Luboš Fišer (Loo’-bosh Feesh’-er) (30 September 1935, Prague Czechoslovakia - 22 June 1999, Prague) was one of a growing group of talented contemporary Czech composers who continued the artistic traditions which began over nine centuries ago. His music has that rare quality which often identifies the composer after only one hearing. His strong (sometimes short) melodies have the strength of an urgent message.
Fišer studied composition with Emil Hlobil at the Prague Conservatory (1952-1956) and with Pavel Borkovec at the Prague Academy of Music, from which he graduated in 1960. In 1971-1972 he served as composer-in-residence with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra of Pittsburgh, conducted by Robert A. Boudreau.
Fišer composed scores for over 300 television productions and films, as well as a chamber opera; symphonies; concertos for piano, two pianos, organ, and violin; sonnets to Michelangelo’s texts; sonatas for piano and violin; various chamber ensembles; and voice. His early works were rather traditional, but the use of aleatoric and other contemporary techniques (in his unique style) became more noticeable during the 1960s. Later, his musical form became more compact and condensed, particularly in his one-movement sonatas. The depth of his intellectual interest in art, archeology, and human history—as reflected in his works—is evident. His music for television and cinema supports the author’s plot and, at times, creates a special atmosphere without which the art work would not be the same. Fišer’s music for the movie Ziati Uhosj Golden Eels won the Grand Prix Italia in 1980. He also received much acclaim for the lyrical and melodic score in the TV version of Babjca—The Grandmother. In 1976 his opera The Eternal Faust won first prize at the International Contest of Television Operas in Salzburg. His chamber opera Lancelot (1960) and his comic opera The Good Soldier Schweik, not to be confused with Kurka’s composition of the same name, is likewise well known.
When given the opportunity, Fišer preferred to compose concert music where he was not as restricted by time or by a specific plot. He considered his concert scores as “more authentic, original, and expressive of his artistic feelings.” In 1967 his Fifteen Prints after Dürer’s Apocalypse for orchestra (1965) won first prize at the International Composers Tribunal--UNESCO in Paris. Fišer’s first wind band work, Report, composed in Prague in 1968 as the combined armies of the Warsaw Pact nations were preparing to invade his country, is becoming a standard for leading university bands. In addition to Report, Fišer composed the wind orchestra work Centaures (PET, 1983), an AWSO-commissioned work which deals with “man’s reaction on the fright of the unknown.”
Works for Winds
- Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 207-208