I was sad to hear the news on late Friday night that Ladislav Kubík had passed away. Ladia was my composition teacher, who became my mentor and friend during my time as a graduate student at Florida State University in the early 90s. There have been many wonderful tributes to him over the weekend; it seems he hasn’t changed at all during the 26 years since I began my studies with him.
There are three short things I would like to share:
- My lessons with Ladia were more philosophical than technical in nature, which was exactly what I needed at the time. He could be simultaneously profound and funny, but always with a directed purpose.
- A bunch of us took Ladia out for sushi once. As soon as we sat down, he ate a spoonful of Wasabi. (Seriously, a big, like, teaspoonful.) We all stared at him in disbelief as his forehead and eyes remained dry. “What?” he asked. “Don’t you know we have horseradish in Prague, too?”
- This one is a link to a recording, which appears to be out of print, of my favorite work of his. I remember when he composed his Concerto for Flute and Percussion Ensemble “The Late Afternoon of a Faun” in the Fall of 1992, he generously shared his work-in-progress with me on several occasions while I was working on a large chamber work of my own. I loved the way he developed the simplest material – so naturally, so seemingly freely, so impeccably timed.
I regret we hadn’t been closer, Ladia, during the past 12 years or so when I last saw you. But I look forward to further passing your lessons on to my own students, and continuing to compose with your ever-present guidance.