Iva Bittová

Czech avant-garde violinist, singer, and composer

About the Residency

Iva Bittová performs the US premiere of her album Zvon with the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) and guests Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass; Phil Sargent, guitar; Austin McMahon, drums; and Venkatesh Sivaraman, piano. Evan Ziporyn, faculty director of CAST and professor of Music and Theater Arts, conducts the opening concert of MITSO’s season, which is part of the 2019–20 MIT Sounding series, an annual concert series curated by Ziporyn and presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and MIT Music and Theater Arts.

In April 2016, as part of EVIYAN (a trio with Gyan Riley and Evan Ziporyn), Bittová presented “Exploring Improsition—the melding of improvisation and composition.” They were joined in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium by the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, led by Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director, members of the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble and special guest Ricky Richardson ’12. Included were world premieres of arrangements of EVIYAN compositions by Jamshied Sharifi ’83 and arrangements by Richard Oates ’18 and Garrett Parrish ’17 of compositions by Kurt Rosenwinkle and Leslie Bricusse. Additional music by Thad Jones, Bob Mintzer, Cole Porter, and Hermeto Pascoal (in honor of his 80th birthday) was performed.

Public Events

Past Events

The Heart is a Bell: Iva Bittová with the MIT Symphony Orchestra
October 10, 2019 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Iva Bittová performs with the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) as part of the 2019–20 MIT Sounding series. MITSO Guest Conductor, Evan Ziporyn

Vítězslava Kaprálová, Suita Rustica
Evan Ziporyn, Frog’s Eye
Iva Bittová, Zvon (US Premiere)
with Iva Bittová, solo voice; and guests Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass; Phil Sargent, guitar; Austin McMahon, drums; and Venkatesh Sivaraman, piano.

Composed over 75 years apart, Kaprálová’s Suita Rustica and Bittová‘s Zvon pull from their parallel yet distinct musical and cultural backgrounds to create orchestral tapestries merging Czech folk art with urbane modernity. Together they exemplify the ongoing ways in which composition can fiercely assert identity and difference.

Collaborators at MIT

MIT Symphony Orchestra

Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Professor of Music at MIT and Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST)


Iva Bittová was born in 1958 in Bruntál in northern Moravia, Czechoslovakia, located in the present-day Czech Republic.

Bittová was immersed in a musical environment from a young age, highly influenced along with her sisters by their father’s ability to pick up and play almost any instrument in both classical and folk styles. Bittová graduated from the Music Conservatory in Brno with a degree in drama and music, and rekindled an adolescent interest in playing the violin while she was working full time in theater.

In 1982, Bittová initiated her career as an instrumentalist and composer by studying with Professor Rudolf Šťastný, the primarius (first violin) of the Moravian String Quartet. The violin has been her passion and the most inspiring musical instrument in her professional life ever since.

After living in the countryside near Brno for 25 years, Bittová relocated to the United States in 2007, settling in upstate New York with her youngest son. She studied at the Academy of Ancient Music/Musicology of Masaryk University in Brno, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2015 and her master’s degree in 2018.

More at the artist’s website: Iva Bittová

In the Media

“Iva Bittová is an extraordinary artist. Raw and refined, passionate and contained, she has the soul of a gypsy, the voice of a troubadour, and the mind of a genius.”

– NPR/All Things Considered

“Ms. Bittová is a true cosmopolitan, but she remains grounded in local expressions, and her own physicality. She takes on the role of the singer as town crier whose voice animates the old myths and current news. Ms. Bittová’s town is herself, ruled by the rhythms of sexuality, the flights of her imagination, and the realities of modern social life.”

The New York Times

“… an innovative artist who shows how even one small body can transform a world of noise into stunning music.”

Los Angeles Times

New York Magazine: Joyful Noise

The Brooklyn Rail: The Purest One: Iva Bittová with the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Chronogram: Iva Bittová: A Voice in the Wilderness

All About Jazz: George Mraz / Iva Bittová: Moravian Gems