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Vojtěch Spurný – Conductor

Vojtěch Spurný He was born in 1964. he is one of the most all-around Czech musicians of his generation. He obtained the music education basics in his family environment. Then he was enrolled to study at the Prague conservatory, in the flute class of František Malotín and piano-class of Ilja Hurník. Simultaneously, he had consultations with Ludmila Šimková and he paid intensive attention to chamber playing in the Brass Quintet 64. In 1986, he started to study at the Academy of Music Arts in Prague. Initially, he studied opera direction in the class of Ladislav Štros, then conducting at Radomil Eliška, Jiří Chvála, Eduard Fišer and František Vajnar and finally cembalo, in the class of Zuzana Růžičková. . Simultaneously, the attended the lessons of dramatic arts and spoken word in the class of Vítězslava Waldová – Fryntová at People´s Conservatory. After a short study stay, he started to study at the Hoogeschool de Kunsten Utrecht in 1994-96, where he – under management of Siebe Henstry – studied cembalo and historically instructed interpretation of old music.

He graduated by a solo prestige diploma “Vitvoerend musicus” and he continued to extend his education in the field of old music through master courses at Johann Sonnleitner (Festwochen der alte Musik Innsbruk), Helmut Rilling (Bachakademie Stuttgart) and Kenneth Gilbert.

Vojtěch Spurný started his first engagement as soon as in 1985, in the course of his studies and it was in Chamber Opera Prague. Then, there followed the National Theatre in Prague, where he worked in the position of an assistant conductor and assistant stage manager by 1994.

He co-operated e.g. with David Radok on Mozart staging (Don Giovanni – festive opening of Stavovské Theatre in 1991, Magic Flute in 1993 – he participated in development of Czech text version) and with conductor Bohumil Gregor on Janáček´s operas (Káťa Kabanová, Věc Makropulos).

His conducting debut in professional opera stage was the performance of Smetana´s Sold Bride when the National Theatre group appeared on our in Bratislava.

In the time of his studies, Spurný started to co-operate with Czech symphonic and chamber orchestras.

The repertoire presented by him covers a really wide span from Baroque music up to the music of 20th century, while he aims at standard works of classicism and romanticism authors (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Čajkovskij, Liszt, Smetana, Dvořák, Mahler).

Since 1999, Spurný co-operates on permanent basis with Czech Chamber Philharmonics and since 2003 he is the Chief Conductor of the Philharmonics. His programme with this body aims mainly at Baroque and Classicism music with special attention paid to Czech authors (Brixi, Linek, Dušek, Vaňhal, Rejcha, Vranický and others).

Together with his conducting activities, Spurný successfully started – just in the time of his university studies – his engagement in opera production, based on his music education and opera engagement.

In 1988 and 1990 he staged the short works of Bohuslav Martinů, in 1990 Mozart´s Figaro Wedding and in 1991 the world premiere of the Barber of Sevilla by Bedřich Ludvík Benda. It was the first time when he inter-connected the professions of a stage manager and conductor.

For the festival Baroque Castle Summer in Valtice in 1992, he developed Lortzing´s Opera Rehearsal that was a topic for TV processing for the Czech Television.

In 2000, the anniversary year of opera, he prepared the Czech premiere of the first preserved opera Euridice by Jocop Peri in the premises of the historical castle theatre in Litomyšl, within the scope of the Smetana´s Litomyš festival.

The first presentation of Vojtěch Spurný abroad was in the position of an opera conductor. In the course of the season 1996 – 97, he accepted the offer of the Göteborg Opera and worked up Rossini´s Way to Reims, appointed by critics to be one of the best premieres of recent 20 years.

In 1998, he conducted the music preparation and work up of Gluck´s Alcesta for Arnold Östman in Castle Theatre, Drottingholm. In the course of the season 2000 – 01, he was invited again by the Göteborg Opera management to work up Rossini´s Barber of Sevilla, cordially accepted by the publics and by critics. In 2002, he presented to the Norwegian publics by the Scandinavian premiere of opera news Circus Terra by Trygre Madsen in the Norwegian Opera, Oslo.

Permanent co-operation with the Czech Chamber Philharmonics brought him to concert stages in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece.

In 1999 – 2004, Vojtěch Spurný was a stable conductor of the State Opera, Prague.

In 2002 – 2003, he executed the duties of an art director and nowadays, he is the stable guest conductor in the theatre. In the course of his activities in the theatre, he worked up or re-worked 8 opera titles, some of them in Czech or world premieres (Rossini - Turk in Italy, Mozart - Cosi fan tutte, Zemlinsky - Es war einmal, Martinů – Soldier and Dancer, Mozart -Don Giovanni, Gazzaniga, Madsen - Circus Terra, Joplin - Treemonisha).

Mainly the presentation of Joplin´s opera became an important event of Prague opera season 2002-03 and it was really appreciated by national and international critics.

An independent chapter in art activities of Vojtěch Spurný represents old music, respectively historically instructed interpretation of Baroque and Classicism music. Spurný is the founder and art director of the ensemble of Baroque music instruments MUSICA SALUTARIS, frequently participating in important festivals of old music and presenting Czech premieres of unknown oratory, cantata and opera works, mainly from the Italian Baroque era. Significant attention evoked for example presentation of an oratory Agar ed Ismaele Esiliati by A. Scarlatti at the festival „Old Testament in Art“ (Prague 1995) or - 3 years later –the Czech premiere of the oratory Giuditta by the same author, as well as oratories by Luigi Rossi and Giacommo Carissimi at the festival Spring Music Feasts (Prague 1999).

In 1998, Spurný and the Musica Salutaris ensemble together with the stage manager A. Pitínský, developed a remarkable staging of Purcell´ opera Dido and Aeneas in Plzen Opera, declared by professional critics to be the staging of the year 1998. Another similar event was the Czech premiere of the first preserved opera Euridice by Jacopo Peri, staged and studied directly in the historic castle theatre in Litomyšl (year 2000).

At the present time, Spurný together with the Musica Solutaris ensemble, pay attention to a long-term project – the realisation of a complete recording of cantata cycle Harmonischer Gottendienst by Georg Philipp Telemann for the Czech Radio.

Vojtěch Spurný also intensively attends to concert activities, not only as a historic keyboard instruments player (as a cembalo player he successfully participated in interntional competitions in Prague and Bruggy), but also as quarter-tone piano player.

In his concert repertoire, we can find representatives of all and any important piano and cembalo literature (Scarlatti, Handel, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, music of French clavecinists, English virginalists and Czech classics).

His recording of the „Masters of Czech Baroque and Classicism“ (with pieces by Brixi, Link, Koželuh and Rejcha) for BMG Czech Republic, where he conducts – while playing the cemblo – the Czech Chamber Philharmonics, was nominated to the prize of the magazine Harmonie for the year 2003 – prize for recording of the year in the field of classic music from the publishing house – national provenience.

Then there follows another CD with the Czech Chamber Philharmonics with works of Brixi, Dušek, Vaňhal and Vranický.

Vojtěch Spurný also pays attention to pedagogic works – he is an external pedagogue of the Prague Academy of Music Arts (cembalo department) for the parts of general bass, interpretation of Baroque music, cembalo literature and chamber music. Since 1991, he also annually works on master courses of Ticino Musica in Switzerland (cembalo, piano co-operation, opera course, opera stadium management). In 2004, he participated as a piano player and together with Dagmar Pecková, in master courses within Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival.