Artistic directors, conductors, and radio playlist makers, love to acknowledge composer birthdays. In fact, we just discussed how significant birthdays can impact programming on a national level as orchestras include tribute concerts in their annual programming. Even as I write this I am reminded of the birthdays of Mozart and Schubert with special (belated) birthday tributes on my local classical music station. But let’s also take some time to remember the birthday, especially such a significant birthday, of a fabulous all-but-forgotten composer, Vítězslava Kaprálová, born January 24, 1915.
A celebrated Czech composer and conductor, her works are remembered by The Kapralova Society, but are rarely heard in today’s concert halls. Unlike so many other women, Kapralova’s works are far from being lost – they have continued to be published and are readily available and have been recorded often. Which makes it even more shameful that her body of work is still largely unfamiliar to today’s musicians and music enthusiasts. The Kapralova Society website includes a list of the events planned for her centenary year – there are fantastic tribute concerts in Czech Republic, as one would expect (a commemorative stamp has also been released in her home country to honor this significant year), as well as a week of concerts in September at the University of Michigan. However, and unsurprisingly, no major American or European ensemble is listed as offering their own concert of Kapralova’s works.
There is a lengthy article in The Telegraph about her tragically short life, works, and accomplishments (including being one of the first women to conduct the BBC Orchestra) – do read it.
Thanks to The Kapralova Society for their tremendous work and advocacy to keep these fantastic and important works alive and performed! Stay in touch with the current events and news at The Kapralova Society’s Facebook page.
Here is a sample of the orchestral writing of the birthday honoree: