“On the last day of 2021 Juraj Filas, one of the greatest composers of our country in the late 20th century, died. He was the first living composer to be performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall since 1959,” wrote Marta and Stanislav Kotyz, who run the Harmony Foundation in the United States and worked with Filas, in an e-mail sent to the Czech Center in New York.
Juraj Filas was born on 5 March 1955 in Košice, Slovakia, but has lived in Prague since the mid-1970s. At the Prague Conservatory he studied two subjects – composition with Jan Zdeněk Bartos and singing. In 1981 he graduated from Prague Music Academy in composition under Jiří Pauer. Since 1985 he has taught the main course and historical composition studies at the Composition Department there, and has mainly taught traditionally oriented young composers. He was a laureate of numerous singing and composing competitions.
He created over one hundred compositions that were performed in many countries. He achieved repeated success with his works abroad. According to Kotyz, his compositions have been performed six times in the last fifteen years at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Filas’s Requiem Prayer for Hope was performed last year in New York City in a digital show that was part of the commemorations marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
As part of the mapping of the Czech contemporary music scene, Opera PLUS prepared a video interview with him about how he teaches young composers. Unfortunately, the official filming never took place. And so, from our archive, we bring you a part of the interview captured for our own purposes with an amateur camera.