• 1971 – 1975

    during his secondary school studies he was taking private piano lessons from Mária Masariková and composition lessons from Juraj Hatrík

  • 1975 – 1980

    studied composition with Ján Cikker at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava

  • 1980 – 1986

    worked as music director in the OPUS Publishing House

  • 1986

    founded the ensemble “Matthews”, later renamed “Maťkovia”

  • 1986 – 1999

    worked in SONICCA

  • 1987 – 1994

    worked as music director in Slovak Radio in Bratislava and was equally active as a member of ensembles “Veni Ensemble”, “Sleepy Motion” and “Vitebsk Broken”

  • 1999

    co-founded, together with Ľubo Burgr, Zuzana Piussi and Daniel Salontay, the band Dogma

  • 2000 – 2017

    employed at the Department of Documentation and Information of the Music Centre Slovakia

  • 2000

    together with Ľubo Burgr is the founder of the Association for Contemporary Opera

“The interest of Martin Burlas in musical art was from the very beginning one of duality. On the one hand, he was attracted to work and ideas of the musical avant garde, representing the forbidden fruit of a normalization period, and on the other hand he manifested the same strong affinity to the nonconformist concepts of the rock medium. Therefore, he studied composition devoted to written composed music and was equally devoted to studio work with sound or work with rock ensembles. The ideal of intrasigence and resistance to handed-down compositional methods and testimonies caused him to become the most radical representative of the emerging generation of composers in the 1980s (P. Breiner, V. Godár, J. Kolkovič, V. Kubička, I. Szeghy). A breakthrough to new poetics in Slovak music in particular brought about many of his compositions – the electroacoustic piece Hudba pre modrý dom / Music for the Blue House (1979), Plač stromov / Crying Trees (1980), Hudba pre Roberta Dupkalu / Music for Robert Dupkala (1981) and Sotto Voce for choir and orchestra (1982). In these compositions, in which the current criticism sees the primary manifestations of Western music (especially minimalistic music), was decided the basic orientation of his poetry, synthesizing musical artifact with a socio-critical challenge or cry. His music is associated with non-musical storyline, oriented to manifestations of social dehumanization (aggression, manipulation, disintegration, chaos, atrophy), attacking both man as well as his environment. With hindsight, it can be said that the above-mentioned compositions belonged to the first manifestations of so-called Music Ecology on a global scale.

Attacks by censors ultimately resulted in the prohibition of the performance of the opera Ružové kráľovstvo / Rose Kingdom (to this day unperformed), but did not lead Martin Burlas to creative isolation, instead orienting him to a prominent statement of his artistic outlook. He gradually ceased cooperation with official institutions and began working with live sound in his own experimental ensembles (Maťkovia, 1982-86; Ospalý pohyb / Sleepy Motion, 1988-96), which weren't only rock bands, but mainly compositional workshops, which subsequently inspired others in the late 1980s, leading to the formation of Daniel Matej's concept of VENI ensemble. A synthesis of Burlas's ideas and Matej's initiative in the latter half of 1990s finally resulted into mutual cooperation within VENI ensemble, Transmusic comp., Vitebsk Broken, Požoň Sentimental, VAPORI del CUORE, where several composers were formed (Daniel Matej, Mikuláš Škuta, Peter Zagar, Marek Piaček). At the same time Burlas also became a major figure in Slovak alternative rock, realizing his ideas mainly in studio compositions. So if Burlas in his main chamber and orchestral compositions apparently followed the trends of the current minimal music (Koľajnice bez vlakov / Rails without Trains, Predposledné leto / Penultimate summer, Decrescendo), environmental initiatives found more space in his studio compositions (Plač stromov / Crying Trees, Oasis, Kríž a kruh / Corr and Circle) and gradually led him to composing for non-standard groups (Simultaneous Quartet, “33”), employing elements of musical theater (Hexenprozesse, Z môjho života / From My Life, Súmrak bohov / Twilight of the Gods). His work has become a unique media of apocalyptic vision of today, threatening not only the man as an individual or as a biological species, but also the life itself on the planet."


(GODÁR, Vladimír: Martin Burlas. In: 100 slovenských skladateľov. Ed. Marián Jurík, Peter Zagar. Bratislava: Národné hudobné centrum, 1998, p. 63 – 64.)