Jela Špitková

* 1947

  • “In Vienna, come on. I would say from a practical point of view a violinist. I have always reported at home - in Prague, what a Czech musician is, that Prague just lives by art, there was a concert every day or in every church on Sunday, there is something going on in all possible halls. I just went down the street to the dormitory, to the artists' house, I was stopped by some boys, I was still young, and they asked me, "Yeah, miss, do you have Stradivari vagnéri there?" So I said to myself that no one in Vienna would have asked me that, not even in Bratislava, it was possible - that it was simply known that the art was lived by. So I told my mother, you know what Prague works for everyone there - in the toilet, in the hallway, if it's in the cellar - everyone works there, everyone works to make it better. The same was then the case in Moscow, but in Vienna, it was so individual. Do you want to learn? You would learn when you practiced, but it wasn't that mass that there had to be a level. It wasn't like that in Vienna either. But I was held there… by Professor Odnoposoff, who shared the first prize with David Oistrach in Brussels at the Queen… in the Queen Elizabeth competition, while Odnoposoff… he was of Jewish nationality, and in fact at the age of nineteen he auditioned for the first Vienna Philharmonic concertmaster and twenty-one-year-old went to Brussels for that competition, and there was David Oistrach, who had been there at the time. He came by train to Brussels at night and went to compete with him, and yet they shared the first prize. And that Odnoposoff was for me like that Lord God on the violin.”

  • "Well, I can only speak from my own experience, yes, that, as I got - what we were the best graduates of the year three, in the sixties, it was Marián Lapšanský, Edita Grúberová and me. And we, as the best graduates of the year, received a five-year scholarship to Moscow. Well, since I always wanted to be with the best professor, to learn the most and so on… so I exchanged with my brother, who played in Lúčnica for seven years… so I exchanged a place with him, that in Leningrad and Moscow I will go instead and he will stay at home because I wanted to be lucky in Moscow to meet David Oistrach and be able to overplay him. That's why I and Igor exchanged the trip. Well, I also went and in Moscow I really, fortunately met David Oistrach, who was at the conservatory at the time. It's a college, a conservatory there, and I could have overtaken it. And he had only six students - so millions of violinists would want to study with him. And he listened to me and said he would take me to class, so I was very happy, well. Well, in the summer I received an invitation from Tibor Varga, a Hungarian violinist who did violin courses in Switzerland in the summer and because he heard me at the Kraisl competition in Vienna, he invited me for free to give me a scholarship to Switzerland, to Sion. In the summer, as well as playing the competition, I got there… the first prize… I got the second prize then, the first was not awarded there and I got the second. Well, because I had a ticket on the twenty-seventh of August, so I asked on the twentieth, on the twentieth of August, to pack our bags so we could fly off on the twenty-seventh, yes. Well, on the twenty-first morning, when I arrived by train from Switzerland, I took a violin because the train only went in the morning and evening, at seven in the morning, one and at seven in the evening. Well, I missed the morning one… I hung my violin on my shoulder and went to see the city, until seven in the evening, until I went home. Well, of course I went to see Music Ferrano for posters, to the concert house to see the posters and next to the concert house at Lotringer strasse is Hos Helfer music and I looked there who will play there and what are the posters and a porter came out and he asks me, "What are you doing here with the violin, but it's holidays," isn't it? So I say, "I'm from Bratislava and in the evening I go home and just look at the posters." And are you from Bratislava? "You won't get there - there are Russian troops, occupation." Sorry? I didn't know anything. So he let me listen to the radio and there really was that the borders were closed and I couldn't go home. "

  • "I would ask now, actually the conservatory as if you can tell us how they went… there were definitely those talent tests… Yes. That's how you prepared… what you experienced in the process. Well, we experienced it, I would say, very seriously. Because I remember that I was terribly afraid of those exams, and that I went to Professor Vrtel at Fraňa Kráľa 23, where he used to play the program I had for exams on Sunday - I was terribly afraid that they would not accept me. And then there were fifty-three violinists who were at the entrance exams and they took seventeen. I can boast that I won it unexpectedly then. And of all the seventeen that I still have contact with them, none of them left the violin. Many also emigrated abroad, many played here in the Philharmonic, in the opera, on the radio, but we were just a strong year-class. Gaba Beňačková was there, well, there was Lapšanský, Grúberová. But many were… Paľo Kováč… Many were really excellent instrumentalists and they worked all over the world. We were a strong year-class, really. And do you remember what you played at those receivers? I know I played Koreli's la foil… and I don't remember the others. And was it that determined what you have to play or could everyone choose for themselves? We definitely had a lecture song, an etude and some Bach, yes, yes… And maybe try to explain the study at that time at the conservatory a little later that maybe how it went. Yes. Maybe there are some interesting memories that you have on it. Yes. We actually had two buildings. One was on Kostolná, that is both the Primate's Palace and the building opposite. There we had theoretical subjects and the main subject we had in Rybné námestie. We took a tram there, and I know I'm from Rybné námestie - it was a good four kilometers. Even though I had a twenty-minute break, I ran to the Grossling and used it for practice. We were just… that the atmosphere was very hardworking. And it was very good… it was very good. ”

