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Remembering and Celebrating Ladislav Kubík

The Florida State University College of Music held a memorial concert in remembrance and celebration of the late Ladislav Kubík on October 26th 2018.

Beloved by colleagues, and students Ladislav Kubík passed away on October 27, 2017. Kubík joined the FSU faculty to teach composition during the 1990-91 academic year, where he worked until his passing. Kubík’s first orchestral works, composed in his teenage years, received their premieres at the Dvořák Hall at the Rudolfinum in Prague. As a student at the Prague Academy of Music, he received diplomas in composition and music theory in the early 1970s, followed by the “Aspiranture of Arts” in composition in 1980.

A native of Prague, Mr. Kubík was the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the International Rostrum of Composers UNESCO, Intervision Prize and finalist in the Prix Italia, Sudler Wind Band Composition Competition, and the New Music International Competition, Miami. Mr. Kubík was commissioned to write numerous works, among which was a concerto for winds and percussion for Florida State University. His compositions were performed throughout the world, including major symphony orchestras and string quartets. Many of his musical creations have been released on commercial records and compact discs.

The recital for Mr. Kubík was held in Opperman Music Hall. The recital featured faculty and students performing the works of the late Mr. Kubík. Faculty performers included: Eva Amsler, Alexander Jiménez, Evan A. Jones, David Kalhous, Jeffery Keesecker, Melanie Punter, Mary Roman, Pamela Ryan, Gregory Sauer, Benjamin Sung; with special guest artists Phyllis Pancella (mezzo soprano) and Jacqueline Pollauf (harp); and featured students from the College of Music.

The program featured a world premiere of Kubík’s last work Aulos performed by FSU Professor of Flute Eva Amsler and guest harpist Jacqueline Pollauf. The program also featured a U.S. premiere of his solo violin work Subterranean River (2017) with FSU associate professor of violin Dr. Benjamin Sung. Another work received a North American premiere, To Be a Poet (2016) which featured guest mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella and FSU professor of viola Pamela Ryan. The memorial concert concluded with a large-scale work, Sinfonietta No. 1 (1998), which featured FSU faculty and students.

Kubík is survived by his son Petr Kubík, his daughter Magdalena Kubík (and her husband William Kinlaw), and his grandson Leo Kinlaw. He will be fondly remembered as a devoted father and grandfather, a warm and supportive colleague, a gifted composer, and a tremendously insightful and encouraging teacher to generations of students.

A few personal remembrances from colleagues and friends…

I am saddened to learn today that Professor Ladislav Kubík has passed away. He was a truly brilliant musician and composer, one of the greatest teachers I have ever encountered, and, most importantly, a genuine, warm, and humane person of incomparable character. It is one of the greatest fortunes of my life to have had the privilege to study music with him for three years… He taught me that teaching composition is really about teaching good music and teaching good people.

His music was rich, stirring, challenging, and inviting. Every composition was bristling with life and energy, much like the man behind them.

Ladia will always be remembered and never be replaced. My condolences and thoughts go to everyone in the FSU College of Music community.

James M. David, DM 2006, Assoc. Professor, Composition/Music Theory, Colorado State University

Many years ago – in my previous FSU incarnation – I was approached by an older professor in the music library. A hulk of a man with a broad, open face, lively eyes, and a deep voice that bubbled with hints of his native Czech, he remarked that he’d seen me perform on one of his student’s recitals and asked if I’d look at something he’d written. He then pressed a score into my hand, nodded his head, and walked away.

Later that evening as I read through the music, I quickly realized that it was written with a deep understanding of the voice and a distinctive, very personal compositional perspective. There was humanity and humility in every phrase transmitted through a clear, angular beauty.

Thus began frequent collaborations with someone who became a dear mentor, supporter, and friend. I will always count the times I was able to coach with him as among the most enlightening and musically rewarding of my life.

Rest in peace, Ladia. You will be so dearly missed.

Margaret Jackson, DM 2003, Ph.D. 2010, Asst. Professor of Ethnomusicology, FSU

Ladia was a tremendously humane person and a really wonderful composer. He was also a dedicated teacher who was loved and respected. One of the things that most impressed me about him as a teacher is that the music his students composed was (and continues to be) incredibly diverse: modernist, conservative, experimental, minimalist… he didn’t shape students in his aesthetic image, but helped them develop their own voices and improve their craft. He was a musician’s musician and his own music never failed to impress me greatly. I’ll miss him very much.

Michael Buchler, Assoc. Professor of Music Theory, FSU

My heart hurts today after learning late last night of the passing of my friend and colleague, Ladia Kubík. Ladia was not only a highly respected and remarkably gifted composer, but also a loving educator and a generous colleague. Going back to 1997, I have been honored with numerous opportunities to conduct and record his work. I have so many wonderful memories of our time together… When Read Gainsford and I went to the Czech Republic to record Ladia’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Brno Philharmonic, Ladia was the consummate host. He took such good care of us and so proudly shared his love for his homeland with us during our stay… His music was complex, bold, and finely crafted. Most importantly it was human and it reflected his deep love of literature. No matter how complex the language, his music spoke to audiences and performers alike without ever compromising his aesthetic ideals. This is art.

As I write the tears are coming to my eyes realizing that I won’t hear his voice again or share another Becherovka liquor with him again. What I know is that he is at peace with no more pain. I will forever treasure our friendship and our collaboration. Sleep well, my dear Ladia. I will miss you.

Alex Jimenez, MM 1988, MME 1990, DM 1999, Professor of Conducting, Director of Orchestral Activities, FSU

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