The Art of Improvisation (Janoska Masterclass)
In 2013 four closely related musicians worked out that from now on, despite all their attractive music projects, they wanted to make music only as a team: brothers Ondrej and Roman Janoska playing violins, a third brother František at the piano and their cousin Julius Darvas on double-bass. A tradition of family musicianship grew into a professional artistic project, ambitiously pursued: the “Janoska Ensemble” was born!
These days, the Janoska Ensemble is a group in international demand. Its unique Janoska Style wows thousands of fans worldwide, its debut CD “Janoska Style” went gold within months. This success is due in the first place to the imaginative arrangements and the synthesis of musical styles, but that would count for nothing without the perfect musicianship of these performers, which arouses genuine admiration among their artistic colleagues.
Thanks to their long-maturing intuition for one another, the four instrumentalists effortlessly make music “as if with a single voice”. They play in the knowledge that they are all totally present at all times, able to react spontaneously to improvised interjections. Each of them knows from the others that these reactions “come off” musically and that each free phrase will be followed by perfectly timed instrumental concord.
To help aspiring musicians gain more self-confidence in the practice of improvisation, the musicians of the Janoska Ensemble have for some years now been holding workshops, in Hong Kong for instance, where the Janoska Style has won many fans among students of classical music. The four musicians put a lot of energy into teaching practical playing techniques and explaining the music theory that underlies free invention. Their aim is to bring the art of improvisation closer to classical music, now that the “know-how” of musically coherent freedom in “serious” music has largely disappeared.
The Janoska Ensemble is thus on a kind of ongoing “Improvisation Mission”, leading them in 2017 to the renowned Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy. Reactions from course participants were pretty euphoric. One after another, they say that working with the Janoska Ensemble has given them much more confidence to improvise freely in a classical context.
To date some 100 music students on four continents have bidden farewell to their four short-term teachers from Vienna with radiant smiles. This work as ambassadors of the rejuvenated art of improvisation, which has won them so many new friends, can be set beside their great concert performances as an additional cross-cultural achievement of the Janoska Ensemble.