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Vitezslava Kapralova
Birth: Jan. 24, 1915
Death: Jun. 16, 1940

Composer, Conductor. An exceptional Czech musician in the years between World Wars I and II. Although she died at 25, she left a substantial body of work and became one of the first internationally recognized female conductors. Kapralova was born in Brno, Moravia, and began music lessons at age nine with the encouragement of her father, composer Vaclav Kapral. She attended the Brno Conservatory from 1930 to 1935, winning top honors for her Piano Concerto in D minor (1935), and then spent two years at the Prague Conservatory in the master class of conductor Vaclav Talich. In 1937 she went to Paris to complete her education, studying composition with Bohuslav Martinu and conducting with Charles Munch. Martinu became her lover and mentor. At 22 Kapralova made her name with the "Military Sinfonietta" (1937), which won Czechoslovakia's prestigious Smetana Prize. It was chosen to open the 1938 International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Festival in London, with the composer leading the BBC Symphony. She also made guest conducting appearances with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (the first woman to do so) and over Czech and French radio. When Hitler occupied her homeland in 1939 Kaprolava elected to remain in Paris as a refugee; the French government recognized her propaganda value and in December 1939 they broadcast her "Christmas Prelude" for orchestra throughout war-ravaged Europe. Shortly after her marriage to poet Jiri Mucha she fell ill, either from miliary tuberculosis or peritonitis, and died on the day France fell to the Nazis. In 1949 her ashes were returned to Brno and buried in a grave of honor. Kapralova left some 50 compositions, 25 with opus numbers. Considering they are all "early works", they are amazingly assured and distinctive, notable for their vigorous use of polytonality and melancholy lyricism. She had a considerable reputation during her lifetime and over the years was faithfully championed by Martinu, conductor Rafael Kubelik, and pianist Rudolf Firkusny; but her tragically early death amidst the chaos of World War II, and the fact that she was a woman in male-dominated spheres of classical music, conspired to keep her in obscurity. Only in the late 1990s were her accomplishments given their proper due. Since then much of her music has been republished and recorded. Her finest works include a String Quartet (1936), "April Preludes" for piano (1937), the cantata "Ilena" (1938), the "Suita rustica" for orchestra (1938), the Concertino for Violin, Clarinet, and Orchestra" (1939), and a number of fine art songs. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Burial:
Central Cemetery
Brno
Jihomoravsky (South Moravia), Czech Republic
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Nov 13, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 22880370
Vitezslava Kapralova
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Vitezslava Kapralova
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
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