Mar 24, 2013 7:30 PM
Solo Concert. Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street, NYC
Czech singer/player/composer Iva Bittová has said. “The violin is a mirror reflecting my dreams and imagination. I believe there are fundamentals to my performance, such as the music’s vibration and resonance between violin and my voice.” That relationship is beautifully explored on this album – recorded at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher – which expresses the essence of Bittova’s unique and extraordinary solo work. These modestly-titled ‘Fragments’ resist definition. An idiosyncratic ‘folk’ music, contemporary composition, improvisation, any and all of these may apply from moment to moment. Bittová’s music is a living, changing thing: “Deciding on a name for my style of music is far from over yet”. Iva Bittová was previously showcased in 2007 on the widely-acclaimed ECM album Mater by composer Vladimír Godár; this marks her solo debut for the label.
Iva Bittová was born in 1958 in Bruntál in northern Moravia in what was then
Czechoslovakia – and nowadays the Czech Republic. Both of her parents were
musicians. Her mother Ludmila was a pre-school teacher who spent most of her
life with her family; her father Koloman Bitto – Bittová is the surname’s female
form – was a musician strongly influenced by the land of his birth – southern
Slovakia. His main instruments were string bass, cimbalom, guitar, and trumpet.
This exceptional ability to play almost any instrument he laid his hands on,
whether performing in classical or folk music styles, proved a major influence
on his three daughters as they grew up. Both of Iva’s sisters – her older sister
Ida and her younger sister Regina – are professional drama and music
Iva attended drama pre-school, specializing in violin and ballet. In due course she gained admittance to the Music Conservatory in Brno, often called the Czech Republic’s second city. She graduated in drama and music. During her studies, Iva took part-time engagements as an actress and musician in Brno’s Divadlo Husa na provázku (Goose On A String Theater). She cites these engagements as some of the most formative and influential of her life.
Around this time she also featured as an actress in radio, TV and movie productions. Later on, while working full time in theater, she re-kindled her interest in playing violin, an instrument she had set aside in her younger years. After her father’s early death, she decided to follow in his professional footsteps as an instrumentalist and by composing her own music.
In 1982, Iva started studying with Professor Rudolf Šťastný, the primarius (first violin) of the Moravian String Quartet. In the intervening years the violin has become her life’s passion and the most inspiring musical instrument in her professional life. Iva firmly believes that, as playing the violin places extreme demands on musicians, the composer’s work depends utterly on commitment and diligence.
After living in the countryside near Brno for 17 years, Iva decided to relocate her personal and professional life to the United States. In the Summer of 2007, she settled amid the splendors of nature in upstate New York. Iva shares her Hudson Valley home with her younger son Antonín (born 1991) – also a dedicated musician and another chip off the Bitto block.
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street, NYC
Mar 24, 2013 7:30 PM