Daniel Forró - born as Karel Horký on 19.2.1958 in Jihlava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), M.A., Ph.D. He's been living in Jihlava until 1973, then he continued his study and has been living in Brno for the next 30 years until September 2003, when he moved to Japan.
1965-73 - piano, flute and music theory, Art School, Jihlava
1973-79 - flute, pipe organ, music theory, composition, State Conservatory, Brno. He finished his studies cum laude by performing J. Zimmer's Concerto, J. S. Bach's Passacaglia C minor on pipe organ and dissertation work on "Electronics & Sound".
1975-79 - composition privately with Alois Pinos
1979-86 - with him at JAMU - Janacek's Academy of Music, Brno, M.A. He finished study cum laude with "Concerto for synthesizers, computer and large orchestra" (25', he performed solo part himself) and thesis "Electronics & Music" (over 200 pages - later used as a base for his expert books).
1982 - Summer Composition Master Class at Academia Chigiana in Sienna, Italy, with Franco Donatoni
1996-99 - postgradual study of "Theory of music composition" at JAMU, Ph.D. Another Ph.D. study at Department of Musicology at Masaryk University was not finished due moving to Japan.
Daniel Forro started to compose in the age of 10, has been regularly composing since his 14 and has created more thousand works in various music genres. In his autonome New Music works he often combines acoustic and electronic instruments and in each work he tries to use different principles and ideas, very often based on extra-musical material, complex mathematical structures or improvisation. He considers polystylistic electro-acoustic, computer and microtonal music to be his main stream. Since 1985 he has been a pioneer in the use of MIDI and computers in the New music in former Czechoslovakia.
He wrote chansons, theatre, cabaret, pop, rock, folk, jazz and other songs (over 550 pieces), jazz, pop, rock and Latin works. He did a good number of functional music - 19 musicals and over 200 items of incidental music for theatre, ballet, TV and radio artistic or documentary programs, film, video, sports, groups of historical dancing and fencing, happenings and many other. He has authored Brno municipal fanfares. He is able to write music in the styles of composers of the past centuries as well as jazz, rock, pop, Latin, ethnic, fusion, microtonal, electronic, minimal and other music. He believes that only a composer of such wide and deep knowledge and ability deserves to be called "composer". He is both experimental and synthetic type of composer - he did experimental and unusual music, but he is able to write quite eclectically in historical or ethnic styles. He uses complex constructions as well as total improvisation. All his creative life he tries to find some balance between these extreme approaches and to make an organic synthesis by connecting the elements of the European music since the ancient times until now (time domain) with music from all the world (artificial or ethnic, space domain) - in full accordance with his own term "musical cosmopolitanism". Being admirer of Zen Buddhism he believes time and space are united, so for him is not difficult to connect the most distant things. He considers many composers of past to be his colleagues and friends like recently living persons.
Among D. Forro's other musical activities should be mentioned giving concerts on keyboards and other instruments since his 9 in the field of classical music and since about his 17 in other music styles (pop, rock, jazz, ethnic music, electronic music). He was a member of top Czech rock groups PROGRES 2 (compositional and arranging cooperation on the very first Czech rock opera "Dialogue with Space") and BRONZ - 1977-84, since 1983 he started his solo electronic project FORROTRONICS, since 1997 also with Brno percussion ensemble DAMA DAMA. During his concert carrier in Czechoslovakia (1967-2003) he cooperated with many artists, groups and orchestras. He is well known as an excellent creative improviser in any music style and incredible prima-vista player able to play on the first sight even rather difficult classical or contemporary music pieces in standard music notation or some unusual graphical notation as well as Baroque numbered bass or jazz leadsheets. Big help here is for him a deep knowledge of music theory and history, excellent playing skills, long-year experience in many styles, and perfect pitch.
After moving to Japan in 2003 he continues successfully his concert carrier performing on different instruments and in many music styles. Besides his solo performing on piano, pipe organ, reed organ, Hammond organ, harpsichord and synthesizers he often cooperates with the other artists.
Forro is an exceptional and outstanding synthesizer virtuoso, he always tried to use synthesizer as a real and expressive instrument with its own distinct character and identity. Besides his unique ability to imitate any acoustic instrument with all its nuances, articulation, voicing, expression and stylistic aspect, Forro as a player, composer and arranger can use creatively any electronic sound, be it simple old analog or very complex experimental digital one. Great advantage here is his deep knowledge of music theory and programming the synthesizers as well as many years of practical performing experience in many music styles. He is extraordinary and charismatic performer with astonishing power and drive, in narrow connection and symbiosis with his composing and arranging activities.
In this connection it should be mentioned that thanks to his cooperation with Yamaha as a Product Specialist (1992-2002) Forro was one of the first musician in the world using physical modeling synthesizers VL1 (since 1994 until now - he is a proud owner of 3 pieces) and polyphonic VP1 - with a latter one he recorded a double CD of his improvisations in 1997 (VP1 Impressions), probably as the only musician in the world as this very special instrument exists only in few pieces.
