Antarctica, Arctic Sunrise, Bach in Antarctica, CD, Dana Emingerová, Drake Passage, extreme sports, Greenpeace, guitar, Jaroslav Pavlíček, Lubomír Brabec, lute, mittens, musicology, Nelson Island, penguin, sailboat, scientist, ship, South America, Supraphon, television, violin, winter, Xman.cz
After decades of concerts, guitarist Lubomír Brabec is a top Czech performer who pursues both extreme sports and unconventional concert settings. True to his character, Brabec became the first musician in the world to perform a concert in Antarctica, and for that event he selected a recital of works by Bach.
It was in 1997, on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise at Nelson Island, that the concert Bach in Antarctica took place. Brabec says, “When the idea first originated with the polar researcher Jaroslav Pavlíček, I thought that the concert would be real nonsense, with me trying to play to penguins on the beach while wearing terrible winter mittens, or something. But instead, it was absolutely incredible. In the hall, actually in the dining room on the ship, research scientists, who were struggling under the harshest possible living conditions, daily facing the vagaries of nature, frost and damp, were gathered uncomfortably, many terribly depressed, all starving for contact, for culture. Once I started playing Bach, everything for them changed, and by the end of the concert, tears were rolling down their cheeks, and mine, too.”
The concert was recorded by Japanese television, and Supraphon released the same program of works by Bach, originally for lute and violin, on CD. Quickly recognized as an international success, Brabec returned repeatedly to Antarctica, daring to venture across the dangerous Drake Passage in a sailboat during a final trip from South America. Although his ship capsized, Brabec survived, and the experience further energized his music-making.
Fifteen years later, under more normal circumstances, Brabec continues to captivate audiences as he expands borders, merges divergent types of music and systematically embraces experimentation. As a musicologist, he has methodically searched archives for undiscovered works and is responsible for reviving many compositions for lute and guitar. He has likewise arranged hundreds of works by other composers for the guitar and thereby continues to expand the possibilities of the guitar as both a solo and accompanying instrument.