Master of Fine Arts Libor Pešek

* 1933  †︎ 2022

  • "Chamber Symphonic Orchestra was an ensemble of wind instruments. Back then, Dr. Vodička was the director of Divadlo Na Zábradlí. He was an enlightened and educated person. Once a month, he allowed us to freely organize a matiné. It drew attention because we were extremely hardworking. Back then, we had our own composer Jan Klusák who was already then a very avantgarde figure. Thanks to that, we attracted what is today called 'Prague Café'. It was a breeding ground for disgust with Bolshevism."

  • "I called the Czech Symphonic Orchestra and we came to an agreement that we'd go into a strike. Starting that day, instead of rehearsing our program, we played famous Czech musical pieces for the students. This lasted a couple days. We then organized concerts in Smetana's Hall, where we played My Homeland. This was my 1989."

  • "I became a student of the Faculty of Music and Dance. When I was in the second year, the Italian conductor Antonio Pedrotti came to visit Prague. He wasn't a world renowned conductor but performed several concerts with the Czech Symphonic Orchestra. I went to the rehearsals and suddenly saw classical music being played in a dynamic and attractive way. A full-blooded way. There, I completely reversed my attitude towards classical music. And ever since, I have been doing it to the full."

  • "The internal policy of the Czech Symphonic Orchestra back then was to have nobody present during rehearsals. God forbid that the conductor could correct some musician and someone see him doing that. What is more, a student. When we wanted to get to rehearsals, we had to crawl under the benches."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Praha, 26.04.2017

    délka: 03:26:21
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Memory of nations (in co-production with Czech television)
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

A music conductor is always an exile of sorts

Libor Pešek in 2017
Libor Pešek in 2017

Libor Pešek was born in 1933. At grammar school, he was a classmate of the movie director Miloš Forman with whom he also collaborated on several theater projects. After graduation, he decided to continue his studies at the Faculty of Music and Dance, to become a conductor. He worked as a répétiteur in Pilsen, after which he became a freelancer. At that time, he founded the Chamber Symphonic Orchestra and later the Sebastian Orchestra. Both of these ensembles focused on precise work with details. Since 1963, he also served as the second conductor in the Northern Bohemian Symphonic Orchestra. In between 1970 and 1977 he worked both in Czechoslovakia and in the Netherlands; serving as the chief condutor of the Eastern Bohemian State Chamber Orchestra in Pardubice. For a short period, he also worked as a chief conductor of the Slovak Symphonic Orchestra and since 1986 also as the chief conductor of the Liverpool Orchestra. He conducted the concert on the occassion of Václav Havel‘s presidential inauguration. In 1997, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He was the chief conductor of the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra. Libor Pešek died on October 23, 2022.