Recording artist and arranger
Forro really loves to work in his studio, which he has been building since 1982 and where he recorded over 600 of his own pieces besides arranging and producing many other works of contemporary and historical composers. Despite the fact he had to sell a lot of rare instruments from his huge collection before moving to Japan still there's a significant number of equipment for creative work (actual list of gear you can find below).
- Teaching work - private teaching since many years, courses at his own private school FORROTRONICS since 1990, teaching at Janacek's Academy of Music 1990-2003 (where he was a head of EA and Computer Music Department 1993-2003), post-gradual classes for music teachers 1993-1995, Summer Master Classes at JAMU 1996-2002, teacher at Summer Rock Academy 1998-2003. What he taught: all music theory, history, harmony, counterpoint, forms, analysis, solfeggio, composition, instrumentation, arranging, music styles, jazz, pop, rock, ethnic, minimal, microtonal music, creative improvisation, electronic and computer music theory, history, composition and production, computers in music - software, hardware, MIDI system, sound design, programming synthesizers, samplers and rhythmers, work in recording studio, playing all keyboard instruments, performing stylistics and many others...
It's a pity that after moving to Japan he couldn't find similar teaching position as before - his deep knowledge of music theory and practical experience in many music styles is not fully used.
- Expert and consulting work (1992-2002 narrow cooperation with Yamaha Europe as Product Specialist for synthesizers, keyboards, digital pianos, organs and other EMI, for studio, PA and music software for 22 countries, 2002-03 for KORG CZ and Technics). He did more hundreds public expert lectures, seminars, clinics, concerts, demonstrations at music fairs, in the shops, schools in about 10 European countries...
- Writer's activities (editor and main contributor of Czech magazine Muzikus 1991-2002 - more hundreds of educational articles and expert series on synthesizers, MIDI, music software, studio work, music stylistics, tests and reviews - thus he became "Doctor MIDI" by nickname, main guru and pope of MIDI and synthesizers in his language region - Czech countries and Slovakia. He published 10 expert books on MIDI, recording studio, computers and music, electronic musical instruments, and he prepared radio educational programs on the same theme.
- Interpreting, translating and teaching work in more languages (his native Czech, Slovak, Russian, Polish, English, German, Italian, Japanese...).
- Organisational work (founder and chairman of Society for Microtonal Music in 1995-2003, organizer of Festival of Microtonal Music, founder and owner of the private Museum of Electro-acoustic Instruments 1989-2003, founder and chairman of Society for Creative Music Improvisation 2001-2003, co-owner of the firm MUSITRONICA selling musical instruments 1997-2000).
Daniel Forro represents with his incredible wide range of interests, knowledge, experience and versatility a real musician of 21st century. His tolerant, kind and all-embracing attitude to the life, people and music is rather unusual and difficult to understand to many narrow-minded and conservative people or to the average musicians - he can compose and arrange music, perform on more instruments, improvise, record, program synthesizers, do scientific research, teach, write and talk about music... this all in many music styles, on more instruments (and in more languages). Such ability is not so often to see in one person. But he really considers only such wide, deep and serious attitude has sense and is always honest to himself, to the music art and to the public with his perfectionist's approach.
FORROTRONICS started in 1983 in difficult conditions - so called "real socialistic" Czechoslovakia. Culture was controlled by state, fortunately classical or folklore music were not so much under control with the exception of some church music. But rock music as an import from decadent imperialistic West was considered to be rather dangerous, one of the reasons why no Western rock stars and groups were officially invited to perform there. Leaders were aware that culture can be a powerful weapon. Also contemporary, New music, especially electronic, was suspicious. In those pre-Internet times behind the iron curtain was very difficult to get any information or to buy musical instruments from the West. Forrotronics was the only one experimental electronic music group doing regular live concerts even in such conditions despite the fact that Daniel Forro never cooperated with establishment. Partly thanks to the fact it was purely instrumental music, where only work titles could be problematic (but I had no reason to use some provocative titles), partly because the authorities didn't understand this music genre, were unsure how to take it, but finally considered it to be art music and didn't prohibited public performing, partly because lot of such concerts were done for very low payment or quite voluntarily, from pure enthusiasm. Also second half of 80ies was little bit more free in the field of art, according to the final and rather tired state of that establishment. But Daniel Forro and Forrotronics were never officially recognized and until 1989 (after change of political system) hadn't even theoretical chance to be broadcasted on TV or radio, or to publish CD's (unfortunately this was not so much different even AFTER 1989), nothing to say about possibility to make a living from it. His status was more like underground culture. Despite uneasy conditions there were over 180 concerts until 2003, often in less usual environment (planetarium, exhibition hall, gallery, historical object, castle court, church, synagogue, festivals etc.), often like half secret or hidden, often without any open official promotion, without payment or for very low payment not covering even the expenses for transport... Besides about 160 his own compositions Daniel Forro premiered 35 creations of other living composers and many works of 14th to 19th centuries in his electronic arrangement and realization.
