36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022

Emil Viklicky Trio

Czech Republic

Emil Viklický - p
Petr Dvorský - db
Cyril Zelenak - dr

The driving force of the trio is Emil Viklický, a pianist and composer who has been the axis of the Czech jazz life for several decades. The patriarch is incredibly vigorous, and that can be testified by both the changing line-up of his trio as well as a panorama of his stage partners – Americans Marcus Printup and Scott Robinson, Swiss Franco Ambrosetti, Belgian Steve Houben, Brits Bobby Wellins and Eddie Severn.

Emil Viklický’s music presents a remarkable synthesis of modal jazz concepts, elements of academic music and Moravian folklore, which was already noted in his very first composition V Holomóci městě (In the City of Olomouc) earning the composer significant acclaim.

Emil Viklický revealed his talent as a composer quite early in his career. In 1976, his Green Satin (Zeleny saten) earned him first prize in the music conservatory competition in Monaco.

As a pianist Emil Viklický is compared with Bud Powell, Tommy Flanagan, Bill Charlap, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau and other acclaimed jazz virtuosos, while the energy of his trio – with the phenomenal Swedish pianist Esbjorn Svenson’ Trio.

The fact that, Emil Viklický graduated from Palacky University with a degree in mathematics did not prevent him from becoming one of the leading figures in Czech jazz world. The pianist worked with Karel Velebný’s SHQ, the Prague Big Band, the Czech Radio Jazz Orchestra and the Super Quartet with Jiří Stivín.

In 1977, the talented improviser received the scholarship to study composition and arrangement in the renowned Berklee College in Boston. On the other side of the Atlantic he developed some very valuable musical friendships, which stayed active upon his return to his homeland.

The pianist has recorded albums with Bill Frisell, James Wiliams, Joe Newman and Scott Robinson. Emil Viklický’s suite, Homage to Joan Miro, recorded with the Talich Quartet and presented also at the Prague Spring with the British multi-instrumentalist John Surman, was received with equal interest both at home and abroad.

Upon finishing his studies in the USA, the pianist returned home and worked with various quartets and quintets, composed and arranged for them, worked as a director of the Summer Jazz Workshops in Frydlant, lectured at a similar workshop event in Glamorgan, Wales. In 1991-1995, he served as a President of the Czech Jazz Society.

Emil Viklický is widely known as a leader of Ad lib Moravia with which he toured in the USA, Mexico and Japan.

Since the 90s, he has devoted an increasing amount of time to the composition of contemporary classical music for a great variety of instrumental combinations ranging from small chamber ensembles and electronic instruments to symphony orchestras and choruses. His latest significant achievement was in chamber music, where he attracted great attention with an album called Homage to Josip Plečnik, on which his compositions are performed by a number of individual artists and formations, most notably Magdalena Kožená and the Trio Martinů.

Emil Viklický also composes incidental and film music and has produced scores for several full-length feature films and television series. His work has gained him quite a number of prestigious awards.

In 1991, he was awarded Film and Television Association prize for music for animated films; in 1994, second prize at the contemporary music competition in Boston; in 1996, Prague award for electroacoustic music and Czech Music Fund prize for use of folk music in art music; in 2000, first prize in the international OPERA composition competition in Prague for the opera Phaedra.

Moreover, Emil Viklický has greatly contributed to the Lithuanian music history. He has discovered in Czech archives the score of Nonet by Jeronimas Kačinskas, the father of Lithuanian modernism. The score of the composer’s most important composition was lost during the WWII, when he was leaving Lithuania. If it were not the efforts of Czech jazz patriarch this internationally recognised composition would not have been performed and recorded. 

This concert is part of the programme Artscape.

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