HRUŠOVSKÝ, IVAN (1927-2001)

Ivan Hrušovský (23 February, 1927 - 5 October, 2001) was a Slovak composer and theorist. Born February 23, 1927 in Bratislava. His father, John Hrušovský, was a well-known Slovak writer and his mother, Růžena Pinkasová, came from Bohemia. The family in 1940 moved to Zilina, where Ivan attended the gymnasium and music school. After graduating in 1947, he studied at the Bratislava Conservatory composition with Alexander Moyzes while musicology, philosophy and aesthetics at the Philosophical Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava. 

In the studio, the songs continue in the years 1952-1957 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava again with Alexander Moyzes. At that time he worked as an external fellow at the Institute of Musicology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, and since 1953 as an assistant and later assistant professor with Professor Otto Ferenczy at the Academy of Performing Arts.

In 1966 he became a candidate of sciences of arts in 1968, associate professor of music theory and in 1984 professor of composition. Since 1990 he worked at the Department of Music and the aesthetics of the Faculty of Humanities, Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica.
As part of his theoretical activity Hrušovský was devoted to the music of the 20th Century and particularly to the development of modern Slovak music. As a composer he was initially under the strong influence of Alexander Moyzes and fluctuated within an extended tonality using modal elements, favoring rich instrumentation and epic breadth ("Pastorálna suite" / "Pastoral Suite"; "Tatranská poéma" / "Poem of the Tatras"). At the same time he began to search within the sphere of the sonority, liberating the sound from subordination to the harmonic structure (mainly in his compositions for the choir). During the 1960's Hrušovský absorbed the ideas of serial techniques (in its purest form he applied it in "Combinazioni Sonoriche") and controlled aleatory ("Sonata for Piano"), and by using these ideas, like W. Lutosławski, he focused on developing new sound and expressive possibilities ("Sen o človeku" / "Dream About A Man"; "Tri madrigalové impresie" / "Three Madrigal Impressions"). By his mature period his musical language used modal elements, specifically polymodal elements ("Musica Nocturna"), and Slovak folk music idioms, and he does not stand in opposition to Moyzes and his generation; instead he left behind – in the technical and aesthetic sense – their ties to late romanticism and impressionism. Hrušovský's work of the 1970's – 1990's is characterized by the synthesis of different, often historically distant compositional techniques (including elements of classical sonata form, baroque suite or madrigal), and points to the interconnection of the present and the past in the development of music, deepening his expressive concentration and suggests but is non-pathetic to philosophical statement (Canti, symphonies, spiritual songs).

Ivan's teaching and composition work has received numerous awards. Among others, in 1965 he awarded the Prize of Ján Levoslav Bella cycle of cantatas for "Against Death."