Iva Bittova sings with a Dutch ensemble

Iva Bittova is a Czech singer who has developed her own, unmistakable style, far from the mainstream. Iva's audience comes to hear her sing and play either violin or viola. This month, Iva Bittova together with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, will give two concerts in Brno and Prague prior to a tour of Hungary and Slovakia. Alena Skodova has more:

Iva Bittova comes from a musical family. Her father was a versatile musician, who played double-bass, trumpet, guitar and dulcimer, her mother sang in countless choirs. Iva herself studied drama in the Moravian city of Brno and for ten years was an actress in an avant guarde Brno theatre group called Husa na provazku or Goose on a string.

But after years in theatre, she suddenly felt she might better express herself through music. Today Iva plays violin and viola and sings. Her music ranges from original compositions to renditions of Moravian folk songs and classical music, mostly concentrated on a famous 20th century Czech composer Leos Janacek.

Recently, Iva was contacted by Dutch musicians from the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, who offered her cooperation which resulted in a CD, called 'Dance of the Vampires'. This month, Iva will give two concerts with the Netherlands Blazers, one in Brno and one in Prague. Dutch arranger S. K. Tickmayer arranged her compositions for orchestra:

"He has preserved everything that I composed just for voice and violin, and added brass instruments, percussion and double-bass. We rehearsed very briefly but it all went well. Then we had four concerts in the Netherlands, including one at the Paradise Hall in Amsterdam, which was broadcast live on Dutch radio. The last one was in a church in the town of Utrecht and there we recorded the 'Vampires' CD. The whole programme has been chosen by the Dutch, and it will also include four compositions by Leos Janacek."

The concerts in the Czech Republic will take place in two completely different environments: while in Brno Iva Bittova will sing in an abandoned factory hall, where it will be recorded by Czech TV, in Prague it will be held in the most prestigious concert hall in town, the Rudolfinum, which is the home of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra.