Christian Wolff was born March 8, 1934, in Nice, France. He has lived mostly in the United States since 1941. He studied piano with Grete Sultan and, in 1950, com-position, briefly, with John Cage. Though mostly self-taught as composer, the work of John Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tu-dor and Earle Brown were important to him, as well as long associations with Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski. Particular features of his music have been uses of minimal materials; complex fabrics based on invented gamuts of the charac-teristics of sound; the free and sometimes extended presence of silence; the use of folk-song and other found material, espe-cially when it is politically connected; and a variety of kinds of freedom left to the performers, especially at the time of the performance itself, for which various new notations have been invented. Underlying notions in the work are shared freedom, self-determination, and democratically spirited collaboration. The music is variously playable by a range of performers, from amateur to virtuoso.
Petr Kotik (1942, Prague) was educated in Prague and Vienna. As a student of the Prague Conservatory, he founded the ensemble Musica viva pragensis (1961-64), the QUaX Ensemble (1969-69) and shortly after his arrival in the U.S. in 1970, the S.E.M. Ensemble. SEM expanded in 1992 into The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble. Kotik is working since 1997 with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, and since 2001, when he founded the Institute and Festival Ostrava Days, he splits his time between New York and Ostrava. In 2012, together with Jiří Nekvasil, the director of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, he founded New Opera Days Ostrava (NODO).
Alex Mincek is a New York-based composer and performer. His work as a composer and per-former has been featured at venues and international troughout the U.S. and Europe. Mincek has collaborated with ensembles such as Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, Ensemble Linea, The S.E.M. ensemble, Present Music, Talea, Dal Niente, Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quar-tet and the JACK Quartet. Mincek’s music has also been recognized through commissions and awards from institutions such, as among others, the Guggenheim Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Meet The Composer. Mincek has been a resident- student at Ostrava Days 2001, 03 and 05.
Hailed by the New York Times for her "lightningfast reflexes" and "breathtaking" performances, Pauline Kim Harris has been notably described as "a sorceress of the violin." A Grammynominated artist (Universal/Decca), she engages her audiences world wide in groundbreaking classical and genrebending crossover, to the envelopepushing experimental/ avantgarde. Most recently, her recording of John Zorn's "Passagen" for Solo Violin was released on Tzadik and will be featured LIVE at The Joyce Theater in a new work by critically acclaimed choreographer, Pam Tanowitz in February 2014. As the first violinist of the Alchemy String Quartet, Ms. Harris recently completed a European tour in the "Zorn @60" concerts in London, Gent, North Sea and Warsaw, as well as at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Miller Theater and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. She is member of the S.E.M Ensemble, Ostravska Banda, OBSq, Ensemble LPR, the Wordless Music Orchestra and the "enterprising violin duo" String Noise with husband, Conrad Harris, of the FLUX Quartet.
Renata Spisarova is the executive director of the Ostrava Center for New Music and the director of Ostrava Days.