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The Prague Lady Teachers Choir

was founded on the 17th of December, 1912 by František Spilka, the conductor of the Prague (Man) Teachers Choir, which had already been founded in 1908.
Its first conductor was Metod Doležil and the first concert took place on the 19th of March, 1914. After Antonín Bednář and Pavel Dědeček in the place of conductors, Metod Vymetal took over this function in 1928. The era of Metod Vymetal was one of the most successfull in the history of the choir. The ensemble had concerts in France, Poland, Holland, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In 1932 it won the first prize in Amsterdam, in 1937 the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris and in 1938 the first prize in Menton.
After the death of Metod Vymetal in a Nacist’s prison, the choir had several conductors before Rudolf Zeman took over in 1954. From 1972 to 1992, the choirmaster was Jiří Vyskočil. In this period, the Prague Lady Teachers Choir had become well known in Czechoslovakia and abroad. The ensemble won the first price in Montreaux in Switzerland.  Ivan Zelenka became the conductor in 1993.
The choir doesn’t have its own room for rehearsals; it has been rehearsing in the Primary School on Uhelný trh in Prague since 1972. Each rehearsal begins with voice training, which is led by a skilled teacher of singing or experienced singers.
The ensemble sings choral music of all periods – from Gregorian choral, folk songs, spirituals, swing songs to modern songs in original languages with accompaniment or a capella. Special emphasis is paid to works of Czech composers and contemporary music. Czech and Moravian folk songs in various arrangements are also often part of the programmes. The choir promotes Czech songs abroad. The choir has sung in twenty languages. It has friendly ties with many choirs in Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and other countries. The last concert tour took place in Britain and Germany in 2000 and there are plans for further journeys. In the last few years, the choir has sung Moravian Duets and Stabat Mater by Antonín Dvořák and Moravian folk songs such as Divná voda (Miraculous Water) composed by Josef Suk. It was newly arranged for choir and orchestra. Several composers have written or dedicated their pieces for the choir, namely Bohuslav Martinů, Vadim Petrov, Jiří Teml, Milan Dvořák and Ivan Zelenka.
The Prague Lady Teachers Choir can be proud of its past achievements. It has sung in great concert halls, famous churches as well as at big Christmas and Easter fairs and senior homes. The choir propagates women’s choral singing for years to a wide audience.

Choirmaster IVAN ZELENKA was born on the 7th of March, 1941 in Prague. He studied the trombone and percussion at the State Conservatory in Prague and at the same time studied composition with Jan Truhlář and later with Jan Rychlík. Since his studies, he performed in several famous orchestras (Karel Vlach Orchestra, Czech Television Orchestra). He is a solo trombonist of the Ferdinand Havlík Swing Band. He works in the Music Library of Radio Free Europe. Ivan Zelenka composes and arranges popular, film, musical and theatre music as well as jazz, but his most important work is in the field of classical music. He is interested in many sports as well.
When he became the conductor of the Prague Lady Teachers Choir, he began writing pieces for women’s choirs – Alleluia, Kyrie Eleison, Ave Maria, My Lord as well as arrangements of folk songs and melodies from musicals. His last choral piece is a cycle of humorous songs based on the poetry of Jiří Dědeček.
    
email: pspu@seznam.cz      or     olga.vincencova@seznam.cz

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FRANCAIS:

La Chorale des institutrices de Prague

L’historique bref de la Chorale des institutrices de Prague La Chorale des institutrices de Prague a pris naissance par l’arreté du gouvernement royal et impérial du Royaume de Boheme, pris le 17 décembre 1912 a Prague. C’est un choeur de femmes le plus ancien de la République tcheque qui travaille sans interruption depuis sa naissance.Le premier chef de choeur, professeur Metod Doležil, a donné au choeur un caractere hautement artistique. Depuis 1923, c’étaient Antonín Bednář et Pavel Dědeček qui continuaient a le diriger, suivis par Metod Vymětal qui les a remplacés en 1928. Dans l’histoire du choeur, l’ere de Metod Vymětal appartient a celles les plus célebres. La Chorale a donné des concerts non seulement en Tchécoslovaquie mais aussi a l’étranger et ceci pour la premiere fois a Vienne en 1928. Les concerts suivants avaient lieu en France, en Pologne, aux Pays-Bas, en Roumanie, en Yugoslavie, en Bulgarie. La Chorale a participé a quelques concours internationaux ou elle avait obtenu les appréciations mondiales.

Depuis 1939, l’essor et l’épanouissement artistiques de la Chorale des institutrices de Prague ont été endigués conséquemment a l’occupation de la Tchécoslovaquie par l’Allemagne nazie. Metod Vymětal a été arreté par la gestapo et est mort plus tard en prison pendant le bombardement de Dresde.

Apres la guerre, la Chorale a changé de chefs a plusieurs reprises. Sous la direction artistique de Rudolf Zeman, depuis 1954, la Chorale obtint les premiers prix aux Pays-Bas et en Suisse. Jiří Vyskočil a remplacé son prédécesseur en 1972. Grâce a son action le répertoire a été élargi considérablement et le choeur a remporté des succes importants dans son pays et a l’étranger. En 1989, le choeur s’est vu décerner le premier prix au Festival de Montreux en Suisse.

C’est Ivan Zelenka qui est le chef de choeur actuel de la Chorale des institutrices de Prague depuis 1993. Etant compositeur a la fois, il oriente ses efforts de compositeur aussi vers les choeurs féminins et les adaptations des chansons populaires et des mélodies des musicals. Grâce a sa conception intéressante de la musique, qui attire les nouvelles choristes, les rangs des membres du choeur s’élargissent et se rajeunissent.

Sauf les concerts, organisés par la Chorale meme, celle-ci participe aux événements culturels importants ou elle est invitée, aux festivals et concours tcheques et internationaux et prend part aux enregistrements et spectacles de radio et de télévision. Ce sont les chants grégoriens et les oeuvres des époques et styles différents, les chansons tcheques et moraves populaires, les spirituals et les morceaux de swing qui figurent dans son répertoire. Les oeuvres sont chantées en langues originales, soit avec accompagnement soit a capella. Jusqu’a maintenant, le choeur chantait en vingt langues différentes, tout en réservant une place de proue a la musique contemporaine.

email: pspu@seznam.cz
olga.vincencova@seznam.cz