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Véronique Firkusny-Callegari visited the NL

On Thursday, 10 November 2022, Véronique Firkusny-Callegari, a daughter of the piano virtuoso Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994), and Elena Sokol, an American Slavist, visited the National Library of the Czech Republic.

Véronique Firkusny-Callegari, Elena Sokol and Zuzana Petrášková, head of the Music Department of the NL (right).
Photo: M. Tichá, NL

Véronique Firkusny-Callegari, who works as the executive director for an organization supporting young artists, is also a translator. In association with Elena Sokol she translated in English two books by Daniela Hodrová – A Kingdom of Souls (2015) and City of Torment (2021). Her translation of The Expulsion of Gerta Schnirch by Kateřina Tučková was published last year.

Rudolf Firkušný was born in Napajedla. As a „prodigy“ he studied music theory in Brno under Leoš Janáček while professor Růžena Kurzová taught him piano playing. He strated his career at the early age of eight with a public concert in Prague in 1920. Three years later, on 14 January 1923, he appeared as a piano soloist with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Světozor 29. 3. 1923, p. 344 (NDK - registration needed) | Letem světem 8. 10. 1935, p. 16 (NDK - registration needed)

Masaryk´s scholarship made it possible for Firkušný to study abroad. Until the beginning of the Nazi occupation, he performed concerts in all European countries and played especially Czech music (Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, Suk, Martinů). Apart from classical music, his repertoire also included contemporary compositions.

Rudolf Firkušný left his motherland in 1939 and except for several short stays, he lived abroad, mainly in the United States. After the World War II he returned in Czechoslovakia, but in 1948 he left to the United States again. After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, he repeatedly visited his home country, he gave concerts there and supported artistic and educational institutions.

Rudolf Firkušný died on 19 July 1994 in the United States. Since 2007, he has been buried together with his wife Taťána at the Honorary Burial Ground of the Central Cemetery in Brno.

Since 2013, Rudolf Firkušný Piano Festival has been held in November. It is organized by the Prague Spring Festival, with the beginning of which Rudolf Firkušný is also connected - his performance during the first year of the Prague Spring Festival in 1946 was the last in Czechoslovakia for the long forty-four years.


(Music journal Harmonie 11/2022)

Jan 07, 2023, HOLAN
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