11 000 STRUN – PRAŽSKÉ JARO 2024
18:00 & 21:00
How many strings do 50 pianos have? What does it sound like when you tune each one differently and have them played by 50 pianists at the same time? Most people would abandon such a bold vision as being an unrealisable dream, but not the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas, who has used the idea as the basis for a monumental work titled 11,000 Strings for fifty pianos arranged in a circle and tuned in microtones. And as if that were not enough, they are supplemented by an instrumental ensemble. This extraordinary work was premiered in August 2023 at a festival in Bolzano in northern Italy. After a performance in early November 2023 at the contemporary music festival Wien Modern, 11,000 Strings will now head for Prague. At two Prague Spring performances at Forum Karlín, listeners can sit among the musicians, literally in the middle of the action, and let themselves be inundated by these opulent sonic creations for a one-of-a-kind experience.
When Georg Friedrich Haas came to Prague in 2023 as the Prague Offspring composer-in-residence, it was one of the highlights of the festival. The Austrian composer is seen as a living classic and one of today’s most important creators of microtonal music. He does not avoid political and social themes, and together with his wife, the writer, performer, and BDSM coach Mollena Williams-Haas, he creates works making statements on such topics as sexuality, alcoholism, and Austria’s Nazi past. The monumental composition in vain, with which Klangforum Wien concluded Prague Offspring in 2023, served as a reaction to the rise of the extreme right in Austria, and at the same time it was a way for the composer to deal with his own family’s past. “For everybody involved in New Music, it is one of the only already acknowledged masterpieces of the 21st century. The minute people have heard it they are hungry for more,” said Simon Rattle when performing the work with the Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy. Like in vain but on a larger scale, 11,000 Strings works with constantly transforming waves of sound and unconventionally tuned instruments.
Klangforum Wien was founded in 1985 by the composer and conductor Beat Furrer. Since then, they have had a major influence on the contemporary music scene. They work closely with the best composers from around the world, supporting the creation of new works through commissions. During their nearly 40 years of existence, Klangforum Wien have earned the standing of one of the world’s most respected ensembles specialising in contemporary music, and they have grown into an important institution with a wide range of activities, from their own generous projects to collaborations on multimedia works that are often the length of a full concert or educational projects. The ensemble’s discography encompasses more than 70 CDs, and they have premiered more than 500 new compositions, including many works that have since become iconic. They are invited regularly to the world’s most important festivals and concert halls in Europe, the USA, and Japan, and they have earned numerous awards. They also work with outstanding soloists. They have been the Prague Offspring ensemble-in-residence for the years 2021–2024.