Peter Machajdík's works, often considered as the counterpoint to the violence, intolerance, racism and greed of our time, are marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental colour and texture. Using traditional tonal and modal techniques, he creates a unique and delicate tapestry of dramatic and emotional textures. Also elements such as controlled use of dissonance, sustained sonorities, inconspicuous melodic motion and frequent use of minor tonalities apply to his compositional style. He often chooses to compose his works in solitary places. Most of his works have a hypnotic character. Since the mid-2000s, Machajdík's easily-recognisable, sparsely-coloured musical language has redefined some of the forms of contemporary and history music.
Sounding off in the space of individually vibrating tones has, in recent years, become an inseparable characteristic of most of Peter Machajdík's musical compositions. This way, their emotional basis has been emphasized. The length of each work thus ceases to be reliant on the number of beats, or the prescribed tempo. Instead, it acquires a dimension dictated by the acoustical parameters of the given space in which it is performed, and by the emotional perception of sound by the performers. The illusive silences play an equal, if not more important, role in the existence of the compositions performed on musical instruments. They are the components of waves, breeze, and rays. They enlighten the space of sonic expressions which stands behind the very compositions. The sounding off in them, however, never really needs to sound off. It simply sounds off alongside the space.
There are only a few composers, whose collaborators come from such diverse corners of music that most of them have never heard of each other. Works by Slovak composer Peter Machajdík* have regularly been performed by interpreters of classical music, progressive rock, free improvisation, and sonic art. Such great musicians as harpists Floraleda Sacchi and Klára Bábel, award-winning clarinetist Guido Arbonelli, harpsichordist Elina Mustonen, organist Carson Cooman, flautist Rebecca Jeffreys, violinist Milan Paľa, cimbalom virtuoso Enikö Ginzery, singer Jon Anderson (the voice of Grammy-winning band YES), the Prague-based Agon Orchestra, or cellists Piero Salvatori, Jozef Lupták and Darry Dolezal can be heard in the recordings of Machajdík's music from the last decade.
Born and raised in Bratislava into a musical family, Machajdík played the piano and guitar, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. He began touring with the Transmusic Comp. in 1988, and has also toured and worked with musicians such as the extreme vocalist and drummer David Moss, violinists Malcolm Goldstein and Jon Rose, composer Nicolas Collins, composer and director Heiner Goebbels, and saxophonists Dietmar Diesner and Luc Houtkamp. He was also a correspondent for Keyboard Magazine, where he wrote on modernist and experimentalist music from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and the GDR.
Machajdík has been a freelance composer, sound and visual artist since 1992. He has received numerous commissions and awards from, among others, the Kulturfonds Foundation, Russolo-Pratella Foundation, LakeComo Festival, Melos - Ethos Festival, International Visegrad Fund, Slovak Music Fund, Czech Radio, German Accordion Society, Slovak Music Bridge, and Bratislava Music Festival. In 1992 he was invited to live and work in Berlin as a guest of the prestigious DAAD Künstlerprogramm, and became an active participant in European musical life. He was also the Composer in Residence at Schloss Wiepersdorf, Germany, at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, Germany, at Künstlerhaus Lukas in Ahrenshoop on the German Baltic coast, and in Judenburg, Austria. In 2006 he was awarded the Jan Levoslav Bella Prize in Slovakia. He has also been active in the field of visual arts and created a number of graphic scores that have been exhibited and performed worldwide. Peter Machajdík is currently Visiting Professor for sound art at the Faculty of Arts in Košice. Some of his paintings and drawings can be seen online.
