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Vitezslava Kapralova in 1935. Photo V. Klaska, Brno

Vitezslava Kapralova (Brno 1915–Montpellier 1940) is considered the most important woman composer of the twentieth-century Czech music. She was a daughter of composer Vaclav Kapral and singer Vitezslava Uhlirova. A child prodigy, she started composing at nine, and at fifteen she entered the Brno Conservatory where she studied composition with Vilem Petrzelka and conducting with Zdenek Chalabala (1930–1935). She continued her musical education with Vitezslav Novak and Vaclav Talich in Prague (1935–1937), and with Bohuslav Martinu, Charles Munch, and, according to some sources, also with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1937–1940). In 1937 she conducted the Czech Philharmonic and a year later the BBC Orchestra in her composition Military Sinfonietta, to much critical acclaim. Despite her untimely death in 1940 Kaprálová left behind an impressive body of work. Her music was admired by Rafael Kubelik, who premiered her orchestral song Waving Farewell and performed several other works, and by Rudolf Firkusny for whom Kaprálová composed April Preludes. In 1946, in appreciation of her distinctive contribution to Czech Music, the foremost academic institution in the country–The Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts–awarded Kaprálová membership in memoriam. By 1948 this honor was bestowed on only 10 women, out of 648 members of the Academy. Only one of the ten women was a musician–Kaprálová.

Kaprálová's creative output includes her highly regarded art songs and music for keyboard, music for cello, music for violin and piano, a reed trio, a string quartet, a cantata, two piano concertos, a concertino for clarinet, violin and orchestra, two orchestral suites, and a sinfonietta. Much of Kaprálová's music was published during her lifetime and continues to be published today (some works in subsequent editions) by various publishing houses, including Bärenreiter Verlag, La Sirčne Editions Musicales, Editio Supraphon, Egge Verlag, Certosa Verlag, Editio Praga, Czech Radio, HMUB, Melantrich, Svoboda, Pazdirek, and Amos Editio. Kapralova's music has been released on record by Supraphon and on compact disc by Supraphon, Koch Records, Northeastern Records, Albany Records, Centaur Records, Radioservis (Czech Radio), Studio Matous, Arco Diva, Stylton Records, and others. Her life has inspired two Czech language monographs, two novel-biographies, and other books. In 2011, a long-overdue English language biography of the composer was published by Lexington Books.

The Kapralova Society is a non-profit arts organization based in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 1998, the society's mission is to promote interest in Kapralova and other women in music through research, education, and special projects, often in partnership with schools of music and other organizations. We encourage and assist recording and publishing of Kapralova's music and seek to build awareness of women's contributions to musical life through our online resources.



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