LABURDA, JIŘÍ (b. 1931)

Jiří (pron. Yee-zhee) Laburda, born April 3, 1931, composer from the Czech Republic, has acquired his love for music from his parents and received elemen- tary musical training in his native town of Soběslav. His attitude to music in general, and composition, in particular, was also shaped by the Czech composers Karel Hába, Zdeněk Hůla and the musicologist, Eduard Herzog.
Between 1952 and 1955, Laburda studied at the Pedagogical Faculty of Prague's Charles University and later on at the Prague Teacher Training College (1957-1960). In 1970, he received the title of Doctor of Philosophy; his doctoral thesis was entitled The Symphonies of D. D. Schostakovitch. His treatise, Didactic Problems of Modern Textbooks of Harmony, completed in 1973, is now the basis of his
university textbook, Diatonic Harmony.
Jiří Laburda taught at various teacher-training colleges and institutions in Czech towns until he joined the staff of the Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. He has been on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music in Prague from 1999 to 2006.
In his early days as a composer, Jiří Laburda devoted himself mostly to choral compositions which still assume a pride of place among his works. In composition, he draws on traditional means of expression. Stylistically, he ties on to neo-classicism in particular. As far as modern techniques of composition are con- cerned, it is small aleatoric and dodecaphony which are closest to his temperament.
Over the years, Laburda has composed an impressive number of works out of which more than 350 compo- sitions have appeared in print. Laburda's compositions are easily understandable and are very well received by the broadest sections of music lovers. He has always maintained lively contacts with musicians and amateur choirs for which he composed very comprehensible works. To date, he has produced many compositions for children, notably minor works which children can easily play or sing. He has written a pedagogical 5-volume cycle for Trumpet and Piano each containing 10 compositions ranging from easy to demanding compositions. Among his technicaly demanding compositions are the virtuoso 1st and 2nd Partita for Solo Violin, numerous Sonatas (11 for piano, 4 for organ, 2 for trombone, 2 for trumpet, viola, 1 for oboe, clarinet, tuba, 4 for accordion, 2 for marimba), Concertos (1 for piano, 2 for viola, 2 for cello, trumpet, trombone, organ, bassoon, accordion), Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, 11 Masses, 3 Cantatas (Te Deum for 4 soli-satb, Mixed Choir and Symphonic Wind Orchestra, South Bohemian Folk Wedding, and You Came to Us, Infant Jesus (medley of 10 Czech and Moravian Christmas Carols), 6 Symphonies (Symphony No. 2 for Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Percussion, Symphony No. 4 for Speaker, Choir, Organ and Orchestra), one-act Comic Opera, Isoldi and Dorabelle, one-act Ballet, Les petits riens, etc. Laburda has a great number of titles for brass instruments and their cousins, eg. Alphorn, Alto-trombone, Corni da caccia, Missa in Honoorem Sancti Huberti for mixed or male choir, 3 Corni da caccia, Organ, optl< trumpet quintets, sextets, septets as well as 3 brass quintets, Trios for Clarinets, etc.
That Jiří Laburda's compositions are generally acclaimed and successful is corroborated by the countless prizes and distinctions which have been awarded thus far at domestic and international musical competitions. As far as domestic events go, in the jubilee competition sponsored by Czecho-slovak Radio Prague, he won the prize for his Piano Concerto, while carrying away several prizes from the nationwide choral competition at Jihlava. At international music festivals and similar events, he was awarded the Oscar Esplá prize for his Missa Glagolitica (1966); he won the Otto Sprekelsen prize in the city of Hanover, Germany, for his cantata, Metamorphoses (1968); in 1974, his Prelude for Solo Accordion received the SACEM-UPAC prize in Paris. Green Marjoram for Mixed Choir received the first prize and also the Premio Citá di Trento in 1974. Prizes in international competitions were received also in 1987, 1994 and 1996. Laburda is an Honorary member of various Choirs in the Czech Republic.