The year 2020 was grossly impacted by the worldwide pandemic which resulted in cancellation of numerous concerts, festivals, and music conferences throughout the year. The activities did not cease entirely, however, as several notable performances did take place during the year and a few moved online. While the concert activities stagnated to a large degree, there was much happening on the publishing front. The Czech Radio Music Department published choruses from Kapralova’s cantata Ilena, op. 15, and the Kapralova Society printed one of Kapralova’s Two piano dances, op. 23. The two organizations then joined forces and published a new resource for Kapralova’s performers: the thematic catalogue of the composer’s works.Performances
While many events were cancelled last year, several notable performances did take place. They included a Swedish premiere of Kapralova’s Suita rustica, op. 19 by the Norrlands Opera Orchestra under the baton of Ruth Reinhardt; a performance of April Preludes by Keru Zhang at the Juilliard’s Focus 2020 Festival in New York; and two performances of Kapralova’s Piano Concerto in D Minor: the first, by Marek Kozak and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Jindra, was presented in Prague’s most revered concert hall Rudolfinum; the second, by Alice Rajnohova and the State Opera Orchestra conducted by Karl Heinz Steffens, opened the new program season of State Opera in Prague.Broadcasts
There were 22 radio broadcasts and several podcasts featuring Kapralova’s music in 2020. Participating broadcasters were from the Czech Republic, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States and included four national broadcasters (the BBC, Radio France, RNZ National, and the Czech Radio). Czech Radio 3 recorded and broadcast Marek Kozak’s live performance of Kapralova’s piano concerto, while RNZ National produced a 50-minute radio documentary on Kapralova’s life and music as part of a series about women composers. The radio series, a brainchild of freelance programmer and musician George Henderson, was presented during Karyn Hay’s late-night show Lately.Publications
In 2020, Czech Radio made available for hire orchestral parts of Kapralova’s cantata Ilena, op. 15 for soli, mixed choir, reciter, and orchestra, while also publishing its choir part (editor Martin Kostas). The Kapralova Society printed a reconstructed score of Kapralova’s first dance from her piano cycle Two Dances, op. 23 in the winter issue of its online journal. Together, they produced an important resource for Kapralova researchers, performers and listeners: the thematic catalogue of the composer’s works. Entitled Vitezslava Kapralova: Tematicky katalog skladeb a korespondence s nakladateli, the publication also includes the final volume of the composer’s collected correspondence (her letters to publishers). While the publication is in Czech, the numerous incipits and scoring use Italian musical terms, thus making it relevant also to non-Czech readers.CD Releases
In 2020, Naxos (Grand Piano series) released a CD recording entitled Pioneers: Piano Works by Female Composers. The recording features Japanese pianist Hiroko Ishimoto and a piano repertoire that also includes the second prelude from Kapralova’s four April Preludes.Articles and Reviews
Last year, two texts contributing to Kapralova research (by Giorgio Koukl and Christine Fischer) were published in the Kapralova Society Journal, in addition to reviews of the composer’s music. Several reviews were also printed in other periodicals. Judith Mabary and George Henderson reviewed Delos’s 2019 release entitled Perspectives, a collection of violin and piano music by Kapralova and other women composers (the reviews were published in the Kapralova Society Journal and the Journal of the IAWM). Chris Trotman reviewed for the Kapralova Society Journal Giorgio Koukl’s recording of Kapralova’s piano works, released by Naxos as part of its Grand Piano series in 2017. George Henderson reviewed Timothy Cheek’s and Dana Buresova’s 2003 recording of Kapralova’s songs released by Supraphon (Kapralova Society Journal). Marek Kozak’s and the Czech Radio Symphony’s performance of Kapralova’s Piano Concerto in D Minor was reviewed by Veroslav Nemec (Harmonie), and Alice Rajnohova’s and the State Opera Orchestra’s performance of Kapralova’s Piano Concerto was reviewed by Katerina Pincova and Veroslav Nemec (Opera Plus, Harmonie).Symposia, Lectures
On January 8–9, 2020, Christine Fisher presented a paper on Kapralova’s orchestral cantata Ilena at the MusicaFemina International Symposium that took place at the Central European University in Budapest. On May 21, 2020, Michael Beckerman gave an online lecture “Czech Music and Infectious Disease” on the impact infectious diseases had on Czech composers Leos Janacek, Bedrich Smetana, Vitezslava Kapralova and their music. On November 6, 2020, Megan Cichon gave a lecture "Examining the forgotten music of Vitezslava Kapralova" during the virtual Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium organized by the Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Women in Music
In 2020 we published the eighteenth volume of the Kapralova Society Journal. The winter issue included Eugene Gates’s feature “Emerging from the Shadows: Maude Valerie White, a Significant Figure in the History of English Song” and Kapralova’s score Dance for Piano, from her unfinished cycle Two Dances for Piano, op. 23. A foreword to the score was written by Giorgio Koukl who reconstructed and recorded the work for Naxos in 2017. The summer issue featured Christine Fischer’s article “Ending Republican Gender Politics: Vitezslava Kapralova’s Cantata Ilena,” based on her paper presented at the aforementioned symposium. The issue also included an article by Tom Moore on pianist/composer Ida Boullée, published as part of our journal series "Women of the 19th Century Salon".
Our women in music internet project continued to attract visitors to the society website also in 2020, with the database of women composers remaining most popular. The number of college libraries that link to our Woman Composer Question bibliography and Kapralova Society Journal has also been growing steadily over the years, attesting to the increased relevance of these resources to young musicians and musicologists. The journal now has its own page on Wikipedia, the bibliography is listed among recommended further readings in a major Wikipedia article on women in music, and our society made a wikipedia list of five pioneer organizations known for their long-term effort to redress gender imbalance in classical music: The International Alliance for Women in Music, Fondazione Adkins Chiti (Italy), Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy (USA), Women in Music (UK), and The Kapralova Society (Canada).
We would like to thank all of those who promoted the composer’s music and memory in 2020:
and all the others: 95bFM Auckland, Arbor, ArcoDiva, Asher Ian Armstrong, Ave Maria Radio Network, Ball State University, Baltimore Musicales, BBC Radio 3, Michael Beckerman, Central European University in Budapest, Megan Cichon, Community School of Music and Arts Mountain View, Czech Center in New York, Czech Radio 3, Czech Radio D-dur, Czech Radio International, Czech Radio Music Publishing House, Daffodil Perspective with Elizabeth de Brito, Peter Davison, Tereza Dubsky, Dvorak American Heritage Association, Ellensburg Community Radio, Christine Fischer, Kath Fraser, Eugene Gates, Harmonie, Karyn Hay, George Henderson, Deal Wyatt Hudson, Hiroko Ishimoto, Janacek Academy of Performing Arts, Journal of the IAWM, Juilliard School of Music, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Martin Kostas, Giorgio Koukl, Lincoln Center New York, Arne Lucker, Odaline de la Martinez, Tom Moore, MusicaFemina International Symposium, Naxos, Veroslav Nemec, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Katerina Pincova, Radio France (FranceMusique), Radio Monalisa, Radio New Zealand National, Radio Prague International, Anne-Charlotte Remond, Sibelius Academy, Robert Skarda, Lucie Slivonova, Stony Brook University Music Department, Terezin Music Foundation, Petroc Trelawny, Chris Trotman, Thea Tullman Moore, University of the Incarnate Word, Marco del Vaglio, VAN Magazine, Viterbo University in La Crosse, James Went, West Texas A&M University, and Sarka Zahradkova.
This report was prepared by Karla Hartl, Chair, The Kapralova Society. Toronto, December 22, 2020.