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JAN JIRÁSEK, COMPOSER

Jirásek’s work has been represented at a number of venues and festivals throughout the world since 1989. He has composed music for distinguished performers and stages, such as Bread and Circuses for six percussionists (Munich Biennale, 1992), a recomposition of St Luke’s Passion according to J.S. Bach’s manuscript and Carl Orff’s concept (Munich Biennale, 1996; Minneapolis, USA, 2000), Concerto for Organ and Small Orchestra To Dance with the Universe (Portland Chamber Orchestra, 2012), Missa propria (for mixed choir or boys’ choir/women’s choir or children’s choir, Prague Spring Festival, 1994 and 2014; Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, New York and Avignon Festival in France, among others), string quartet Fragile Balance/Letter to Heaven (Vega String Quartet, Atlanta, 2012),

micro-opera King Lávra (Khorikos, New York, 2013) and others.

 

Jirásek’s compositions have been published by one of the world’s leading publishing houses: Ricordi, Berlin. His film music has won a number of prestigious awards: in the Czech Republic, his scores for films by the Czech director F.A. Brabec, Kytice (‘The Bouquet’), and the distinguished Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko’s Nejasná zpráva o konci světa (‘An Ambiguous Report about the End of the World’) have each been awarded the Czech Lion prize; among important international prizes, films with Jirásek’s scores have won the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix Award and The Jerusalem Prize.

 

Jan Jirásek also devotes his time to teaching.  He has taught composition at prestigious universities in Europe (Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna; ISAM, Ochsenhausen, Germany and many others), as well as in the U.S. (Hartt School of Music, Hartford; Colorado College; Florida International University; Lehigh University, Pennsylvania; University of Colorado at Boulder).

 

In the sleevenote to the CD Renaissance of Humanity, which includes music by Hildegard von Bingen, Jirásek and Arvo Pärt (BMG Classics 1995), Samuel Hendricks wrote: “Jirásek’s subtle, superb arrangements give clear expression to his musical ideas which, like those of any honest artist, are concerned not with the mask of art but the face behind it.”

 

JITRO Czech Girls Choir

The silvery sound of the JITRO Czech Girls Choir has been heard all over the world as they tour from one continent to another singing in grand concert halls and small towns. These beautiful young girls grace the stage and captivate audiences with stunning renditions of songs that thrill the listener. All this comes from 30 choir members hailing from the town of Hradec Kralove in the Czech Republic.

 

This internationally acclaimed touring choir is selected from over 350 children in six preparatory ensembles. Over the span of 38 years, they have performed 2,800 concerts and have toured 725,000 miles around the globe. In the Fourth World Choir Games in Xiamen, China (2006) they received three gold medals. They have been awarded 32 First Prizes in international competitions from 1988-2015.

 

Thousands of enthusiastic listeners have heard the voices of JITRO in prestigious concert halls in Prague, Barcelona, Berlin, Strasburg, Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo, Osaka,  Nagoya, Hong-Kong, Bern, Brussels, Luxemburg, Basel, and Avignon just to mention a few. JITRO has made 15 concert tours in the USA, seven in Japan, two in China and more than 200 in Europe. JITRO Czech Girls Choir’s discography is made up of 35 CDs, including many studio bestsellers such as their 2015 release with Navona Records.

 

In 2016 the choir sang with the Czech Philharmonic, a performance transmitted live on national TV. They sang in the USA and Japan, and they recorded an album with the Moravian Philharmonic. This year they are preparing  two new CDs and the world premiere of Ecce Homo with Argentinean tenor José Cura.

 

Since 1977, Jiří Skopal has led the choir as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, winning high praise for his brilliant leadership. Pianist Michael Chrobák’s superb playing adds lustre to the choir’s remarkable performances.

 

With so many accolades, still the most precious ones come from audiences, young and old, who feel the music so deeply as it is sung by the pure and perfectly blended voices of the young women of JITRO.

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