Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Jílek, František

(b Brno, 22 May 1913; d Brno, 16 Sept 1993). Czech conductor. He studied under Jaroslav Kvapil and Chalabala at Brno, and Novák at Prague. He was a répétiteur with the Brno Opera (1936–9) and then conductor of the Ostrava Opera (1939–48) where the director, Jaroslav Vogel, was an authority on Janáček. Jílek returned to the Brno Opera in 1948, becoming head of opera (1952–78). There he continued the Janáček tradition and was instrumental in producing the complete operas at the 1958 festival. The première of Fate won special acclaim, along with From the House of the Dead, pioneer performances of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel and War and Peace, and Martinů’s The Greek Passion. After retiring from the Brno Opera he was chief conductor of the Brno State PO (1978–83), where he continued to specialize in the works of Janáček and Novák, and in contemporary music. Jílek also appeared in many European centres, often giving the first local performances of Janáček. His interpretations were characterized by detailed working of the score, fusing timbre and expressiveness into a musical and dramatic whole. He taught conducting at the Janáček Academy in Brno, and wrote ‘Poznámky k instrumentaci Janáčkových oper’ (Notes on the instrumentation of Janáček’s operas) for the JAMU collection (Brno, 1965).

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