Boris Kosak

composer

Germany

Author

About

Boris Kosak's way to classical music was mostly encouraged by his mother, herself a singer, conceding to the pleas of the six year old child and buying him a piano as a birthday present, encouraging his future as a musician.

The first compositional experiments started at the age of 13, and very soon he started to perform them publicly, gaining enthusiastic applause for his epically monumental works among which were twelve piano sonatas.From his father Boris Kosak inherited a strong interest in mathematics that accompanied him continuously from the first school years and brought him several prizes at regional maths and physics Olympics. At the age of 15 he had to choose between maths and music studies and the decision was in favor of music. 1994 Boris Kosak moved to Cologne where he studied composition with York Höller and electronic composition with Ulrich Humpert at the Music Univercity of Cologne. Simultaneously, he studied musicology as well as English and French philology ​​at the University of Cologne.In Cologne, a stronghold of avantgard music, Boris Kosak quickly understood that the dominating rigid and strict atonalism is alien to him and he has to find a way apart of the mainstream tendencies in order to make innovation possible again. In this time he occupied himself intensively with different styles, eras, genres and art forms and all these various influences resulted in new very personal style combining tradition with modernity, the sophisticated with the entertaining in a well-balanced manner and it was the traditional Cologne Carneval that gave him one of the strongest inspiring impulses.

Not by chance among the first compositions in the new style were the piano concerto „Il carnevale di Colonia“, the violin concerto „Concerto in stile coloniale“, and the concerto for orchestra „Tusch“.Already during his studies, Boris Kosak showed a special interest in the music of Baroque epoch whose influence can be clearly recognized in many of his compositions, stylistically, as well as in the choice of genres, especially concerto and concerto grosso, musique de table and dance suite. Reviving the Baroque suite, Boris Kosak modernized it and writed a series of one-minute pieces like 25 „Amuse-bouches“ for piano, 25 „Petit-fours“ for violin and piano, 14 „Dim Sum“ for piano, 36 „Momenti intimi“ for violoncello and piano, and 25 „Bagatelles essentielles“ for viola and piano. All these pieces have programmatic titles and mostly synthaesthetic connections. A special predilection for the Baroque tradition of musique de table inspired several compositions combining culinary topics with the music and leads to the compositions like „Eine kleine Naschmusik“(„A little nosh music“) for violin and string ensemble, the concerto grosso „King Arthur's Table Music“, Biography6 „Straccia-Cello“ for cello and „Suite royale“ for piano. Some of the critics even started to call his music neobarock.

In the last years Boris Kosak writes several orchestral works, redefining modern symphonism in an integrational way, using the whole palette of expressive means available to the modern composer. Among them are t h r e e s y m p h o n i e s – Sinfonia in G Nr. 1, Craftworks Symphony Nr. 2, and Vienna Symphony Nr. 3, the symphonic poem „Black Forest“, the cello concerto „BarCellona concerto“, concerto for wind orchestra „Windworks“, monumental „Mozart Variations“ for orchestra, and the second piano concerto „Capriccio concertante“. Also the song cycle „The cycle of life“ about the things happening for the first time in life (the first breath, the first step, the first word, the first kiss etc.) was created in this time, as well as Mussorgsky / Kosak „Pictures at an exhibition. A repost“ – a highly experimental concerto grosso staying in the tradition of pasticcio (especially loved by young Mozart) and combining the original music of Mussorgsky with new soloist and orchestra parts and episodes.These works testify a mature master of the orchestra score and they were celebrated in concert halls all over the world: in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, USA, Brasil, Australia, China, and South Korea. His music is performed by famous ensembles including Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Elision Ensemble, and Ensemble Modern.

For his original creative style and the highest quality of work, Boris Kosak is recognized as one of the most innovative musical talents of the contemporary generation who left a deep trail with his exciting and melodic scores, always winning a stunning applause and a sheer enthusiasm of the audience. He won several prestigious awards, including The Modern Composer's Award in Taiwan 2011, Ljubljana Award 2014, and The Best Modern Composition in Hong Kong 2015. Several CD recordings with music by Boris Kosak have been released in Germany and Netherlands. In spring 2020 a new CD will be released with the piano music performed by the composer himself.2016 Boris Kosak moved to Hamburg where he is engaged in several new projects for orchestra and the opera of Hamburg.

