Mgr. Jaroslav Brych – Artistic Director
Jaroslav Brych (1964) served as the chief conductor of the Prague Philharmonic Choir between 1996 and 2004. His journey to this prestigious post began in Pardubice where, in addition to studying the French horn at the local academy of music, he devoted himself to conducting a children’s choir. He continued his musical studies at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts with a focus on orchestral conducting; he was a student of Václav Neumann as well as Josef Veselka, his famous predecessor at the head of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. Jaroslav Brych also attended many of the master courses led by Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart.
From 1984 to 1997 he functioned as the choirmaster of the Charles University Choral Ensemble, from 1987 to 1994 he was conductor and Chief Conductor of the Czech Army Symphony Orchestra, and from 1992 to 1993 he conducted the Opera Mozart Company in Prague. He was appointed second choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir in 1994, served as its principal choirmaster in the years 1996–2005, and then conducted the Prague Chamber Choir from 2006 to 2012.
Jaroslav Brych currently heads the Foerster Chamber Choral Association; he works with the Prague Philharmonic Choir, the Kühn Choir of Prague, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice and other Czech orchestras. In addition to his orchestral and choral conducting commitments, he teaches at the Prague Academy of Music, the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague and the Pardubice Conservatoire.
PhDr. Luboš Hána, Ph.D.
Luboš Hána is an assistant professor at the University of J. E. Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem. During his university studies he specialized in choir directing, music theory and pedagogy.
Besides teaching, he has also served as the director of NONA Chamber Choir since 2002, a group of choristers chosen from the students of the University of J. E. Purkyně. Outside of the school grounds he directs a mixed adult choir, Ventilky Jirkov. Both of the above mentioned choirs have won numerous prizes at international festivals (Malta International Choir Competition, Festival of Songs Olomouc, IFAS Pardubice, Internationaler Chorwettbewerb Austria etc.).
Luboš Hána is often invited to lecture at workshops and courses (Bohemia Cantat, Franco-German Forum for Young Artists in Bayreuth) and is a member of many choir festival juries.
In 2007 Luboš Hána founded Jirkovský Písňovar, an international choir competition focused on popular and jazz choir music.
MgA. Michal Hájek
Michal Hájek is a young and energetic choir director. He studied conducting at the Academy of Music and Fine Arts in Prague, as well as sacred music conducting at Charles University in Prague.
He has worked with top Czech adult choirs, such as the Prague Philharmonic Choir (choir director), the Prague Mixed Choir (assistant choir director), Oktet, Bohemiachor etc. In 2009–10 Michal Hájek studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and participated in many choir masterclasses (Ragnar Rasmussen, Anders Eby, Gustav Sjökvist). He also conducted a number of seminars and choir workshops. In 2010 Michal won the prize for “Most popular choir director” at the International Choir Directors’ Competition in Riga, followed by the first prize at the International Competition of Choir Conducting in Budapest and the special prize of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat in 2011. Michal Hájek is often invited to participate in festival juries (Opava Cantat, Jirkovský Písňovar etc.)
Jürgen Partaj was born in Vienna into a family of music enthusiasts and so came into early contact with the Austrian choral and music scene. Initially he was active purely in the field of classical music in solo Violin but his concert activity gradually shifted towards crossover. His musical career is complemented by performances with Oscar winner Glen Hansard. Besides his musical activities Jürgen Partaj graduated in law with a focus on arts law and founded a music agency in 2000 that specialized in international orchestral and choral tour management. Jürgen Partaj had the opportunity to work with outstanding musicians such as Elina Garanca, Annette Dasch and Julian Rachlin, and with choral conductors such as Erwin Ortner, Robert Page and Simon Carrington. Jürgen Partaj founded the “Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival” in 2007 together with the Association Via Musica – a festival for youth choirs and youth orchestras from all over the world. As intendant and artistic director till 2017, he annually created over 200 music events in Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. With the establishment and the artistic direction of the youth choir “Neue Wiener Stimmen” in 2010 Jürgen Partaj was able to make a lasting impression in his hometown. Despite its short existence the Neue Wiener Stimmen can already look back on tours in Austria and abroad, CD and DVD recordings, performances in the most important concert venues in Vienna and acclaimed projects like with RSO Vienna or the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra round off the diverse activities of the choir. Neue Wiener Stimmen was elected as “Choir of the Year 2016” by the Chorforum Wien. Jürgen Partaj was nominated for cultural manager of the year in the German-speaking countries in 2013. He is working with the Austrian Composers Society and is teaching at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Since 2018 Jürgen Partaj is Permanent Chairman of the Jury of the Florence Music Festivals and is much sought after as a jury member and advisor of international music competitions.
Janka Rychlá graduated from the piano at the Žilina Conservatoire and from conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She also attended a six-month scholarship stay in Paris (1983–4), where she studied polyphony under Philippe Caillard and completed a conducting course taught by the world-renowned choirmaster Eric Ericson.
After earning her degree she was engaged as the choirmistress and art director of the Child and Youth Choir of Slovak Radio in Bratislava (1984–2003), with which she presented Slovak culture at concerts, festivals, and competitions both at home and abroad (France, Spain, German, Portugal, Austria, Italy). She was also active as the repetiteur (1985–6) and choirmistress (1989–90) of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir and collaborated with a number of vocal ensembles in Slovakia and abroad. In July 2003 and 2004 she served as choirmistress at the European Academy of Choral Singing in the French Pyrenees.
She is the conductor and art director of the Pressburg Singers from 2004; she regularly performs with the ensemble on concert stages, at festivals and competitions throughout Europe (Croatia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia). She is a juror of international choir contests (Jihlava International Choral Festival, etc.). In 2012 she was the art director of the Prievidza Sings International Choral Festival. She served as the chairlady for Slovakia at the International Young Choir Festival Summa Cum Laude in Vienna for four years.
In May 2013 she rehearsed and conducted the world premiere of the children’s opera OASIS by Tsippy Fleischer in English (direction: Pavel Smolík, choreography: Elena Záhoráková, set and costume design: Lucie Šedivá).