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Zbyněk VOSTŘÁK

(*10. 6. 1920 Prague — †4. 8. 1985 Strakonice)

Czech composer and conductor

He studied conducting at the Conservatory in Prague with Pavel Dědeček, composition privately with Rudolf Karel (after whose death in 1948, he finished his fairy opera The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather Wiseacre). From 1943 to 1945 he was a member of the Prague Radio Orchestra, from 1945 to 1948 he was a pedagogue of the Prague Conservatory, from 1959 to 1960 he worked as a conductor in the Opera in Ústí nad Labem, from 1963 to 1973 he was the artistic chief of the ensemble Musica viva pragensis, which was specialised in the contemporary music. He wrote 4 ballets and successful operas The Four-Cornered Hat after Václav Kliment Klicpera (1949), The Miners of Kutná Hora on the work by J. K. Tyl (1955), Prague Nocturne (1960) and The Broken Jug (1963, awarded by UNESCO) for the radio on the work by Kleist for radio. In 1960´s he was inspired by New Music (Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage) and he became one of most famous representative of the Czech music avant-garde, primarily due to his original method and philosophical inspiration. He composed dodecaphony, serial and electronic music (Cantata with the text of Franz Kafka for choir, wind ensemble and percussion (1964), Birth of the Moon for an orchestra (1966), Affetti, Improvisazione per sette strumenti (1967), Gentle Belts which Bind for trumpet and magnetic tape (1977), Cathedrale for the orchestra (1979), Sinfonia per orchestra e coro (1983).