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Václav SMETÁČEK

(*30. 6. 1906 Brno — †18. 2. 1986 Prague)

Czech conductor, oboist and composer

He studied at the Conservatory in Prague among others with Jaroslav Křička among others, conducting with Metod Doležil and Pavel Dědeček, musicology, aesthetics, and philosophy at the Charles University in Prague (he received his PhDr. in 1933). He was the founder and member of the Prague Wind Quintet (1928-56), with whom he performed, composed and arranged compositions for it. From 1930 to 1933, he was a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, from 1934 to 1943, he worked in the Czech Radio as conductor and editor, between 1942 and 1971 he was the chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and later a guest conductor. From 1945, he was a pedagogue at the Prague Conservatory and Academy of Performing Arts. As a conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra he improved significantly the quality of this orchestra. He enlarged its repertoire especially with the music of 20th Century and larger vocal symphonic works (Rejcha, Mozart, Cherubini, Dvořák, Foerster, Martinů, Orff, Kabeláč, Luboš Fišer). From 1938, he performed abroad, and with the Prague Symphony Orchestra for first time in 1957. He was invited later to the many important European and overseas music centres. He primarily devoted himself to the concert music, but he also studied operas (i.e. in 1958 in Buenos Aires Smetana´s The Bartered Bride, Janáček´s Kaťa Kabanová, in 1967 Musorgski´s Boris Godunov, Shostakowich´s Katerina Ismailova; 1966 in Teatro La Scala Janáček´s From the Death House and many other works). He recorded many musical pieces (especially for the Supraphon label), and he also devoted himself to the journalism. As a conductor, he was pragmatic, ready and versatile. He was very good sense of the coordination of soloist and orchestra. He had a very good sense of coordination for solo performers and orchestras. He received many awards.