Videos

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music is an intrinsic part of my life, as also feelings and thoughts are. It is a unique way of reflection about what I experience and about the most important questions like who we are, why do we exist, what is the meaning of all this and where are we going? Music is like a periscope that helps you to give a glance over the horizon of the common mind and to make sure it is a whole world waiting to be discovered and explored. If you go on this journey with an open mind, you will find invaluable treasures that you will never want to miss again.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
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Let us say, fantasy is the medium of music, fascinating and inspiring at the same time. As a composer you got to tell a thrilling story in sounds, capable not only to catch the listener's attention but also to reach their hearts and imagination. If it is worth it, they will take it home to let it accompany them, and it is the greatest possible reward.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

At the age of 15 I struggled hard to decide to study music or maths. Music has won. I also write poetry and fairy-tales - everything comes from the same source of imagination and I can very well imagine to write more as well.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

It has been some time already that the traditional concert of classical music is not the most popular place to meet music. Most young people listen their Mozart at home, or get surrounded by orchestra sounds watching a movie, playing a game, or even ironing. It is astonishing how flexible the ways to the audience can be.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I see a tendency of classical music becoming a kind of a luxury journey to an imaginary world, accompanied by those little pleasures we allow us, like a good book, or a cup of coffee. It can be very challenging for a composer to write in an entertaining and sophisticated way at the same time, but it is how it works and you have to keep it in mind all the time.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

First of all classical music has to come out of the museum corner where it is focusing on the music from the past. Of course, for performers it is easier to learn some standard pieces, they eventually know already from the conservatory, and to perform them again and again all life long, conserving the same traditional receipts - maybe the best ones but still the same. What is also true, it is that often they even don't have a chance to influence the program that is proposed to them by festivals and agencies. But from the point of view of the audience, it deserves a well balanced diet with some greens and fresh fruits and of course an excellent well-seasoned wine. Here there is still a lot of work to do.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I guess you are talking about performing musicians because, actually, there are many creative composers nowadays, and it is less the question of the creativity than that of the repertoire. If you look at the literature market: the bookselling shops are full of new novels in all genres and not almost exclusively of those from the 18th-19th centuries. If we do the same with classical music searching carefully to bring fresh air in the concert halls, it will definitely help to bring new audience, especially when also changing the cover pages respectfully, to make them more inviting and attractive.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

A young generation always wants to be different than the parents, and it is best done with the visual. It means the concerts for them have to be redesigned from the optical point of view and looking very carefully at the actual trends and tendencies. For example, I see a lot of potential in the role play scenes like cosplay and other fantasy games because of their tight connections to the world of fantasy and imagination. Concerts organized for them don't have to be filled with pop music but definitely also not with Bach and Händel. The greatest challenge I see here is the styling of the concert hall and especially of the performers but it can be really fun!

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

One of my favorite compositions is BLACK FOREST for orchestra. I started writing on it for a russian children orchestra that was planning a tour in Germany and France. Unfortunately, in the last moment it was cancelled due to political reasons. In the end it was performed by different orchestras in Brazil and Germany.

It was a great fun to write for young performers and young audience and I very much enjoyed giving a lot of free space to the fantasy! First of all I tried to evoke the mysterious and enigmatic world of the fairy-tale forest, full of both good and evil spirits, and to show the magical world of fantasy and imagination in all its beauty. Here you can hear the rustling of leaves and crashing of waterfalls, birds singing and the roar of wild beasts. In the depths of the forest thickets there is an old abandoned smithy, where the fire is lit up at night and strange creatures forge a special sword for the hero with which he can defeat the dragon and rescue the princess.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Whenever there is an opportunity, I try to combine music with other forms of arts, especially dance, poetry, perfumes and the culinary art. It is an enrichment of the expressive pallet and a way to look a little further "over the border". I must admit that most of my inspiration I get from other forms of arts. I am also a passionate salsa dancer and an enthusiastic book reader. You can definitely quickly discover it when listening to my music.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Movie music can be a good beginning and generally a combination with the visual. There are also more and more classical video clips that I would highly recommend, on Moving Classics TV, for example. Then I would watch movies and fun documentaries about famous composers (youtube is full of them) and go to some special venues like candle light or midnight concerts. It can quickly become a real passion!

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

It is nothing strange that a banker talks about money, a politician about politics and a dentist about teeth, if you know what I mean. Business is one important part of musical art but only one, even though not insignificant. You can never reduce music to just a "product", it doesn't matter how hard you try, but musicians also have to pay their house renting, medical insurance and instruments that is why we shouldn't fear to deal with the topic.

On the other hand, the classical music market is highly monopolized and I think it is really a serious issue to speak about.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

There are more and more new initiatives like concerts in private houses. I have made some very good experiences with it and if somebody is playing with this thought I can only tell you: do it, it is worth it!

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

They are too many to tell about all of them and I will just mention the most important ones. I have finished an opera based on Hamburg's legends and now I am looking forward to its premiere after the pandemic time is over. It is clearly an experiment, though for me an experiment is not something which should scare or shock the listener, much more it should be a stunning surprise, involving emotionally and creating a projection place for dreams. Also my newest piano album ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE is an experiment where I step into a new for me realm of what is called new classics. The result is really surprising and soon the listeners will have an opportunity to enjoy the music live and the recording!