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Marian Budos : Associate Artist

Of the few languages I can speak, I feel absolutely the most fluent in Music. I cannot remember ever not ’speaking' it and I still feel the child-like excitement of visiting that special place Music takes you to, every time I compose.

Random Audio Sample: Linn Linnaeus : duet for violin and guitar by Marian Budos, from the CD Ask me tomorrow

Photo of Marian Budos

Photo: Monika Mušková, 2019

Marian Budos (b.1968, Slovakia) has had an intriguing career as a composer, classical guitarist, conductor and pedagogue, preceded by an earlier successful international career as a champion 1500m runner for the Czecho-Slovakian national team. In 1991, Budos graduated from Matej Bel University with a Bachelor of Education. The following year, he permanently settled in Australia. In 1995, Budos continued his studies in composition at the Australian National University with Jim Cotter and Larry Sitsky. He studied classical guitar with virtuoso Ján Labant and Mark Norton; and conducting with Andrew Koll and Roland Peelman. He heads the Music Department at Narrabundah College in Canberra.

Budos's compositional style is driven by structure, direction and narrative content. His belief in strong harmonic, melodic and rhythmical development is underscored by an unorthodox use of instrumentation and orchestration, based on a mixture of Western and non-Western musical traditions.

Budos has received many awards, the most prestigious being the 1998 SOZA Composer of the Year Award (Slovakia's highest music award) for his work Two Worlds for classical and semi-acoustic guitars televised nationally and later released on an album of the same title. Compositions from this album formed core repertoire for the 1997 tour of Slovakia organised by the government arts agency Slovkoncert, and a tour of Australia in 1999, where Budos performed in a trio with Ivana Troselj and Ján Labant.

Budos has worked as a composer, conductor or performer with numerous individuals, ensembles and orchestras. In 2002, the world-renowned conductor Oliver Dohnanyi premiered and recorded his three guitar concertos with soloists Ján Labant, Rémi Boucher, Peter Remeník, and the Slovak Sinfonietta and Archi di Slovakia, later released on the album Heart on a Sleeve. Music from this album has been used in feature films (A Touch of Courage: The Enlightenment; The Boe Sisters), television, and repeatedly featured on the US-based Classical Guitar Alive! show broadcast across 290 radio stations in the Americas, Europe and Africa. Heart on a Sleeve and Secret Wedding were further performed at concerts in Poland and Slovakia by Filharmonia Czestochowa, Lublin Philharmonics, and Archi di Slovakia.

Budos's arrangements of traditional Slovakian folk songs were featured in two concerts at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games celebrations in Canberra.

In 2005, Budos co-wrote with Ivana Troselj and conducted music for the popularly received European tour of Seasons of the Soul, with cellist Monika Leskovar, mezzo-soprano Ivana Troselj, guitarist Ján Labant, vocal group Close Harmony Friends, and the Slovak Chamber Orchestra of Bohdan Warchal. Budos has also worked on numerous projects with leading Australian performers, such as the 2010 Once Upon a Time concert tour with cellist David Pereira, harpist Alice Giles, saxophonist Niels Rosendahl, composer Ivana Troselj, and puppeteers Cathie Roach and Cathy Petocz.

Other significant artistic collaborations forged over the last three decades featuring Budos's music include guitarists Tonié Field, John Couch, Ondrej Veselý, VCA Guitar Orchestra, the JGO South German Orchestra, Hamburg Guitar Duo, Satori Quartet and flutist Ján Figura, many of which resulted in concert tours, festival performances, recordings, radio and TV broadcast in countries as varied as Cuba, Mexico, Holland, Germany or Thailand.

To celebrate 100 years of the Australian capital Canberra in 2013, Budos wrote two commissioned works: Clepsydra (Water Clock),premiered by Swedish quartet The Peärls Before Swïne Experience with Griffyn Ensemble at Belconnen Arts Centre, and My Canberra (Symphony No.2) - performed and recorded at Llewellyn Hall, featuring Canberra Youth Orchestra.

Home, a movement from Two Worlds arranged for Sally Walker (flute) and Phillip Mayers (piano), was released on the album Hemisphere through Chartreuse label in 2013.

Budos's orchestral music has been selected for US film music libraries, including Perpetual Music Group.

Budos served as the President of Canberra Youth Music Council from 2012 to 2014 in its transitional period of merging with Music for Everyone. For this work, he was awarded an honorary life-time membership of the newly formed government-funded organisation Music for Canberra, in 2015.

His compositions Linn Linnaeus and The Magic Lute featured on John Couch's latest disc Ask Me Tomorrow, have been played repeatedly on ABC Classic since December 2015.

Budos's recent compositions include Light (2015) premiered at the Australian Institute of Sport Arena; One Last Time (2016) and Last Train From Platform 49 (2018), premiered at Cithara Aediculae festival by Ján Labant; Tres meditacions (homenatge a Antoni Gaudi), premiered by John Couch in Adelaide (June 2019); and A New York Minute, written for cellist Laura Metcalf and guitarist Rupert Boyd premiered in Canberra and further performed during their Boyd Meets Girl tour of Australia (June/July 2019) and in the USA, including a New York premiere in October 2019 at SubCulture.

The Passing of a Black Star (Homage to David Bowie) commissioned by the New Zealand Guitar Quartet was premiered in Wellington in December 2016, followed by the quartet's tour of China (2016), New Zealand (2017) and Australia, Mexico and USA in 2018. The work is the title of the quartet's most recent album and has been broadcast repeatedly on Radio New Zealand (Album of the week, July 2017), ABC Classic (Album of the week October 2017), Classical Guitar Alive show (2017, 2018). The Perth Guitar Quartet opened the Perth International Guitar Festival in September 2018 with the work and continues to perform it.

Budos premieried three new solo guitar works (Nostalgia II, Six Personalities, and A Little Rock Suite) in Canberra on 2 Februray 2020.

During his 2018 Barcelona visit, Budos was granted permission from the multi-award-winning Catalonian novelist Jaume Cabré to adapt his international million-copy bestseller Jo Confesso (Confessions) to music. The original April 2020 premiere of this new work Adrià's Confessions, a book-concerto for guitar and orchestra featuring soloist Jacob Cordover, supported by the ACT Government, Australian Embassy in Madrid, and the Australian Music Centre, in Barcelona's iconic Palau de la Música has been postponed to a later date, due to COVID-19.

Budos's commissions in 2020-21 include a new guitar quartet for NZGQ, guitar solo for Jacob Cordover, film music for Goldfish Productions, and music for a new album of poetry by acclaimed Slovakian author Igor Grossman.

Marian Budos — current to May 2020

Studied with

Jan Labant (1988 - 1991)

Mark Norton (1993 - 1994)

Jim Cotter (1995)

Larry Sitsky (1995)

Andrew Koll (2003 - 2005)


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
A New York Minute (duos: guitar, cello) (2018) Written for Laura Metcalf and Rupert Boyd
Last Train From Platform 49 : guitar solo (2018) Commissioned by Jan Labant for the Cithara Aediculae Festival, Nitra, Slovakia
Digital sheet music sample One last time : for classical guitar (2016) Commissioned by Ján Labant.
The Passing of a Black Star : tribute to David Bowie (2016) Commissioned by New Zealand Guitar Quartet.
My Canberra : Symphony No. 2 (2013) Commissioned to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra
Digital sheet music sample Clepsydra (Water clock) : for flute, bass flute, harp, piano, acoustic bass guitar, violin and violoncello (2013) Commissioned for the Centenary of Canberra celebrations - Water