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Vladimír Hirsch

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Vladimír Hirsch
Composer Vladimír Hirsch
Composer Vladimír Hirsch
Background information
Born3 July 1954 (1954-07-03) (age 69)
Benešov, Czechoslovakia
GenresDark ambient, Electronic music, Contemporary music
Occupation(s)composer, doctor
Instrument(s)piano, organ, keyboard
Years active1973–now
LabelsArs Benevola Mater, Old Captain, Integrated Music Records, CatchArrow Recordings, Chromozome, RRRecords, Epidemie Records, Twilight Records, Power & Steel, Dagaz Music
Relatives Vladimír Hirscher (son)

Vladimír Hirsch (born 3 July 1954, Benešov, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech composer and instrumentalist (keyboard instruments). The author of the concept of the so-called "integrated" musical form – combining contemporary classical music with dark-ambient and industrial music, his compositional style is characterized by polymodal architecture and alchemical work with sound, using mainly digital techniques to expand the action potential of the means of expression. Vladimír Hirsch is or was the leader of the avant-garde projects Aghiatrias, Skrol, Zygote, Subpop Squeeze, and more.[1] From 1986 to 1996, he was a member of the experimental post-punk band Der Marabu.[2] Vladimír Hirsch graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Charles University in Prague and has been practicing medicine with shorter or longer breaks.[3]

Biography and style[edit]

Vladimír Hirsch was born in Benešov, lived in Ledeč nad Sázavou until he was 18 and then moved to Prague, where he now lives and works. Composing since 1973, he started with small romantic and classical compositions for piano and organ, but very soon abandoned the experiments and devoted himself only to rock and jazz.[4] A long-time member of the Prague-based post-punk group Der Marabu,[2] after its disintegration, he founded the ensemble Skrol (1995) and several other parallel projects like Aghiatrias, Zygote, Subpop Squeeze, Luminar Ax, etc.[3]

Without ever abandoning his projects and ensembles, in 1987 the composer began working in parallel on solo production, and around 2002 it became his main program. Emphasizing the use of modern means of expression and the search for specific compositional techniques, he bring together serial, atonal, microtonal, polymodal, and spectral music. Partly inspired by the traditions of 20th-century Slavic classical music, Vladimír Hirsch keeps building hybrid working models in tonal principles, composition, and instrumentation. Using digital techniques for classical orchestras together with a wide range of sound sources, he searches to achieve the alchemical transformation of sounds into a homogeneous, indivisible substance. This principle, called "integrated music"[5] by itself, also represents the metaphysical idea of the creative concept, which consists in the collision and reconciliation of two seemingly opposite spiritual worlds within an individual.

Vladimír Hirsch regularly gives concerts both at home and abroad, including tours in the USA, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. In 2010, an eight-disc set of key recordings was released by the Italian publishing house Ars Benevola Mater entitled "The Assent to Paradoxon". He has also collaborated with foreign artists on different projects like Dawn Carlyle aka Dove Hermosa, Nadya Feir, Cecilia Bjärgö, Igor Vaganov, Alessandro Aru or Kenji Siratori.


Vladimír Hirsch's music lingers between experimental projects and compositions of a very strict compositional order, but is almost always of a conceptual nature:

"It is the work of a non-conformist individualist, forging a completely original aesthetic form, where the unifying element is a rather dark, emotionally tense, often apocalyptic atmosphere of compositions, characterized by their metaphysical, existential anxiety, and spirituality." (Stephen Ellis)[6]

His most notable works include "Symphony No. 4" with the subtitle "Snímání z kříže" (in English: "Descent from the Cross")[7] and its revised, live version "Graue Passion" (Šedé pašije);[8] the conceptual dark ambient albums "Underlying Scapes", "Exorcisms", "Invocations" and "Scripta Soli",[9] the post-industrial mass "Missa Armata"; the composition for piano, percussion and combined electroacoustic techniques "Endoanathymia"; the digital symphonies "Axonal Transit" and "Metaspeheres (symphonies nos.5 & 6) on the album Katagenesis; the selection of compositions for organ and piano "Selected Organ and Piano Works", and Concerto for Organ No. 2 "Horae".

While the composer's work seems to be permeated by a very elaborate and authentic expression of the internal conflict of values within the individual and one's confrontation with the anthropocentric model of contemporary society, the composer disagrees it was the initial idea in throughout the compositions. For the insiders of the industrial and post-industrial scene, Vladimír Hirsch produces very intense, full of suggestive and stormy atmosphere music.[10]

Vladimír Hirsch is included in Olivier Bernard's Anthology of Ambient Music,[11] in the encyclopedic publication of composers of contemporary world music.[12] or The Complete Guide of Ambient Music.

Selected compositions[edit]

Hirsch's work is represented by the activities of his ensembles and also by an extensive collection of solo works. He is the composer of a large number of conceptual or thematic albums, symphonies, suites, concert and experimental compositions, many smaller compositions for piano and organ, stage music, and exceptionally also film soundtracks.

