Rudolf Komorous

(b. 8 December 1931, Prague).

Czech composer, now resident in Canada, of mostly orchestral and chamber works that have been performed throughout Europe and North America.

Prof. Komorous studied bassoon with Karel Pivoňka at the Pražská konzervatoř – Prague Conservatory from 1946–52, then studied bassoon with Karel Pivoňka and composition with Pavel Bořkovec at the Akademie múzických umění v Praze – Academy of Performing Arts in Prague from 1952–59.

Among his honours is Premier Prix in an international competition in Geneva (1957, as a bassoonist).

He is also active in other positions. He performed as first bassoonist in the orchestra of the Státní opera Praha – State Opera in Prague from 1952–59 and 1961–68. He co-founded the ensemble for contemporary music Musica Viva Pragensis in 1961 and performed as its bassoonist from 1961–68.

He taught bassoon and chamber music at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 1959–61 and lectured at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1970–71. He taught at the University of Victoria in British Columbia from 1971–89, where he became Professor of Composition and Theory and later served as director of the School of Music. He served as director of the School for the Contemporary Arts of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia from 1989–94.

Prof. Komorous has lived in Canada since 1969.


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Lady Blancarosa (opera, libretto by the composer), soprano, countertenor, actor, 1964–66

No no miya (chamber opera, libretto by the composer, after Zeami Motokiyo), soprano, baritone, speaker, dancer, 4 mixed voices, flute (+ piccolo), alto flute (+ piccolo), bass flute (+ piccolo), bass clarinet, alto saxophone, viola, cello, bass guitar, piano, percussion, 1988


Bare and Dainty, orchestra (2 English horns, 2 basset horns, 4 bassoons, 6 French horns, 4 trombones, piano, 2 harps, 2 vibraphones, marimba, 6 violas, 6 cellos, 6 double basses), 1969–70

Rossi, small orchestra (16 players), 1974, revised 1975

Serenade, string orchestra, 1982 (version of Trio)

Sinfony No. 1, 'Stardust', 1988

Demure Charm, flute obbligato, bassoon, string orchestra, 1990

Sinfony No. 2, 'Canadian', large orchestra, 1990

Sinfony No. 3, 'Ex C', string orchestra, 1995

Chamber Concerto, bassoon, orchestra, 1995

Sinfony No. 4, 'La Tireuse de cartes', small orchestra, 1997

Sinfony No. 5, 'The Spiffy Nude', small orchestra (3 flutes, 3 English horns, timpani, 3 violas, 3 double basses), 2001

Sinfony No. 6, 'Verdigris', 2002


Duettino, clarinet, bassoon, 1954

Still Life with Florets, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 3 violas, suspended cymbal, 1961

The Sweet Queen, melodica, bass harmonica, piano, bass drum, 1962

Olympia, melodica, bass harmonica, flexatone, acolyte bells, sleighbells, ratchet, nightingale, 1964

Mignon, any 4 bowed strings, 1965

Minute Waltz, melodica, cowbell, 1965

Chanson, guitar, viola, spiral clock, 1965

York, flute, oboe/trumpet, bassoon, mandolin, double bass, piano, triangle, 1967

Piccolomini, 4 piccolos, 1967

The Gloomy Grace, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano, cowbell, nightingale, 1968

Dingy Yellow, soprano saxophone, piano, fixed media, 1972

Untitled 2, trumpet, 1973

Untitled 3, 2 flutes, oboe, bassoon, 2 trumpets, violin, double bass, harpsichord, vibraphone, 1974

Untitled 4, 4 oboes, 2 trumpets, violin, 1974

Untitled 5, flute, French horn, viola, double bass, 1974

Preludes for 13 Early Instruments, 3 recorders, 3 crumhorns, 18-string psaltery, 3 viols, portative organ, harpsichord, handbells, 1974

Untitled 6, viola da gamba, harpsichord, 1976

Midnight Narcissus, alto flute, English horn, cello, piano, triangle, 1977

About Scales, flute, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano, vibraphone, 1979

Amaryllis, guitar, 1981

Trio, violin, viola, cello, 1981 (also version as Serenade, string orchestra)

Fumon Manga, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1981, revised 1983

Quartettino (Les Amours jaunes), bassoon, violin, viola, cello, 1983

Passacaille, bass flute, harpsichord, 1985

Tango (Seven Autumn Haiku and Three Winter Tanka), alto melodica, bass harmonica, tenor recorder, alto flute, guitar, violin, viola, bass guitar, electric piano, vibraphone, percussion, 1985–86

The Necklace of Clear Understanding, Baroque flute, 1986

Nocturne for Winds (The Rainbow of Forgetting), flute, oboe, A-clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, French horn, 1986

Ritratto di Laura Battiferri, 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, 1989

Aokigahara, bass flute, tingsha (cymbals from Tibet), 1989

Dames' Rocket, clarinet, trumpet, double bass, piano, vibraphone, marimba, 1991

Hermione Dreaming, Baroque ensemble, 1992 (also version for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 2000)

Slow Rant Boogie, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 1994

Seven Sides of Maxine's Silver Die, piano, 9 players, 1997–98

Lurid Bride, alto flute, oboe, bass clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 1999

The White Shift (String Quartet No. 1), 2000

Like that Drake, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, electric guitar, violin, viola, cello, piano, accordion, 2000

Aurélia, bass flute, bass clarinet, basset horn, 2 violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 anvils, 2001

The Atonement (String Quartet No. 2), 2002


An Anna Blume (text by Kurt Schwitters), mixed chorus, 1971 (also version [English translation] as Eve Blossom has Wheels, mixed chorus, 1971)

Vermilion Dust (text by Li Shangyin [translated by James J. Y. Liu]), baritone, mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1980, revised 1984

Li Ch'ing Chao Madrigals (text by Li Qingzhao), mixed chorus, 1985


Twenty-three Poems about Horses (text by Li He [translated by J. D. Frodsham]), speaker, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, viola, cello, double bass, 1978 (also version for speaker, orchestra, 1985)

Wang Wei Songs (text by Wang Wei), baritone, piano, 1974–84

Cold Mountain Songs (text by Hanshan [translated by Red Pine]), soprano, cello, 1987


Le Trille du diable, 1964

Slowfox, 1973

The Chinese Box, 2000


The Tomb of Malevich, fixed media, 1965

Gone, fixed media, 1969

Untitled 1, fixed media (2 tracks), 1973

The Grand Chopper, fixed media (4 tracks), 1974 (also incorporated into Anatomy of Melancholy)

Anatomy of Melancholy, fixed media, 1974 (incorporates The Grand Chopper)

Listening to the Rain, fixed media (2 tracks), 1986


Trois Mélodies (Erik Satie), soprano, string quartet, 1986

Geneviève de Brabant (Erik Satie), flute, oboe, bass clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, double bass, percussion, 1989