Juraj Kojs is a Slovakian composer now based in Miami.  His work “reaches to the areas of music at the threshold of hearing, action-based acoustic and electroacoustic music, cyberinstruments created with physical modeling synthesis, tactile music, native instruments from central Europe, contemporary concert music, dance music, interactive audio-visual performance, muscle-powered multimedia, music with everyday objects and toys and graphic notation.”  Pianist Ivan Moscotta will perform his adventurous piano suite VIII on this Thursday’s concert.

CSB: Could you tell us a little more about the piece we’ll be presenting?  What compelled you to write it?  

JK: VIII is an exploration of physical performative actions that expand the vocabulary of typical piano playing. The piano is considered as a sounding object. Each of these short pieces explores a particular physical area on the instrument or a particular performance mode. All these actions and sounds are, in fact, a part of the piano’s vocabulary! Why not reveal their beauty? The collection is intended to be whimsical and fun. Hope Ivan enjoys performing it.

VIII belongs to a group of action music pieces, that were all jointly released recently on Pink Pamphlet as an audio-visual project: Action Music.

CSB: How do you want audiences to approach this work?  

In the literal sense, they are welcome to gather around the piano and experience the piece up-close (if your program and venue allow it). They will enjoy following Ivan in the performance. There are many small sounds that get through better when the listener is closer to the source. Additionally, moving in the space will enable the audience to choose (and switch) their listening locations.

In the sense of the music itself, the piece builds on the experimental investigations of J. Cage, M. Kagel and the Fluxus artists.

CSB: What is your personal connection to the Fluxus movement?  What elements of it did you seek to incorporate into this piece?

JK: Ha! VIII is indeed much connected to Fluxus. I find their work delightful. Absurdity is part of musical expression, and they just explored it quite well. Humor in music can be powerful, seriously!

CSB: What are your impressions of the arts scene in Miami?  How have the various places you have lived over the years impacted your music?

JK: The art scene is quite developed; the experimental music scene has been on a rise. Through my Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts, we program new acoustic and electroacoustic music as well as multimedia works, organize the Prize in Sound Art, produce concerts for little kids in Miami Children’s Museum. Check out

Also, there was a nice article about FETA and our efforts in town published recently here.

The (now-becoming) tropical climate and its exoticism (primarily in nature) fascinates and inspires me. I am not sure whether it’s audible: perhaps my music has relaxed a bit in the past couple of years? :)

CSB: Who are other artists and composers whose work inspires and interests you?  Are there specific works you could point our readers to?  

JK: My musical interests span from big virtuoso post-romantic music to experimental to electroacoustic to multimedia to dance music (yes, that’s correct! There is a dance hit in the kitchen).

The music that might relate to VIII would include M. Kagel (say Pas de Cinq and Acustica) and also Lachenmann’s string quartets (in terms of the expansion of the instrument and enabling various hidden sounds to emanate), Sciarrino’s flute music (in terms of exploration of noisy/residual sonorities on the instrument) and of course the Fluxus pieces such as those by George Brecht, Robert Bozzi and George Maciunas.  (There is a wonderful compilation of Fluxus pieces available for a free download here).

As I mentioned before, VIII comes from a collection of action music pieces. Action Music DVD can be found here.

In particular, check out this one: Adventures of an Annihilated Mirror.

And one more fun: Music for the Music Stands, a percussion quartet.