Selected compositions[edit]

  • Synthetics – Themes, op. 17, album of experimental compositions of electronic music, 1987
  • Symphony no. 1 in E, Op. 20; symphony for two synthesizers, 1988–9
  • The Ambits Of Material World; cycle of organ compositions, 1990
  • 7 Parts Of Desolation, op. 29; thematic piano cycle, 1986–1991
  • Aion, op. 33; composition for organ, water harp and field sound recordings, 1992
  • Simplicity Of Heresy, op. 37; suite for integrated music ensemble, 1996
  • Nenia, op. 40; experimental organ composition, 1996
  • Musik für die Metamorphose, op. 45; stage music for theatrical transcription of a short story Franze Kafky "Proměna", 1997
  • Symphony no. 2 "Defensa", op. 47; symphony for synthesizers and digital technology, 1997
  • Concert industriel pour orgue, op. 49; concert for organ, percussion and integrated ensemble, 1997–8, existing in three versions (49a, b, c)
  • Casual Crime, op. 51; compositions for jazz quartet, 1974–1998
  • Symphony no. 3 "Brands Of Tyranny", op. 52; symphony for integrated orchestra, organ, percussion and female vocals, 1998-9
  • Sense Geometry, op. 54; experimental electronic-industrial composition, 1998
  • Dances & Marches, op. 57; suite for organ, piano and integrated ensemble, 1998
  • Exorcisms, op. 61; suite for Integrated File, 2000, revised 2006
  • Trigonal Sonata, op. 62; sonata for two pianos and digital technique, 2000
  • Missa armata, op. 64; industrial mass for the integrated ensemble, 1999–2004, later reworked and renamed "Cryptosynaxis"
  • Elegy, op. 65; experimental composition for piano and "gas-organ" (gas organ), 2000
  • Symphony no. 4, “Descent From The Cross” (Snímání z kříže), op. 67; symphony for integrated orchestra, solos and choir on the theme of Dostoevsky's interpretation of the painting of the same name by Hans Holbein Jr. from the altar cycle "Graue Passion" ("Šedé pašije"), 2001
  • De regionibus liminis, op. 68; ambient-industrial electronic album, later reworked and renamed Underlying Scapes, 2003
  • Hermeneutic cycle, op. 70, cycle of compositions for piano, percussion, integrated ensemble and digital technology, 2004; reworked as the concept album Endoanathymia, 2009–2010
  • Les scènes ardentes, op. 72; conceptual album, album of compositions for integrated electroacoustic technology, 2004
  • Nonterra, op. 73; concept album, suite for integrated technology, 2005
  • Torment Of Naissance, op. 79, composition for integrated technology, conceptual album, 2007
  • Contemplatio per nexus, op. 77; two-movement composition for an integrated musical ensemble and solo singing on a theme, inspired by the work "Teologia spiritualis mystica", dealing with the process of transformation of human consciousness during mystical contemplation, 2008
  • Tobruk, op. 82, originally a soundtrack, later a thematic album, 2008
  • Epidemic Mind, op. 81, experimental electronic (electroacoustic) album, 2008
  • Graue Passion, op. 67b, completely revised version of the 4th symphony, 2009
  • Markéta, the daughter of Lazar, op. 85, stage music for a theatrical play based on Vladislav Vančura's short story "Markéta Lazarová", 2009–2010
  • Lamiadae: Symmetric Variations, op. 88, compositions for 2 pianos and integrated technique 2011
  • Horae, op.90, composition for two organs, integrated ensemble, clock machines, field records and digital technology, 2012
  • Craving Urania, op. 95, composition for integrated techniques, 2014
  • Do Not Let Us Perish (St.Wenceslaus), op. 96, composition for integrated techniques (variations on the theme of the St. Wenceslas Chorale, 2015
  • Scripta Soli, op. 91, conceptual dark ambient album in the spirit of "integrated concrete music", 2017
  • Ex Litteris Of St.Paul, op. 98, conceptual album based on citations from St.Paul epistles, 2020
  • Le Grand Jeu, op. 99, conceptual album for pianos and integrated techniques, 2021
  • Lux Antiqua, op. 97, quasi-oratorial composition, 2023

Other activities[edit]

Vladimír Hirsch also deals with computer graphics: among other things, he is the author of the design of all his solo albums and the vast majority of albums of his projects. In this regard, he often collaborates with the Czech art photographer Jan Vávra, a representative of the so-called neopictorialism, whose works became a model for the unified design of Hirsch's set of albums "The Assent to Paradoxon". He is also the author[13] of a number of articles and essays.[14] not only on music[15] and art.[16][17][18] He has long been committed to the use of the geographical names Czechia (Česko).[19][20]


  1. ^ "VLADIMÍR HIRSCH - projects Aghiatrias, Skrol, Zygote, Luminar Ax, Tiria, Der Marabu". www.vladimirhirsch.com. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  2. ^ a b "Der Marabu". Discogs (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  3. ^ a b Hirsch, Vladimír (August 1, 2017). "Official biography". Composer Vladimír Hirsch. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  4. ^ Hagedorn, Hans Christian: Don Quixote's Adventures in the World of Jazz: 200 Examples
  5. ^ Claudia Admiron: Invocatio (intervies for "Heathen Harvest", 2013)
  6. ^ Stephen Ellis: Vladimír Hirsch - Symphony No.4 "Descent from the Cross"
  7. ^ Adam X: Vladimír Hirsch - Symfonie č. 4: Descent From The Cross (Engl.); Heathen Harvest
  8. ^ M.Jarolím: Graue Passion recenze
  9. ^ Michael Barnett: Scripta Soli review [1]
  10. ^ Blanický J., Auster M.: Vladimír Hirsch - Biografie
  11. ^ [2] Olivier Bernard: Anthology of Ambient (Anthologie de l'ambient - in French
  12. ^ 21st Century composers /(Life Journey, 2013)
  13. ^ Břetislav Kafka: Za hradbami vědomí
  14. ^ Eseje
  15. ^ Jan Dismas Zelenka opomíjený a znovuobjevený (angl.)
  16. ^ Mikuláš Medek - metyfyzická transformace bolesti (angl.)
  17. ^ "Vladimír Kokolia". 2013-10-23. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23.
  18. ^ Blog
  19. ^ Hirsch: Česko a Czechia? Nadčasový název země si zasloužíme, DVTV, 27. 8. 2015
  20. ^ Lidové noviny: Spor o název Czechia

External links[edit]