Early 1990s, Machajdík attended composition courses in Amsterdam, The Hague and Graz led by composers such as Vinko Globokar, Dick Raaymakers, Clarence Barlow and Konrad Boehmer. He first became internationally recognised after the success of his multi media work Intimate Music featuring one of the most innovative vocalists / percussionists David Moss and dancer / performer Dorothea Rust at Inventionen '94 in Berlin. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world, placing him in the front rank of today’s composers. Machajdík is one of the most frequently programmed European living composers. Some of the venues where his music has received its first performances include Konzerthaus Berlin, Tenri Cultural Institute New York, Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Konzerthaus Detmold, Adolphus Busch Hall Cambridge (MA), Slovak Philharmonic Hall Bratislava, De IJsbreker in Amsterdam, Lviv Philharmonic, Sala Filarmonica in Trento, and the Art Gallery of WTC in The Hague. Machajdík's works have been commissioned and performed by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the I.J.Padarewski State Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Košice, Camerata Europea, Agon Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Lublin Philharmonic, the Virtuosi Lviv Chamber Orchestra, Ave Chamber Choir under Jerica Gregorc Bukovec, and many others. Conductors who have championed his work include Anu Tali, Benjamin Bayl, Florian Ludwig, Miran Vaupotić, Paweł Przytocki, Oliver Kentish, Paweł Osuchowski, Maria Makraki, Gum Nanse (금난새), Peter Breiner, Peter Vrábel, Ivan Marković, Marián Lejava, Petr Kofroň, Dominika Kawiorska, Ondřej Kukal, Aleksander Gref and Karol Kevický. Performers of Machajdík's music have also included artists such as organists Carson Cooman, David di Fiore and Olena Matselyukh, harpists Floraleda Sacchi, Klára Bábel, Kristan Toczko, Ulrike Mattanovich and Adriana Antalová, clarinetists Martin Adámek and Guido Arbonelli, flautists Yeeun Kim (김예은), Alex Griffiths, Rebecca Jeffreys, Eva Hrušková and Natalia Pshenichnikova, Cluster Ensemble, Quasars Ensemble, harpsichordists Elina Mustonen, Sonia Lee and Faythe Vollrath, violists Martin Ruman and Saša Mirković with his Ensemble Metamorphosis, Neo Quartet, Trio Contraste, Ensemble Inn, Mucha Quartet, ARTE Quartett, the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, AccoDuo, Veni Ensemble, cellists Piero Salvatori, John Alex Heley, Darry Dolezal, Jozef Lupták, Jan Bogdan and Eugen Prochác, oboe player Piet Van Bockstal, Czechoslovak Chamber Duo, Duo Ahlert & Schwab, accordionists Boris Lenko, Peter Katina, Grzegorz Palus, Alena Budziňáková, Ghenadie Rotari and Rocco Anthony Jerry, violinist Milan Paľa, soprano Nao Higano「日向野 菜生」, guitarists Ondrej Veselý and Martin Krajčo, trumpet player Ivano Ascari, cimbalom player Enikő Ginzery, pianists Jordana Palovičová, József Balog, Magdaléna Bajuszová, Katarzyna Musiał, Mayuko Kida Takine 「瀧根真優子」, Melaniia Makarevych, Olga Striletska, Juan Maria Solare and Zuzana Manera Biščáková, saxophonist Christian Segmehl, Zwiebel Quartet and Slovenian Clarinet Quartet.
Works composed by Peter Machajdík have been heard at festivals and series such as New Work Festival in Calgary, Early Music Festival in Boston,Hörgängeat the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Nuovi Spazi Musicali in Rome, LakeComo Festival, Young Euro Classic in Berlin, Bolzano Festival 2016, Ostrava Days 2015, Echos Festival, Melos-Ethos in Bratislava, 5 Giornate per la Nuova Musica in Milano, Contrasts in Lviv, Musica Nova in Sofia, Audio Art Festival in Cracow, Review of Composers in Belgrade, Days And Nights Of New Music in Odessa, as well as in a wide variety of venues such as Logos Foundation in Ghent, Institut Unzeit in Berlin, Kunstverein Wien in Vienna, Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Kolarac in Belgrade, Bremer Kunstfrühling, Bremen, and many more. Machajdík's chamber music has also been performed in China, Brazil, Mexico, Finland, Serbia, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Montenegro, Turkey, Portugal, Uruguay, Egypt, Kenya, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and the United Arab Emirates.
Machajdík has also written extensively for young and amateur musicians: to date he has written six pieces for the Rajec Spring Music Festival as well as large scale works for various international projects. He has collaborated and worked with young musicians and youth orchestras such as the International Symphony School Orchestra COMENIUS, the Slovak Youth Orchestra, the Symhony Orchestra of the Slovak Music Society, flutists Adam Nanasi and Laura Nagyova, saxophonist Natalia Hatalova, guitarist Lukas Satura, and others. They have performed his music in Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Peter Machajdík was co-founder of the Transmusic Comp. that have championed mixed-media, free improvisation, electronic music and performance work since 1990s. Transmusic Comp. have performed in Austria, Germany, Hungary, in the Czech and Slovak Republics. His interest in other performing arts and in collaborations led him to compose numerous works for film, theatre, modern dance companies and visual artists around the world. He also contributed music to the successful and popular documentaries of Tomáš Hulík.
Peter Machajdík has lectured on new music, led workshops, and curated festivals of contemporary music and sound art. His music has been broadcast internationally on BBC Radio 3, WNYC, RAI, ABC Classic FM, ORF, WPRB, Concertzender, Deutschlandradio, Lyric RTE FM, Klassikaraadio, Czech Radio, RTP Antena 2 Portugal, IBA Israel, Slovak Radio, Radio Beograd 3, and many others. Recordings of his music have been released by Decca/Universal, Albany Records, Amadeus Arte, Musica slovaca, Fuga, Czech Radio, ReR Megacorp, Azyl Music, Pavlik Records, Hevhetia, Guerilla Records, and Slovak Music Bridge labels.
In addition to his work as a composer, Peter Machajdík is a passionate advocate of new music. Since 2012, he has been Artistic Advisor and Trustee for the Sound City Days festival in Košice and the Music at Fulla concert series, and he is a founding member of Simach Art Foundation that has organised concert series of contemporary music in Central Europe.
Machajdík lives both in Berlin and in a little town situated in a valley, surrounded by lofty hills.