15 years anniversary of the project was documented on CD sampler "Forrotronics - 15 years ", published in 1998 - in fact first solo CD of Daniel Forro. In the year of 20th anniversary all activities of FORROTRONICS in Czech Republic were closed and Daniel Forro moved to Japan, where he started from zero to establish new career as a composer, performing and recording artist. Tough task...
Yes, of course. Everywhere where possible and when I or somebody else organize it. I love it as much as my listeners do. There were many special moments for all of us.
Among D. Forro's other musical activities should be mentioned giving concerts on keyboards and other instruments since his 9 in the field of classical music and since about his 17 in the other musical styles (pop, rock, jazz, ethnic music, electronic music). As a keyboard player he was a member of top Czech rock groups PROGRES 2 (compositional and arranging cooperation on the very first Czech rock opera "Dialogue with Space") and BRONZ - 1977-84, since 1983 he performed solo as FORROTRONICS, since 1997 also sometimes with Brno percussion ensemble DAMA DAMA. During his concert carrier in Czechoslovakia (1967-2003) he cooperated with many other artists, groups and orchestras. He is well known as an excellent creative improviser in any music styles; and incredible prima-vista player able to play without any problem even rather difficult classical or contemporary music pieces in standard music notation or some unusual graphical notation on the first sight as well as Baroque numbered bass or jazz leadsheets full of chord signs. Big help here is for him a deep knowledge of music theory and history, excellent playing technique, long-year experience in many styles and perfect pitch.
After moving to Japan in 2003 Daniel Forro continues successfully in concert carrier performing on different instruments and in many music styles. Besides his solo performing on piano, pipe organ, reed organ, Hammond organ and synthesizers he cooperated with many other artists - instrumentalists, singers, choirs or chamber groups. He performs in concert halls, churches, temples and shrines, castles, restaurants and cafes, hotels, clubs, ceremonial halls, department stores, hospitals, old people homes, at open air concerts, festivals and matsuri... He likes to do educational and seasonal concerts in the schools and kindergartens. He is always open to any cooperation. Thanks to his life in Japan he started to study and play shakuhachi and koto.
Old liturgical music, like Gregorian Chant, Byzantinian Chant, Orthodox Chant, European classical music (since Medieval to Contemporary), experimental electronic music and musique concrete, microtonal music, minimal music, all world ethnic music and folklore, some elements of jazz, rock and pop culture.
G. de Machaut, Solage, Mattheo da Perugia, Trevor, G. Dufay, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, O. di Lasso, C. Monteverdi, H. Biber, H. Purcell, J.S. Bach, G. F. Handel, D. Scarlatti, J. Myslivecek, J. L. Dusik, W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, A. Rejcha, F. Chopin, F. Mendelssohn, F. Liszt, M. P. Musorgskij, C. Franck, E. Satie, C. Debussy, L. Janacek, A. N. Skriabin, S. Rachmaninoff, G. Mahler, M. Ravel, E. Schulhoff, B. Bartok, I. Stravinskij, G. Holst, A. Berg, O. Messiaen, A. Honegger, C. Orff, Ch. Ives, H. Partch, L. Bernstein, G. Ligeti, A. Part, S. Reich, K. Slavicky, M. Kabelac...
Beatles, Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd, Yes, Kansas, King Crimson, Collegium Musicum (Marian Varga), Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Dream Theater, Spyro Gyra, Steps Ahead, Weather Report, Jan Hammer, Vangelis, Kitaro, Tomita, W. Carlos, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Jimmy Smith, Casiopea and many others...
