Jiri Gemrot born April 15,1957 in Prague into a family of musicians learned to play the piano from the age at seven with Ema Dolezalova, and to compose since he was thirteen with Jan Zdenek Bartos. He then continued under these teachers when attending the Prague Conservatoire in 1972-76. This was followed by participation in Jiri Pauer's composition class at the Prague Academy of Arts, where he finished his studies in 1981. He also took part in a Master Composers Course with Franco Donatoni in Siena. Several times over he enjoyed success in the annual "Generation" competition for young artists held in Ostrava, Moravia, and in the Czech Republic's Young Composers Competition. Not infrequently Jiri Gemrot has been inspired by the performances of musicians to whom he has dedicated his works. To cite but a few examples: there is the Cello Concerto written for Marie Hixova, his Piano Sonata No. 2 tailored for Milan Langer, his organ "Fresco" for Melanie Pustejovska, "Meditations" for viola and organ for Ladislav Kyselka and Josef Popelka, the guitar "Fantasy and Toccata" for Miloslav Klaus, "Summer Study" for the Prague Saxophone Ouartet and "Bucolics" for the Stamic Quartet. Speaking of his current works mention should be made of his suite with a children s theme which was commissioned by the Czech Music Fund for a Czech Nonet anniversary, and another composition for a nation-wide harpsichord competition which is dedicated to Giedre Luksaite-Mrazkova.
Jiri Gemrot's composition technique has been crystallizing since his student days until it has achieved its present personal style. He takes classical composers as his models appreciating their work with themes and their tectonics; Prokofiev as a master of new, intelligible and laconic melodies; Martinu who managed to ward off atonal procedures and found his own original tonality and also he admires Dvorak, Janacek and Britten. Gemrot concentrates in the main on instrumental works, while his orchestral catalogue always represents a kind of summary of his previous development of which there are many opuses, but so far mostly for chamber ensembles. According to the composer, his type of inventive faculties are best suited to the chamber genres. He is convinced of a need to bridge the gap between the composer and the audience which has prompted him to strive for a communicative approach in which the emphasis is on a tuneful element. Admittedly, his language utilizes the forward-thrusting music evolved in the twentieth century, but it is his aim to fuse styles uniting past and present. In his composition he often resorts to the sonata form in an unconventional way, regarding it as a principle of evolution and contrast. Moreover, it is not rare for Gemrot to pose philosophical and artistic questions in his music; in his orchestral "Tributes", for instance, he pays homage to artistic points of reference; a respect for tradition (in "Heritage") and human feelings, which may be identical to artistic sentiments (in "Emotions"), "Maxims" for fifteen stringed instruments consist of three parts; "Prologue" is a vision of original human purity, "Drama" characterizes man s social debut, and in "Contemplation" the composer considers how some ideals undergo changes. In his symphonic music there is a sequence to "Maxims" expressed in "Dances and Reflections" which are a kind of allegory of good and evil as they are mirrored on an extrovert and introvert plane of human perception. This area of thoughts on attainting a greater balance is brought to a culmination in "Three Adagios" dealing firstly with nature, secondly with the soul and lastly with death.
To complete Jiri Gemrot s profile we should add that he was active as a Czechoslovak Radio music director from 1982 and since 1886 he has been engaged as a record editor in the Panton Publishing House, and also collaborates with Czechoslovak Television. He holds an official position in the Union of Czech composers and Concert Artists and its Young Group. Since 1990 he has been working as a director in chief at the Czech radio in Prague.