Radomír Ištvan (pron. RAH-daw-meer ISHT-vahn), a Moravian Czech composer, was born on January 25, 1959 in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. He started to study piano at the age of 7 at the Jaroslav Kvapil Elementary School in Brno. When he was 10 years old, he wrote his first little music work of an improvisatory character. At the age of 14, he began to play the double bass and when he turned 15, he started to study composition at the Brno Conservatory of Music.
Upon graduating, he continued his studies in composition at the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno. At the age of 25, he served in the army for one year, after which he worked as a pianist for the Brno Conservatory of Dance.
Since 1989, he has been teaching music theory and composition at the Brno Conservatory of Music. During 1990-1994, he presided over the Young Men’'s Forum attached to the Association of Musical Artists and Theorists and Creative Center in Brno. From 1995-1998, he was a member of the executive countil of the Juvenis Foundation. Since 1996, he has been the head of the department of Music Theory at the Brno Conservatory of Music.
Radomír Ištvan has received many awards for his music in Czechoslovak competitions: "Generation," the Young Czech Composers competition organized by the Ministry of Culture, Janáček Academy of Music competitions and several organized by the Czech Music Fund.
Ištvan'’s compositional life has already progressed through three stages:
•1975-1985. The period of Conservatory and Academy studies, verification of extending tonal, freely atonal and serial sequences, practical mastery and acquisition of montage method, "specification" of musical material, eg. by enrichment of tonal relations with atonal sequences or vice versa, absence of evolutionary thematic work (as a consequence of applying montage techniques) is balanced by fitting the form or structure of congenial musical objects, struggle for a form mastery brings Istvan from cyclical compositions to one-piece compositions. Due to this struggle, he turns to poetry where he looks not only for inspiration, but especially for a form which he then transforms.
•1986-1993. Obvious inclination towards tonality and simplicity, he leaves "specification" of musical material. Simplicity is not a consequence of propagation of so-called "minimal music" in Czechoslovakia, but it is a consequence of montage work which strives to work with static musical objects that are, however, internally dynamic. Istvan invents a way of solving the form and verifies it in most of his one-piece compositions while at the same time, he intentionally starts to get out from under the influence of his father’s music, i.e. the compositional style of Miloslav Istvan.
•1993-present. Another "specification"of musical material, but in a new way, by the transformation of musical objects according to certain keys to other pitch and rhythmical modes, except in one-movement compositions. He creates cyclical compositions —either miniatures or forms with richer inner structure, often using refrain, but outwardly, they produce the effect of one-movement works, particularly through the use of some parts attacca. The continuity to his father'’s compositional style is now outwardly minimal.