MLADOSŤ University Folkloric Ensemble

MLADOSŤ - logo
Univerzitný folklórny súbor MLADOSŤ
Contact: Director
Fakulta humanitných vied, Univerzita Mateja Bela v Banskej Bystrici, Tajovského 40, 974 01 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Mailing address: 
Katedra hudobnej výchovy, Pedagogická fakulta, Univerzita Mateja Bela v Banskej Bystrici, Ružová 13, 974 11 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
421 (0) 48 436 4512
421 (0) 48 436 4444

MLADOSŤ - logoThe origins of the MLADOSŤ University Folkloric Ensemble may be traced back to the opening in the 1959-60 school year of the Pedagogical Institute in Banská Bystrica, which for the first time in the history of Banská Bystrica provided studies in music education for primary school teachers. Following the establishment of the Department of Music Education, Dezider Strmeň founded and successfully led the PEDAGÓG (TEACHER) choir, which became the focus of musical activities at school. In the school year 1960-61 a dance group was also established under the direction of Dr Božena Kovalová, a former member of the Lúčnica and Technik folkloric ensembles who was instrumental in encouraging the students. At this time too the orchestra was founded under the direction of Eduard Gábor. When these various groups came together to perform they initially took the name BUDÚCNOSŤ (FUTURE). After a short period of time the dance component had attained impressive results. In the course of time, thanks to the diligence of the artistic director as well as the members of the group, it progressed to an even higher level. The greatest success of the group during this period was winning first place in the national contest of artistic creativity of youth university groups in Prague (1961) and first place in folk music at the nationwide competition of artistic creativity of university students in Nitra (1966). The group also participated in various traditional folkloric festivals and celebrations in Slovakia.

The second period in the history of the ensemble began with the establishment of the university folkloric ensemble MLADOSŤ (YOUTH) on 12 October 1971, an initiative of the Department of Music Education aimed at developing students’ interests, which further developed the activities of Budúcnosť and Pedagóg ensembles in the previous period. And so another family member of Banská Bystrica folkloric ensembles was born. In the course of time four components of the ensemble were formed. During this period the dance component was led by Dr Eleonóra Baranová, who brought the group new choreographies which won awards at various shows and competitions.

In 1985 the group began to work under the direction of J Katreniak, with Mária Kočišová-Palasthyová and Marián Čupka responsible for choreographies. The dance component reached a significantly higher level and we can say that as soon as the group was joined by these people it became livelier, showing after a short time what it would be like in the future. In the school year 1989-90 Roman Ruttkay took control of the ensemble and in the school year 1990-91 Eleonóra Trunečková became itsleader.

In 1991-92 the group was once more joined by Marián Čupka, who later became its artistic director. Under his direction and with his choreography the group attained its greatest success when in 1992 when it won the Academic Nitra Laureate. In 1994 Martin Kolenička became the administrative director of the ensemble and when Marian Čupka left in 1995 the ensemble was led artistically by Katarína Onofrejová and Ester Žáková. After this temporary period in 1995-96 the management of the group became more stable. In 1996 Dr Ján Macejka became the organisational leader and in 1997 Miroslav Sitár was appointed as artistic director. Sitár's arrivel brought significant change and the artistic level of the ensemble was improved. In this period the ensemble won its second major award, the Gold Medal of Matej Bel University on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its establishment. The trend of improvement of the work of the ensemble continued up to 2002 when Miroslav Sitár left and the artistic direction was once more placed in the hands of Marián Čupka.

The ensemble's female singing group originated in the school year 1977-78 under the leadership of Jozef Pantlík, operating initially as a small vocal singing group which helped the dancers by singing. Later the group also presented solo performances in its own right, singing mainly songs from the Horehronie and Detva regions. Later, under the direction of Dr Dagmar Michalíková, the group expanded its repertoire to include songs from other Slovak regions. The aim was, among other things, to use the group not only in breaks when dancers changed their costumes but to make their performances a valuable experience in their own right. The management of this component was in hands of Kamila Ulmanová, Ingrid Zibrínová, Denisa Zambojová and Ľubica Horňáčková. In 1999 Peter Schneider, a member of the State Opera, Banská Bystrica, co-operated with these singers.

The Folk music group began working under the direction of E Gábor, drawing its members from the Department of Music Education. From 1965 to 1978 the leading figure in the folk music group was Vladimír Gajdoš, under whose baton the group gave a lot of performances both at home and abroad. He was succeeded by Alexander Melicher, and subsequently by Vladimir Juráš. From the school year 1984-85 Igor Gašpar, who taught at the Department of Music, began leading the group, followed from 1991-1994 by Adriana Valášková. Since that time the group has been led by Martin Sliva andy Rastislav Miklošík.

The male vocal group is much younger than the female group. It was established on the initiative of Teodor Duchovič and initially worked under the direction of J Katreniak, but from the school year 1989-90 it was led by the singer Rastislav Dudáš. Through his influence, the male vocal group was fully integrated into the programme of the whole ensemble.

Being a university ensemble, the membership of MLADOSŤ varies evey 4 to 5 years. After graduation students finish their active work in the ensemble and thus several generations of folkloric enthusiasts are created in a short period of time. They become founders of children's folkloric ensembles and organisers of various cultural events. Despite these annual changes in membership, the quality of the ensemble continues to grow. Its members' enthusiasm has always been and will stay the ensemble's driving force.