PIO celebrated its five year anniversary in September 2017 with a two-day recording session with some excellent foreign guests in Czech Radio Studio A. Now we're going to release these recordings on a double LP with a fantastic cover by Klára Zahrádková.
On a fourteen-hour train ride to a tour in the Netherlands in 2012, Petr Vrba and George Cremaschi decided to start the Prague Improvisation Orchestra (PIO), which would function as a unique Czech platform for large-format improvisation. The basic idea was to invite musicians from different scenes dealing with improvisation and experimentation (noise, electronics, jazz, and contemporary classical music), and create a unique base group that would combine their different experiences and ideas in one place.
Our original goal was to support and link the various scenes involved with improvisation and experimental music in the Czech Republic, and also to promote our scene in the world. In five years we have organized more than 30 concerts with many international guests and this summer's concert in Nickelsdorf, Austria, will be the second PIO trip abroad. Now we want to release this new set of definitive recordings: from the deep textures and subtle interaction in Something is Trembling (by special guest composer Burkhard Stangl) to the surprising and strong voices of A Beginners Guide to Blurry Abstraction to the strong contrasts and massive sound of Cracked Syntax with Forked Tongue and powerful orchestra noise rock of Rope, this is an amazing and unique collection of sounds. Only PIO could sound like this!
PIO concerts are often interdisciplinary projects involving light designers, dancers, visual artists, etc. Our 15-member core group has collaborated with over 100 artists from Czech and around the world (eg Mats Gustafsson, Mazen Kerbaj, Ingrid Laubrock, Martina Hajdyla Lacová, Thomas Lehn). On our five-year anniversary, we were invited by Czech Radio to make a two-day recording session. A total of 24 musicians including several foreign guests were included: Michaela Antalová, Xavier Charles, George Cremaschi, Barbora Čopáková, David Danel, Ken Ganfield, Veronika Hladká, Agnes Hvizdalek, Jan Jirucha, Mazen Kerbaj, Didi Kern, Pasi Mäkelä, Michal Matejka, Tomáš Mika, Elia Moretti, Lucie Páchová, Ivan Palacký, Iveta Plná, Vojtěch Procházka, Burkhard Stangl, Petr Vrba, Zdeněk Závodný, Michal Zbořil, Pavel Zlámal. The recordings were so successful that we decided to release them on a vinyl double album, with a super cover from designer Klára Zahrádková.
The growing name of the PIO formation is confirmed by invitations from respected institutions, for example, Czech Radio organized a special concert which took place simultaneously at Studio Hrdinů in Veletržní palác in Prague and in CatMusica studio in Barcelona as a two-location live radio broadcast. The ensembles in both locations met in a common musical interaction during the performance which consisted of concepts developed by Barbara Held and George Cremaschi for each group. A live and online concert of two groups improvising in two places crossed the concert space of the radio air. The audience at Studio Hrdinů also got the chance to actively participate with their own sound image of the event using headphones. The recording of the whole evening and other information is available for download at the Czech Radio website: