Rudolf Komorous, composer, bassoonist, teacher (b at Prague 8 Dec 1931, naturalized Canadian 1974). Komorous studied bassoon in Prague, at the State Conservatory (1952-56) and with Karel Pivonka at the Academy of Musical Arts (1952-56). He also studied composition with Pavel Borkovec while at the Academy. As a bassoonist he won the 1957 International Competition for Musical Performers (Geneva). He subsequently spent 1959-61 teaching bassoon at the Peking (Beijing) Conservatory, and then returned to Prague (State Opera House, first bassoon), and was co-founder of Musica Viva Pragensis, one of the leading contemporary music ensembles; he moved to Canada in 1969. In 1971 he joined the faculty at the UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA, teaching composition, advanced theory and bassoon and developing the electronic studio there, continuing an interest first explored in Warsaw some 12 years earlier. Komorous went on to become acting chairman of the department and director of what is now the School of Music; he then moved to SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY in 1989 to act as director of the School of Contemporary Arts, leaving that post for retirement in 1996.
Komorous has an extensive list of compositions (many the result of commissions), reflecting his enormous energy and dedication. These include 2 operas, works for orchestra (Sinfony No. 3 was completed in 1995, as was his Chamber Concerto for bassoon and orchestra), chamber music and a number of electronic works. His recent compositions include Sinfony No. 4 (The Fortune Teller) (1997), Seven Sides of Maxine's Silver Die (for piano and nonet) (1997-98) and Lurid Bride (for 8 instruments) (1999); his opera Lady Blancarosa received its late Canadian premiere in 1998. He sees himself as an avant-garde composer, and believes that his work "must always come from life, not from art." An associate composer of the CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE, Komorous is a musician with a strong sense of cultural context. His writing has been influenced by painting. He also has a fondness for Italian monody of the 17th century and for the music of Corelli.
Komorous's teaching has concentrated on helping students to develop a strong technique and to create an individual and genuine style. An able administrator and committed teacher, he has made a significant contribution to the success of emerging Canadian composers, and his own works have earned him generous national and international acclaim.
See alsoMUSIC COMPOSITION.