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Is it possible to transform Frisch's extraordinary sharp drama into a creative and actual music theatre which would be worth the original play? It is. Or more precisely: for composer Šimon Voseček, it was possible.
- Wiener Zeitung, on the first performance of
Biedermann and the Arsonists in 2013
Austrian-Czech composer, performer and chansonnier Šimon Voseček was born in Prague on 13 April 1978. He started to dance and later learnt piano and organ. He studied composition with Otomar Kvěch at the Prague Conservatory. In 2002 he moved to Vienna to continue his studies in composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, first with Dietmar Schermann and then with Erich Urbanner and Chaya Czernowin.
Ranging from music for solo piano, violin and accordion to chamber music, orchestral work and opera, his compositions have been performed across Europe and beyond, including the USA, Japan and the UK.
His first experimentation in opera resulted in the three opera sketches, Soudničky/Das heitere Bezirksgericht (The Serene District Court), which were first performed in 2000 at the Žižkovské Divadlo in Prague. In 2008, he was presented with the Upcoming Artist Award from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture for his first full-length opera, Biedermann und die Brandstifter (Biedermann and the Arsonists, 2005-7), for which he wrote his own libretto based on Swiss writer Max Frisch’s 1958 play.
The work was first performed by Neue Oper Wien in September 2013. The company took the opera to Italy the following year to perform at Bozen’s Teatro Comunale in February 2014. In November 2015, the London company Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells presented a new production of the opera translated into English by David Pountney. The first German performance of the work took place in February 2017 in the Municipal Theatre of Bremerhaven.
In 2012, Voseček joined the Austrian young persons’ theatre company, the schallundrauch agency, with whom he has since worked on productions in the capacity of composer, performer, music director and artistic director.
In 2011 and 2015, he was awarded the Austrian State Scholarship for composition. The second scholarship allowed him to write the music to his third opera, Hybris, based on a libretto by Kristine Tornquist. The work was commissioned by sirene Operntheater and premièred in Vienna in November 2016.
In 2017 he followed an invitation of TOTEM(s) in La Chartreuse Villeneuve lèz Avignon to take part in a programme for creating new operatic works. His encounter with the french author Yann Verburgh resulted in two projects for new music theatre: Be My Superstar, based on the Yann’s theatre piece Bullied - ordinary tragedies, developed by the stage director Alexandra Lacroix (commissioned by LOD Muziektheater in Gent, Belgium, coproduction of enoa) and OGRES, based on the homonymous play by Yann, which will be shown in the 2020/2021 season.
For its 2019 edition, the festival Prague Spring commissioned Voseček to write a new work for a chamber orchestra. The piece, Hypnos, was first performed in May 2019 at the Rudolfinum, Prague, with PKF Prague Philharmonia conducted by Ben Glassberg.
Further information (in German): www.vosecek.eu
Profile. In Search of Musical Text - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė talks to Austrian-Czech composer Šimon Voseček