Vítězslava Kaprálová

1915-1940

Clare Longendyke.jpg

Vítězslava Kaprálová was born in Brno, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Czech Republic), a daughter of composer Václav Kaprál and singer Viktorie Kaprálová. From 1930-1935 she studied composition with Vilém Petrželka and conducting with Zdeněk Chalabala at the Brno Conservatory. She continued her musical education with Vítězslav Novák (1935–37) and Václav Talich (1935–36) in Prague and with Bohuslav Martinů, Charles Munch (1937–39) and, according to some unverified accounts, with Nadia Boulanger (1940) in Paris. In 1937 she conducted the Czech Philharmonic and a year later the BBC Orchestra in her composition Military Sinfonietta. Her husband was the Czech writer Jiří Mucha, whom she married two months before she died. Despite her untimely death, from what was misdiagnosed as miliary tuberculosis, in Montpellier, France at the age of 25, Kaprálová created an impressive body of work. Her music was admired by Rafael Kubelík, who premiered her orchestral song Waving Farewell and also conducted her other orchestral works. Among the many interpreters of her piano music was pianist Rudolf Firkušný, for whom Kaprálová composed her best known piano work Dubnová preludia (April Preludes). In 1946, in appreciation of her distinctive contribution, the foremost academic institution in the country - the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Arts - awarded Kaprálová membership in memoriam. By 1948 this honour was bestowed on only 10 women, out of 648 members of the Academy.

The only English biography of the composer was published in 2011 by Lexington Books in the United States. The book also includes a complete, annotated catalog of her works. Kaprálová was "Composer of the Week" on BBC Radio 3 from Monday 12th Oct to Fri 16th Oct 2015, a set of five one-hour programs playing her music and discussing her life

Kaprálová's catalogue includes her highly regarded art songs and music for piano solo, a string quartet, a reed trio, music for cello, music for violin and piano, an orchestral cantata, two piano concertos, two orchestral suites, a sinfonietta, and a concertino for clarinet, violin, and orchestra. Much of her music was published during her lifetime and continues to be published today by various publishing houses, including Bärenreiter Verlag. In addition, her music has been released on record and compact disc by a variety of labels, including Naxos, Koch Records, Albany Records, Centaur Records, Delos Productions, Gramola and Supraphon

Since 1998, Kapralova's legacy has been promoted by the Kapralova Society, a non-profit arts organization based in Toronto, Canada. It publishes the Kapralova Society Journal, "a journal of women in music".

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