Jiří Bělohlávek, CZ (1946 – 2017)
Czech conductor, former Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and current Chief Conductor of Czech Philharmonic. In a distinguished career spanning some 40 years, Jiri Belohlavek has performed and recorded more works by Martinu than any conductor, past or present. Over the years he has performed with many of the major world orchestras. We can be assured of a continuing high profile for the music of Martinu that he loves. More information.
Maurice Bourgue, France
Celebrated French oboist who has given many performances of Martinů's concerto for the instrument, most recently at the 2010 Prague Spring. As Director of the Sándor Végh Chamber Music Academy he produced many memorable and innovative programmes for the Martinů festivals in Prague between 1996 - 2002.
Veronique Firkusny-Callegari, USA
Daughter of Rudolf Firkusny, the famous Czech pianist and close personal friend of Bohuslav Martinů who promoted the composer's music throughout his long career. He gave the world premieres of the Piano Concertos Nos. 2, 3 and 4.
Jean Fonda Fournier, France
French pianist, son of cellist Pierre Fournier, a friend and collaborator of Bohuslav Martinu, who was one of the leading soloists of his time as well as teacher at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. Accompanied his father in a notable recording of the Martinů Cello Sonata No. 1 which was dedicated to the cellist.
Christopher Hogwood (1941 - 2014)
British conductor and musicologist, member of the Editorial Board of the Bohuslav Martinu Complete Edition. Has frequently performed works by Martinů both in the UK and abroad and edited and subsequently recorded the full score of La Revue de Cuisine for the first time.
Max Kellerhals, Switzerland (1918 - 2013)
Throughout his active life, Max Kellerhals was a priest in municipalities in the canton of Basel - Landschaft, near Liestal, the town in which Bohuslav Martinů died. Max Kellerhals accompanied Bohuslav Martinů in the final days of his life and participated in organising his funeral in Switzerland and, twenty years later, the transportation of the composer's remains to Czechoslovakia.
Max Kellerhals made the acquaintance of Bohuslav Martinů at the begining of September 1955 at the Besancon festival, where he, a great music lover, had come to attend a performance of Rafael Kubelík. He was also present at the premiere of the oratorio The Epic of Gilgamesh, H 351 and accompanied Martinů at the performace of Juliette, H 253 in Wiesbaden, Germany in January 1959, the very last staging of the opera the composer saw himself.
Following Martinů's hospitalization in the summer of 1959, Max Kellerhals became the composer's close friend. He also served a requiem mass for the deseased Matinů at the Roman Catholic church on 1 September 1959. Since the foundation of the Martinů Festival in Basel in 1995, he was a keen promoter and also visited Bohuslav Martinů Festival in Prague.
Oldřich František Korte (1926 - 2014)
Infinitely kind-hearted and at the same time uncompromisingly critical, Oldřich František Korte is a man of immense paradoxes. He was jailed by the Nazis and, twice, by the Communists (the first time for attempting to leave the republic to go to study composition with Bohuslav Martinů)., yet he has never grown embittered.
Korte's love of Martinů's music is absolute and anchored in a perfect balance between an analytical mind and widely open feeling. His spirited analytical texts on Martinů's works are a pleasure for all perceptive readers (and a translator's nightmare), such as the analysis of the first movement of the Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, H 353.
Oldřich František Korte's works are being performed by leading Czech orchestras. The world-famous pianist Garrick Ohlsson added the Sonata for Piano (1951 - 1953) to his repertoire in 2009 and has performed it at dozens of concerts all over the world since then. The music world has started repaying Oldřich F. Korte for that whcih he has given to other, Bohuslav Martinů in particular.
(abridged version of a text by Aleš Březina, in Martinů Revue vol. XII, no. 3 / 2012)
Brian Large, UK
British television director specializing in opera and classical music broadcasts, author of a Martinu biography. Born in 1939, Brian Large studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of London where he obtained doctorates in Music and Philosophy. Postgraduate work took him to Prague. His biography of Martinů, the first to be written in the English language, was concieved after several years of research spent in Czechoslovakia and France where he worked closely with Charlotte Martinů. He joined the British Broadcasting Corporation as a producer with responsibility for opera and music programmes for the then new BBC2 television channel. BBC2 also produced a documentary on the life of Martinů which helped to bring about a greater awareness of the composer in the UK; a programme which many recall with affection. Brian was an advisor for this documentary, entitled "Music of Exile". Written by Anthony Burgess and produced and directed by Anthony Wilkinson in 1967, it was last screened on 27th November 2012 during Martinů Festtage in Basel.
Jean Leduc, France
Co-director of Éditions Alphonse Leduc publishing house in Paris which produced many of the composer's early works dating from 1920s and 1930s.
Emil Leichner, CZ (1938 – 2019)
Czech pianist, son of Emil Leichner, the founding member of the Czech Nonet, professor at the Prague Academy of music, member of the B. Martinů Foundation Board. Performed piano works and chamber music by the composer throughout his career and recorded the first complete set of the Martinů piano concertos.
