Doc. Jan Grossmann / CZ / - composer, OPUS MUSICUM 4-2019 / excerpt /

Forfest - 30 years of creative freedom from the birth of the festival to the present day

Doc. Jan Grossmann / CZ / - composer, OPUS MUSICUM 4-2019 / excerpt /


Thirty years in a person's life - that's half the way from the first breath  to retirement, the peak of physical strength, the first signals that everything in life may not be fulfilled by imagination, sometimes the first serious signs of disappointment, skepticism and frustration.

And thirty years in the life of the festival? Certainly a clear idea, a clear and realistic goal, methods, traditions, means, experience, maturity, dramaturgical, marketing and managerial skills, a coherent network of collaborators and various professional and other ties. Sometimes, unfortunately, stagnation. Forfest - for me over the 30 years it has been meaning a high degree of democracy in presenting even the most unrelated innovations and compositional approaches thanks to admirable respect of the various creative poetics of authors as the creator's sacred right to artistic freedom and its free presentation in public.


The first year of Forfest in 1990 was certainly significant, but what preceded it was not less important. They were called Sedánky - since 1979 a total of ten meetings of composers and performers of the so-called contemporary classical music, writers and poets, sculptors and painters and… folk artists - they did not get space at Forfest anymore. These meetings were significant only because at that time a democratic and respectable approach of organizers and participants to the different, sometimes antagonistic, creative poetics of authors of different artistic styles was formed.

During the 30 years of Forfest, many may have wondered about the compositions of some Orthodox music traditionalists, the excesses of some conceptualists and their ideological, I would like to say ideologically clear negation of any visible or audible building logic, content and meaning of the work ( generally the mission of art as vulgarisms), over sound-shocking or extremely static compositions. Mutual reverence and respect for the artistic and intellectual freedom of colleagues have remained in the roots and annual reality of Forfest to this day.

Let's just say that a festival of such significance and scope could not exist without the incredible involment of the organizers. The Artistic Initiative Kromeriz is organized by Zdenka and Vaclav Vaculovic, silent and inconspicuous couple, but with a bulldog character who, after all misdeeds, false promises, ostentatious disinterest, dehonestation and even boycott by some (unfortunately local) institutions and individuals didnt not drop in your knees and didnt not resign from your pioneering work.


On the other hand, it is also necessary to say that the organizers and their collaborators still manage to convince with the results of their work, evaluation in professional Czech, Slovak and foreign magazines, responses especially abroad and among artists and ensembles of the world community of this exceptional event. After all, the festival receives some grant and sponsorship funds to finance its dramaturgical plans.

The results of the work are reflected among other things in the institutional membership of Forfest in prestigious international festival organizations and in awards from important professional institutions. Forfest, the International Festival of Contemporary Music and Fine Arts with a spiritual focus has been a member of the European Conference of Promoters of New Music, EFFE - Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe Brussels and the prestigious Czech Music Council Award.

They regularly or at least often contribute to the festival of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Education, the Zlín Region, the City of Kroměříž, the Czech Music Foundation, the Karel Pexidra Foundation, OSA Partnership and the Gideon Klein Foundation.


Equally important is the ideological and media support - participation, guarantees, patronage. This year it was, for example, Archbishop of Olomouc and the Metropolitan of Moravia Mons. Jan Graubner, Probošství Kroměříž, Czech Radio (Brno editors filmed several concerts and brought up-to-date news), from Radio Proglas, Archbishop's Chateau and Gardens Kromeriz, Museum of Kromeriz, Society for Spiritual Music, Museum of Czech Music in Prague, Embassy of some Czech Republic in Dublin and Czech Embassies and Cultural Centers Abroad. Union of Fine Artists of the Czech Republic, Association Q Brno and others. Cooperation with similar institutions from Slovakia, USA, Germany, France, Austria, Romania, Italy, San Marino, Israel etc. is also quite regular.

The fact that the Olomouc Archbishopric, takes its patronage over Forfest seriously, was attested by the personal presence of Archbishop Jan Graubner and emeritus bishop Josef Hrdlička at the opening concert of Forfest on 9 June. His Eminence and His Excellency they did not spare the words of praise for the orchestra and the composition after the concert.


The pilot project of Forfest is the biennial organization of colloquiums. This year it was held for the fifteenth time with the subtitle Art and Society. The colloquiums are usually dominated by musicological and arthistorical themes, themes in the field of creative poetics, and sometimes literary-scientific themes. Sadly, even though the festival declares a spiritual artistic orientation, theologians and clergymen of various churches in charge of art and youth, for example, have made their contributions only in a few colloquia. Some fifteen or twenty years ago, at the colloquium I witnessed truly engaging, timely, beneficial, sometimes controversial contributions from Christian churches across the ecumenical spectrum, including representatives from the Vatican. Although biennial colloquiums take place at a not very convenient date (exam and state examination periods, closing of classifications, closing of concert and theater seasons), scientists, artists, cultural editors sometimes from up to two dozen countries apply for performances. The overall professional level has maintained its professional standard during the fifteen years and the credit and colloquium is received in foreign professional journals. Importantly, theoreticians and practitioners are given the opportunity to address questions that are burning them and which are generally burning global civil society in the Czech Republic and abroad. The polythematic nature of colloquia and its interconnection with philosophical and generally aesthetic questions is then intensified by publishing proceedings with contributions from colloquia in parallel in Czech and English, in which authors who, for some serious reason, could not attend the colloquiums for some serious reason. By comparing the contents of the proceedings, we get a fairly decent picture of the current state and development of artistic and artistic thinking.

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