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Master of Fine Arts Josef Maria Dobrodinský (1925) - Biography

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Jan Maria Dobrodinský was born on July 22, 1925 in Kunžak in the house of his grandparents, but the family otherwise lived in Prague. His father was a harpist in the Czech Philharmonic, and his mother was a housewife whose original profession was a violoncello player. Jan Maria Dobrodinský studied a French elementary school and then he continued his studies at the grammar school in Křemencova Street in Prague. He graduated in 1945, but at the same time he was already studying at the conservatory where he specialized in French horn (he graduated from the conservatory in 1948, and a year later he passed a state examination from choir singing and conducting). After the war he also made use of the opportunity to study philosophy, sociology and music studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. As an active member of the Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) he became involved in the unrests in 1948 and he also served as the chairman of the Club of Young Academicians. The communist coup d'état marred his political ambitions and affected his studies at the Faculty of Arts. Although Jan Maria was eventually able to successfully complete his studies, his student activities became registered in his personal file and they haunted him during his entire professional life. After graduation he became the choirmaster of the church choir in Nusle and at the same time he played the French horn in various orchestras, such as in the orchestra of the National Theatre. He also played in Talich's Czech Chamber Orchestra. Later he became Talich's student in the conducting class, and since Václav Talich was not allowed to teach in Prague, he followed him to Bratislava. In 1950-1954 Jan Maria studied at the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and after completing his studies he was accepted as a choirmaster in the Mixed Choir of the Bratislava Radio, which was later transformed into the Slovak Philharmonic Choir. In 1977, however, he had to end his successful career due to political reasons. Although he was offered to work together with the famous conductor A. Lombard, the authorities did not allow him to leave the country, and he thus had to abandon any hopes for a career abroad. In 1978 he was eventually accepted as the second choirmaster of the Prague Choir of the Czechoslovak Radio. After four years of this work he was finally offered to work as an orchestra conductor, and at the end of his career he thus became the head conductor of the Central Bohemian Symphonic Orchestra. Since 1952 he was also simultaneously active as a teacher, at first at the Bratislava conservatory and later at VŠMU Bratislava, where he taught until 1993. Although at that time he was already eligible for retirement, he actively participated in the political events of November 1989. As a politician of the formerly abolished Czechoslovak People's Party he became a member of the new KDU-ČSL. The party made use of his academic background and Jan Maria thus served as an advisor to the Czech minister of culture Jindřich Kabát and later to Pavel Tigrid. He retreated from the political scene in 1996, but he still continues teaching at the Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University and in the academic music association AHUV. Jan Maria Dobrodinský is an honorary conductor and choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic and in 1996 he was awarded the Honorary Award of the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic. He is also an honorary member of Rotary Club.

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