forms (music happenings, new music theatre pieces, stage productions, audiovisual works). To electroacoustic music he has dedicated since 1964 as one of the first Czech composers. Pinos also pioneered team compositions: In 1967 he established a composer's team and led his workshops in producing a number of remarkably original works (in the 60th and 70th with A. Parsch, R. Ruzicka and M. Stedron, since the 90th with I. Medek and M. Stedron).

In his youth Pinos has been stimulated by the music of L. Janacek, B. Bartók and O. Messiaen. He was impressed by Ch. Ives, E. Varese, the Second Viennese School and current avant-guarde (W. Lutoslawski, G. Ligeti, I. Xenakis, L. Berio). He conceived traditional forms (concerto, serenade, symphony etc.) in a novel light, and presented original relations into modern music experiments. One of the composer's typical traits is a consistent search for an objective order, a vigorous striving for permanent values. In implementing various kinds of laws and utilising purely musical means he guides the listener towards a positive outlook on life, while fully aware of the realities of conflicts and strife. This is connected with the catharsis in the dramatically conceived compositions (Genesis, Panta rhei?, Lux in tenebris). In his works there is fierce dynamic harshness (Conflicts, Concerto for Orchestra and Tape, Metadances, The Arrest, The Accused), intimate lyricisism (Canti intimi, Cantilena, Dolce far niente), intellectual and black humour, irony, hyperbole, satire and fiction (Caricatures, Dicta antiquorum, Criers, Bestiarium, Precarious Situations), a special brand of locomotion (fast final movements) and specific musical symbolics ("231", Czech Annual Rings, Stella matutina). Pinos' expression of sound and the comparisons he draws between natural and civilization events may almost be described as a feature of new-futurism in music (Counterpoint of Nature, Home, Symphony "Apollo XI"). There is a stress on the relations both within the individual musical components and parameters and on the mutual relationships between the music and other possible components (the text, fine art objects etc.). The emphasis on relations applies to Pinos' entire work, including electroacoustic and multimedial compositions. When these relationships are mobile it leads to an alternative composition having several versions.

In Pinos' music there is typically an absence of depressive and nostalgic elements of expression. There is a clearly positive attitude to life, however complicated it may be. His output contains a great deal of amatory pieces (Ars amatoria, Music for Two, Getting Acquainted, The Force and Power of Love, The Green Mountain, Overture) and of spiritual themes (Gesta Machabaeorum, In extremis, Pastorela, Panta rhei?, Sursum corda, Quo vadis?, Laudatio). In recent years he had been emphasizing the philosophical theme of hope and focusing on the spiritual fight against the forces of evil (Lux in tenebris, Carmina psalmisona, Stella matutina, Finsternis, Music of Good Hope or Stormy Music, Nomen omen or 13 Portraits of the Snake, Bestiarium, Precarious Situations, Clamores).

Composing is closely linked in Pinos' life with theoretical work. The monograph "The Tone Groups" (Prague 1971, in English Brno, 2001) is the best known from his theoretical work. The general validity of its conclusions for composition theory and practice make it very important and inspiring. Pinos' other theoretical works (studies, articles) concern e.g. the choice and working out of sound material, especially of the intervals, of the parameters of rhythm and timbre, and building of a non-conventional musical order, based on universal compositional principles (selection, restriction, multivariation, confluence, latency, oscillation, contraposition, hierarchy, transference, processuality etc.). - Pinos has often been a member of international music juries, he has given lessons at master courses of composition and lectures at Universities for Music and at international conferences and symposia (Bonn, Dresden, Freiburg, Göterborg, Heidelberg, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Lyon, Reichenau, Riga, Stockholm, Wien, Graz, Bratislava etc.). In 1984 - 1994 Pinos was a permanent lecturer at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music and in 80s and 90s he worked out many radio programmes for Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln. Many of his compositions have been performed in numerous European and oversea countries.

In 1969 - 1989 Pinos was among those Czech composers, whose work was banned by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia most strictly. Only since 1989 Pinos was able to live and work in normal conditions.

More than thirty students studied composition and graduated in Pinos' class at Janacek Academy. Many of them are today the important personalities of the Czech music (M. Stedron, P. Kofron, J. Kollert, P. Graham, D. Forró, M. Dohnal, I. Medek, D. Dlouhy etc.). Pinos' participation in forming the modern oriented "Brno Composer's School" is decisive.

Pinos has dedicated much of his time to music organisation and promotion. He was involved in the formation of „Creative Group ‚A‘", the New Music Orchestra "Author's Studio", association "Camerata Brno", "Association of Electroacoustic Music" and also in organising festivals ("Exposition of Experimental Music", "Exposition of New Music"). He is also a member of "Atelier '90", "Umelecka Beseda Prague", of Czech section of ISCM and of artistic association "Q".

He gained many awards for his compositions. One should at least mention those of last years: of Czech Critics Awards 1994 (for Third String Quartet), Classic Award 1995 ("Composition of the Year:" for the same composition), Classic Award 1999 ("Composition of the Year" for "Stella matutina"), Musica Nova Award 2001 for composition "Bruma", "City Brno Award 2002" for artistic work and activities, and "Janacek Golden Medal" (in 2003) of Janacek Academy for his creative and pedagogical activities.