Trencín was the centre of culture and an intensive music life as early as the 17th century. In the course of time a number of notable figures of the music world used to reside there. Within the setting of Jesuitic and later Piaristic college the cultural life was flourishing: the compositions by distinguished European composers were performed there; secondary school students and teachers appeared regularly in school plays, passion plays; a number of the scores from that time have been kept in the Piaristic archive, among them were some unknown pieces by outstanding composers.
Within these traditions lasting more than three centuries, an amateur orchestra, which was formed in 1990, designated their love for music and an ambition to spread this love among the public as its emblem. The initiative of Folk School of Arts teachers and its former graduates aimed at forming music ensemble was a logical continuance of the past and at the same time the demonstration of a good quality background where various artistic forms have always been favoured.
THE BIRTH. In the very beginning there were two music teachers Jozef Guldán and Jozef Polomský together with other 29 enthusiastic music school graduates. The Chamber Orchestra of Trencín was founded on 5th September 1990 and they had the first concert shortly after. The orchestra presented its art to the public in Trencín on 26th December in Piaristic church (since then this traditional Christmas concert has been held annually). The first years of existence were marked with a drastic development, more than 40 musicians participated in different times, but in the end of nineties the body finally had its permanent membership, which has been preserved (with minor modifications) up to this day.
REPERTOIRE. From the first days of existence, the orchestra has enthusiastically embarked upon various music pieces, without exception of any style, epoch or challenge, starting from baroque masters through Italian opera to accomplished classical and romantic composers. The process of orchestra maturing was finalized in the stylistic orientation towards baroque era. Majority of the present orchestra repertoire includes works by G.P. Telemann, A Vivaldi, G.F.Haendel, A. Corelli, G. Muffat, H. Purcel, etc.
PROFESSIONS. The music schoolteachers who have been ten in number (at present there are four) were the core of the orchestra. Besides the teachers many other people of various professions have been involved like managers, doctors, economists, accountants, teachers, businessmen, technicians, clerks, programmers, as well as pupils and students.
COLLABORATION. Friendship, good relationships and collaboration have inseparably been linked with the ensemble activities from the very beginning. This means a pleasant atmosphere within the team, close contacts with some professional artists, other orchestras (Chamber orchestra of Trnava, Bratislava Chamber orchestra Technik) and friends (Mr. and Ms. Kabátnik from Sweden, stage director Stan Oriešek from Switzerland). Recently, the collaboration with Peter Zajícek who is the artistic director of Musica Aeterna Chamber Orchestra has been vital to the orchestra development. The orchestra artistic growth is substantially influenced by generous contribution of this outstanding Slovak and European baroque music interpret to the orchestra. It was also his wife, an accomplished sopranist Kamila Zajícková who enriched the orchestra concerts with her outstanding performance.
SPONSORING.In the years of existence there were many sponsors, but it is the town of Trencín that has appeared to be the most devoted orchestra supporter. The foundation “Pro Slovakia” and Slovak Ministry of Culture have also contributed to the running of the orchestra. Beside them, there are several joint-venture companies (as Q-EX Trencín) that also regularly sponsor the ensemble. Owing to these financial supports the orchestra members do not have to accept the burden of covering the orchestra operating expenditures themselves.
CONCERTS. Concerts are essential to the orchestra life, having been its motivation, main goal, encouragement as well as training. In 15 years of existence there were 145 concerts and 24 of them were realized abroad (Sweden, Hungary, France, Switzerland). The members have the unforgettable memories of all the concerts – those performed in unheated premises of churches in winter time when the players warmed up their hands in gloves, those when wearing formal suits they played for big audiences in heated, well-lighted concert halls (e.g. wonderful Reduta Hall in Spišská Nová Ves), as well as provisional stages in schools, nursing homes, arenas of open-air mega-festival “Pohoda” and many other places which have one thing in common: they are places where music fiestas are held, where a group of enthusiastic musicians passes on the beauty of old cultures preserved forever in music to the group of enthusiastic audience.
CONCLUDING WORDS. Trencín Chamber Orchestra has been performing in the area of classical music and appearing to be one of the most stable amateur ensembles in Slovakia. At this stage of development the players have spent thousands of hours by retrieving, rehearsing, discussing and playing. They have gained the sort of experience, which is – besides others – the source of present quality that is inevitable for achieving their set target. This target is and has always been enjoyment and artistic exposure of their audience to their music.
PhDr. Ladislav Kacic