  • “You actually mentioned the problems with the nationalization and property of your family… Yes, yes… You were still very young then… Yes. So maybe you didn't notice it at that time… I was six years old then. Well, how did you perceive, for example, that your father was in Poprad, for example, if I caught it well… Yes, in Poprad. That's how you perceived it, you? Well, like that, it has to be that there is no other option. Well, we felt that it must be so that my father thought of us when he came home, we were looking forward to it and my mother took care of us from morning to evening. So we've always taken life so that what happens today we have to adapt. We have never wanted anything - I would say - we adapted, we never wanted anything more than others. So what was it, we took it as it is. And in fact, after you were older and your brother, the nationalization was said to you in your family that… I know that they nationalized those houses of my grandfather, but then the one - my father as a lawyer, after x years, managed to restitute it, but then he sold it. It was on the square in Nové Mesto nad Váhom… in Nové Mesto nad Váhom on the square it was one house. So he sold it and then Mr. Podoláň bought it and then… there used to be an upstairs and there was a shop downstairs. ”

  • "Well, I know that my father's brother Ivan was hiding a Jewish family. He also succeeded so well that they survived and no one was hurt. So I know. And then they wrote because they then emigrated to Argentina and I actually remember… my father was already… my father was old, he still had letters and so on… They kept in touch then. Yes, he was still in contact with them. And where they actually hid them, you know? How, in which city? Well, in Nové Mesto nad Váhom. In the Nové Mesto nad Váhom, even the SS came to our house, and they were in that house and did not find them. So, of course, they were so scared at that time. Well, you know, because, let's just say I have, my grandfather was from Liptovský Mikuláš, there from the mountain, well? But when he finished teaching, he got a job in Lubina. And there in Liptov, there were a lot of partisans and there was one… also called Paľko Špitka as my father and son… and when those partisans went and there in the mountains they shot some SS men and Germans… Then those Germans came to that… to that Liptovský Mikuláš and they just said that all the boys who were about twenty had to go in front of the house, well? Well, they came out, and I'd say my distant cousin, Paľko Špitka, was shot in front of his parents, you know.… So I remember that. Actually, was there any reason for that? Or just because of those partisans? No, there was no reason. It's just for the reward of the partisans in the mountains… shot some Germans, so they came to Liptovský Mikuláš and let all who were there… twenty-year-old boys came in and without any reason whether he did something or did nothing, they shot them in front of their parents. So it was terrible… Every wave, even with Ukraine, brings terrible things. Exactly."

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Bratislava, 29.03.2022

    délka: 02:06:39
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Príbehy 20. storočia
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„So at the age of twenty-one, I told my parents that I thank them very much, but they no longer have to support me financially, I‘ll make money with my concerts for studying.“

Jela Špitková, an excellent violin soloist, was born on January 1, 1947 in Nové Mesto nad Váhom, into the family of a doctor of law. Father Pavel Špitka, a lawyer who was in charge of representing three large companies, was more than in a good position at the time, until the regime changed. Jela‘s mother Oľga, a single Bogyaová, was born in 1912 into the family of an Evangelical pastor. There was only an annual difference between her and her future husband. She attended a German business school, whose studies later ensured her work in prosperous companies. Parents, Oľga and Pavel, dated an incredible eleven years together until a decision was made to get married. The wedding took place in 1941, and three years later a son Igor was born and then Jela. Jela grew up in a family house in Nové Mesto nad váhom, on Javorinská Street number seven. In 1960, the whole family moved to Bratislava and their new home became a rented apartment on Grösslingova Street for six years. Daddy started working as a lawyer in state arbitration. In addition to the regular primary school, Jela attended art school, and private violin lessons she attended with teacher Vrteľ, no exception. When the father later became a member of the housing association and also its chairman, the family‘s private situation improved and they were assigned a cooperative apartment in Štrkovec. However, in order for Pavel‘s artistically gifted children to be able to train continuously, he exchanged it for a state apartment in a brick house. Jela studied at the local conservatory for six years and successfully completed it in 1968. She remembered how much she was afraid of interviews, which were quite strict. Of the 53 violinists who applied to study, only 17 accepted. Thanks to the great effort and talent that Jela had at her disposal, she managed to represent her home country abroad several times during her studies at the conservatory. An exceptional opportunity to represent Czechoslovakia was for Jela in 1966, an offer from the European Youth Orchestra, which was based in London. She was only 19 years old and became a concertmaster. The year 1968 was approaching and with it the end of the conservatory. As the best graduate of the year, she received a five-year scholarship to Moscow University. However, the occupation changed her plans. She found out about it during her stay in Switzerland, where she subsequently had to spend two weeks in a Red Cross accommodation due to closed borders. After returning home, she studied at two universities, in Vienna with Professor Odnoposoff and in Prague at AMU, with Professor Plocko. She completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Moscow with Professor David Oistrach. The study ended at the age of 28, in 1976. Jela returned to Bratislava, where she worked at the Academy of Performing Arts as an assistant professor. She led a group of five, very talented students. She left the university in 1980 and spent a year in the Danish Radio Orchestra. For a long distance, she decided on the audition in Salzburg, which she won. Since 1980, she has been involved in Salzburg for 14 long years and since 1983, she has also taught at the University of Vienna. An integral part of her life became her son Paľko, who was born in 1986. In 2006 she received a professorship in Vienna, but also in Prague. Six years later, Jela retired in Austria, but still remained teaching at the AU Faculty of Performing Arts in Banská Bystrica, where she is twenty-fourth year. During her lifelong career, she has repeatedly played in 61 states. She has also recorded 900 minutes of her violin repertoire on records and CDs that are sold worldwide.