Sir Charles Mackerras (1925 - 2010)
world famous conductor, propagator of Czech music who gave many performances of works by Martinů. Among the highlights, he directed the world premiere recording of "The Greek Passion" and more recently gave the world premiere of "Three Fragments from Juliette" with Magdalena Kožená taking the title role.
Blanche Honegger Moyse (1909 - 2011)
Swiss-born American conductor and violinist who lived in Paris and USA. Together with Marcel Moyse, she gave the world premiere of the Concerto for Flute, Violin and Orchestra which Martinů composed for them in 1936. In her later years, she took up conducting, specialising in performances of the choral music by Bach which were highly regarded.
Geraldine Mucha (1917 - 2012)
Scottish composer, wife of Czech writer Jiří Mucha (son of Alphonse Mucha and close personal friend of Martinů). He provided the composer with the text for the Field Mass which she later translated into English for the published edition of the work; also translated the Nový Špalíček and other song texts.
Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Russia (1931 - 2018)
Russian conductor, general artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre. Conductor who espoused the music of Martinu in the time of the Soviet Union. He has since ventured into some of the lesser known oeuvres such as The Rock, The Strangler and the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra.
Zuzana Růžičková, CZ (1927 - 2017)
Distinguished Czech harpsichordist and pianist, teacher at the Music Academy in Prague, wife of Czech composer Viktor Kalabis who was the former Chairman of B. Martinů Foundation. Has performed the Martinů Harpsichord Concerto throughout her career having recorded it in 1967 with the conductor Kurt Sanderling and 20 years later with Václav Neumann.
F. James Rybka, USA
Son of Martinů’s closest American friend Frank Rybka, to whom he dedicated the Cello Sonata No. 2. Author of a new biography of the composer.
Josef Suk, CZ (1929 - 2011)
Eminent Czech violinist and violist, grandson of Czech composer Josef Suk and great-grandson of Antonín Dvořák. Promoted the concertos and sonatas of Martinů throughout his long career. Gave premieres of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in several countries including the USA where he performed the work with the Chicago Symphony under Solti.
Ivan Štraus, CZ
Prof. Ivan Straus studied at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts. His graduation performance at both schools was Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu. He completed his postgraduate degree at the P. I. Tchaikovski Conservatory in Moscow. In 1968 he successfully auditioned with the Academy of Performing Arts, however, he was forced to leave for political reasons in 1975. He was a soloist in the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice (1975-1979), Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK) (1979-1991) and, together with Josef Palenicek and Alexandr Vectomov, a member of the Bohemia Trio (1968-1979). Since 1979 he was first violinist in the Suk Quartet.
After the 1989 revolution he returned to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague where he became a professor and also worked as a vice-dean of foreign activities.
Prof. Straus writes articles for the specialized press, he makes recordings for radio and television and is a jury member for many competitions in the Czech Republic as well as abroad. He has taught many master classes in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Holland, the United States, China and South Korea. Apart from promoting a classic repertoire he also promotes Bohuslav Martinu's work in all his classes, mainly Martinu´s violin and chamber works, of which he is a dedicated expert.
Gregory Terian, UK
Following a concert by the Boston Symphony under Charles Munch in London in 1956, Gregory acquired their recording of Martinu's 6th Symphony and found it to be a spellbinding work. His affection for Martinu's music developed by way of numerous Supraphon recordings, the Safranek biography, and a succession of BBC broadcasts including Brian Large's television documentary. He visited Prague for the Martinu centenary celebrations in 1990 and became a member of the Dvorak Society, which was active in promoting the composer's cause, joining their visit to Policka in 1991. He was invited to contribute a regular Martinu section to the Dvorak Society's Newsletter. Following contacts with the Martinu Institute, he attended the annual Martinu Festival in Prague in December 1997. He was invited to join the board of the IBMS in 1999 and became the UK contact for the International Martinu Circle when it was formed in 2005. He served as Chairman from 2008 to 2011. His ambition was to see a viable IMC membership created during this term and he succeeded. We would like to express our appreciation to him for his efforts on behalf of the IMC. For details please read the article in the 3/2011 issue of Martinu Revue.
Mari Tokuda, Japan ( - 2019)
Mari studied Czech music under Dr J. Skovajsa at JAMU. She has served for many years as secretary of the B. Martinu Society in Japan, keeping its members informed and promoting Martinu events, including concerts in which she has participated as a performing pianist. Mari has visited the Martinu Institute in Prague for research purposes and meetings. She is happy that Martinu works are often performed in Japan, and, as a member of the IMC Board, will do everything possible to further the music of the composer in that country. She was a Board member of the former IBMS (International Bohuslav Martinu Society) and of the IMC between 2008-2011. She has been our longtime collaborator and promoter of Martinu´s events in Japan.