Credit: Martin Mazanek

Interview: Martin Mazánek, Conductor of the Masaryk University Orchestra

On 18 February, Martin Mazánek will once again take the baton of the Masaryk University Orchestra, an important institution in the Brno music scene. Brno Daily spoke to Martin to find out more about him and the orchestra’s next performance.

BD: Who are you?

MM: I’m a music composer, conductor, musicologist and IT specialist.

BD: What does it mean to be an orchestra director? 

MM: It means a lot of work, choosing the repertoire for the concert, staffing, finding funding, arranging performances and rehearsing the repertoire for the concert itself. Furthermore, it means collaborating with all the musicians involved in a way that is both personal and professional. Directing an orchestra means both arranging the practicalities which pertain to it, and also being closely involved in the creative process. The concert must include the organisational element which allows it to run smoothly. Nevertheless, the music and repertoire itself is the key element which captures the hearts of the audience.

BD: How do you select the musicians? 

MM: Based on their playing experience. It is advisable if they already have some experience of playing in an orchestra.

BD: What are the challenges of working with a university orchestra? 

MM: To find responsible team players who will find playing in the orchestra fulfilling and who will contribute to the improvement of the ensemble through their diligence. When it comes to university students, it is important to realise that I am not dealing with professional musicians, therefore, the orchestra is often not their number one priority. As their conductor, I must attempt, to the best of my abilities, to motivate them, to work within their schedules to get the best possible result.  

BD: What is the best part of working with a university orchestra? 

MM: That I work with great young people with whom I can perform interesting music. To elaborate, the collective of students is fantastic. I work with young, motivated, talented young people full of energy and passion for music. 

BD: What is your vision for the future of the orchestra?

MM: Playing great music and filling the hearts of our listeners with it. I would also like to do more open air concerts for a wider audience. I am passionate about music and deeply dedicated to creating the best possible orchestra to showcase the students’ talents as well as perform wonderful music. 

BD: Will the public be able to listen to some of your original pieces?

MM: Almost every concert we play contains an original composition of mine. At the 9 December concert, we played my composition “Little Autumn Leaf”, and also two world premieres by my students, the symphonic poem “Lajka” by Ari Dvořák and “Blood Wedding” by Ondra Zámečník.  

BD: When is the next concert and what can we expect? 

MM: The concert will be on 18 February in the Besední dům on Komenského náměstí.  In addition to the aforementioned works, we will be playing Carl Reinecke’s “Flute Concerto” and the overture from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco”. Come and listen to us! It will be an amazing concert and you might be pleasantly surprised at the end of it.

The concert is a public event and entrance is free, though entry will be limited depending on the capacity of the hall. 

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