Actual list 2/2019:
Different flutes, lot of small drums and percussion, erhu, koto, 4 taishogoto, shamisen, sanshin, 2x Yamaha reed organ, accordion, Yamaha upright piano
custom-made 6-string bassguitar K+K with MIDI pick-up Yamaha B1D
custom-made 6-string fretless bassguitar K+K
bamboo electro-acoustic guitar Yamaha FGXB1
Yamaha E-guitar SG500B
Yamaha Electric Grand Piano CP80
Electromagnetic tonewheel organ:
Hammond CV (1945), M3 (1960)
Various electronic keyboard analog instruments
Yamaha B30R, YC45D with pedal unit
Hammond Commodore (Japan 1985)
Yamaha CP10, CP35
Formanta EMS1 (Soviet Union 1990)
Analog and A/D synthesizers
ARP Soloist Pro/DGX
Gakken Mini Theremin
2x Gakken SX-150 II
Kawai K3 (+ RAM card)
Korg EX800, MS20 Mini, Poly-800, Sigma, X911
Oberheim Matrix 6R
PPG Wave 2.2
Roland Jupiter 6, MKS70 + PG800, SH2000
Waldorf Pulse 2
Yamaha CS15D, 2x CS40m, SY1
Casio CZ1000, CZ3000
Clavia Nord Lead 2
Emu UltraProteus, Proteus 2000 (+ Pure Phatt card), Proteus Orchestra (+ World card)
Gakken Pocket Miku NSX39
2x Kawai K5000W (with ME1)
Korg 01R/W ProX, DSS1, MS2000, 2x Prophecy, WaveStation EX, WaveStation A/D
Kurzweil 1000PX Plus, 1000SX (both updated to Pro1 + 2), K250
4x M-audio Venom
Roland D110, JD800, 2x JD990, SC8820, VP770
Waldorf Blofeld keyboard, Blofeld desktop, 2x Streichfett
Yamaha DX5, 2x DX7 (SuperMax card), 2x DX7 II D, EOS B500, 2x EX5, EX5r, FS1r, Montage 7, MU2000EX (2x VL+AN plug-in card), S80 (VL+XG plug-ins), SY99, TG33, TG500, TG77, 2x TX802, 2x TX816, 2x TX81z, 2x V2, 4x V50, 2x VL1, 2x VL1m
Casio DG7, DG20
3x Akai S3000XL
Emu E4X, E6400 Ultra
2x Yamaha TX16W
Yamaha Clavinova P500
Korg CX3 V 2.0
Casio MT25, MT65
Yamaha PS3, PSR310, PSR9000 Pro (AN+DX plug-in cards)
2x Korg Electribe ER1 Mk II
Yamaha RX5, RM50
custom made tube Theremin
Suika ST40, ST50
CME WiDi Wireless MIDI (2 stations)
Emagic Unitor 8 Mk II
Encore Electronics Expressionist
Kenton Pro Solo
Korg MicroKey 61
Kurzweil ExpressionMate, MidiBoard
MOTU MIDI Express 128
Opcode Studio 128X, Studio 4, 2x Studio 5LX
2x Roland Super MPU64
2x Yamaha G10 + G10C, G50, KX76, KX88, MCS2, 2x MDF3, 2x MEP4, MFC10, 3x MJC8, 2x QX3, QX5FD, UX16, 2x UX256, WX5
Fostex Patchbay, PH50
Korg AD880, DA880, DL8000R, DVP1, 2x KaosPad KP2, Pandora PX4B
Roland Voice Processor VP70
TC Electronics Voice Prisma Helicon
Yamaha DG1000, DG Stomp, 2x FX900 + FC900, GC2020BII, PLS1, REV100, REV5
2x Korg SoundLink 168RC
Marantz PMD331 Pro
Sony TC-W490, 2x MD walkman
2x Tascam 244, CDRW900SL Pro, MD801P, LA40 II, LA80, LA80 II, DR05
Yamaha 01X, 3x AW4416, CDR1000, D24, 2x MD4S
Apple iMac, G4 Silver, G4 Mirror Drive Door, 3x various G4, iBook G3, MacBook 2008, iPod
Atari MEGA ST, 2x 1040 ST
ESCOM Paradigma Greymate (DOS, Windows 3.1)
ASUS notebook (Windows Vista XP SP3)
Sony Vaio subnotebook (Windows Vista XP Home)
Korg 1212 I/O, Oasys PCI
SCSI CD drives, MO drives, JAZ drives
USB CD/DVD drive, MO drives, FD drives...
NI Absynth 2
Avid Sibelius 6
Opcode Studio Vision Pro 4.5
MOTU Digital Performer 5, Ethno Instrument, Symphonic Instrument
TC Spark 2.8...
AKG C24, wireless headset C444
Panasonic stereo mic
Roland DR-HS5 headset
Sony stereo mic ECM909a
ART stereo DI box dPDB
2x Kawai MX-8SR
Leslie 760, Preamp IV
2x Roland MA-150U, M120, M16E, 2x M160
Yamaha CBX-S3, 2x DMP9-16, HS50m, 2x MSP5, 2x MSP10 + SW10, 3x MS60S, MV1602, MX12/4, RH40M, 2x RP112 + RP15W, YST-SW10
Small taishogoto combo
custom made speaker box for Theremin
Korg tuners MT1200, PB05
analog + digital multimeters
digital capacity meter
Hitachi + Iwatsu oscilloscopes
Kikusui function generator
I love my wife Chieko, our lovely children - daughter Karen-chan and son Saimon-kun!
I'm happy to be born as a musician - music is one of the best things in this imperfect world, real gift from gods! It brings only good feelings into the heart, harmony into the mind and positive vibrations into the body. Well done music brings order in chaos, consoles desperate souls and loads us with energy. Music has healing power.