Text Box: Conductor photographs
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MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
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MINT CONDITION

RAFAEL KUBELIK  - CONDUCTOR

Original 8” x 10” candid photograph of the great Czech conductor and the Czech-American composer Jeronym Zajicek, Chicago, November 14, 1975.

Kubelik dedicated the photograph to Zajicek: To Jeronym from my heart/ Jeronym also known as Rafael.  Kubelik’s middle name was Jeronym.

Kubelik (1914-1996) had one of the most storied conducting careers of the 20th Century.  A man of music and conscious he rebelled against the Nazi’s and the Communists.  The son of violinist Jan Kubelik, like his Father and siblings was a violinist by training and also an accompanist.  He left the Prague Conservatory and in 1933 and made his Czech Philharmonic debut as a conductor in 1934. From 1935-1936 he accompanied his Father on the piano during his tour of the United States.  In 1936 he was made a conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.  In 1939 he was appointed Music Director of the Brno Opera which lasted until the Nazi’s shut the company down in 1941.  With the drain of talent in Prague he was brought back in 1941 to become Principal Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.  He had to hide in the Czech countryside from the Nazi’s in 1944 after he refused to give the Nazi salute and conduct Wagner.  After the War was over in 1945 he was once again the Principal Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and a founder of the Prague Spring Festival.  He remained there until 1948; when the Communists took over the Country he left defecting on a regular conducting gig at the Edinburgh Festival.  In 1950 he was appointed Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he was forced out in 1953 as the Board felt he was leading too many contemporary works.  In 1955 he was named Music Director of the Royal Opera at Covent Garden where he remained until 1958.  From 1969 to 1979 he was the Music Director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony and for a year under Goran Gentele 1973-1974 he was the Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera.  The balance of his career he worked with major orchestras throughout the world as a guest conductor.  After the Velvet Revolution in 1990, Kubelik did return and both conduct and record with the Czech Philharmonic.

Jeronym Zajicek (1926 - 2007) was a Czech born, American composer, musicologist and pedagogue.  Zajicek received his music degree from Charles University under the composer Joseph Hutter.  He also studied composition privately with the composer Otakar Jeremias.  He was against the Communists and after Hutter was fired by the Communists in 1949, Zajicek was one of fifty students who spoke out against his removal and was expelled with his classmates.  The composer escaped to Germany where he headed of the Czech section of Radio Free Europe in Munich.  Four years later Zajicek’s father was arrested and executed on manufactured espionage charges.  In 1952 he left for the United States with the help of the composer/conductor Karel Jirak who was in Chicago teaching at Chicago Music College, now part of Roosevelt University.  He spent the next two years as a composition and conducting student there of both Jirak and Paul Pisek another Czech emigree.  He graduated in 1957 and also received his American citizenship that year. He taught middle school music and conducted both children’s and collegiate choirs from 1958 to 1964.  He was hired as professor of conducting and composition at Loop/Washington College from 1966 until his retirement in 1996. Zajicek returned to the Czech Republic in 1989 to mark the anniversary of his expulsion by conducting his work and the death of one of those classmates at the hands of the Communists, “Pater Noster” which he wrote for the occasion.

As a composer he wrote a few pieces for orchestra including a Sinfonietta for large orchestra and a concertino for flute and string orchestra, however the bulk of his compositions are miniatures, works for piano, and solo instruments and piano.  He also wrote a piano trio.

An unusual Kubelik photograph.

 

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