Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Ján Vladimír Michalko


* 1951

He studied at the Conservatory in Bratislava (under Irma Skuhrová), and at the Academy of Performing Arts (Ferdinand Klinda). At the same time, he studied theology at the Department of Evangelical Theology at Comenius University in Bratislava. He perfected his music studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich (Karl Richter), in Weimar (Johann Ernst Köhler), under Anton Heiller in Haarlem, Holland (the works of J. S. Bach), and Louis Toebosch (improvisation), while at the Summer Academy in Saint Maxime, France, he refined his performances of compositions by ancient and Romanticist French masters (under André Striker and André Isoir).

Michalko is one of Slovakia's foremost musicians, with a wide range of concert activities.He participated in the projects aimed at presenting the complete organ works of both Olivier Messiaen and César Franck in Bratislava. He has performed premieres of prominent compositions for the organ (the full-length opus of the Czech composer Petr Eben, Job for Organ, which was a Slovak premiere, and the world premiere of Roman Berger's four-part work Exodus). The numerous works of young, contemporary Slovak composers form an indelible part of his wide-ranging repertoire, many of which he has premiered, and were even dedicated to him. As a soloist, he has performed with a number of ensembles in Slovakia, and has entered into close partnerships with leading domestic instrumentalists and vocalists. He regularly plays concerts at music centres in continental Europe, Great Britain, and the USA. Moreover, he is also well-known as an excellent improviser.

Since 1980, Ján V. Michalko has worked as a pedagogue at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where from 2000 to 2007, he has headed the Faculty of Music and Dance, together with the department of religious music. He also works as a scriptwriter and composer of organ music for plays, as well as feature and documentary films.

For his abundant concert and recording activities, as well as for promotion and excellent performance of the works of Slovak composers he was awarded by The Music Fund in 1988 and 1989.