The choir contains over 900 children. Teaching and organising them requires much work and commitment from the large number of people who take care of the children. The choirmasters and mistresses rehearse with the children and prepare them for concerts and theatre performances. The management of the choir ensures that everything runs smoothly – rehearsals, concerts, theatre performances and tours. Last but not least, the children are helped by those who specialize in voice and dance training or in rehearsing theatre productions.
Prof. Jiří Chvála, artistic director and choirmaster
Jiří Chvála graduated from HAMU in Prague with a degree in conducting, and went on to become choirmaster with the Czech Choir (later the Prague Philharmonic Choir) and the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir, which he has headed since 1967. He thus directly continued the exceptional legacy of the choir's founder, Jan Kühn, who was also his professor at the music faculty. He managed the choir's cooperation with distinguished Czech and foreign conductors, directors, chamber groups and orchestral bodies. He has undertaken a number of tours with the choir, including to prestigious festivals at home and abroad on almost every continent, and made dozens of recordings. He has led the choir to victory in a number of international competitions (Neerpelt, Princeton, Tolosa, Wuppertal). Since 1958 Jiří Chvála has taught in the conducting department of the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, in 1986 being appointed professor. Over the course of his long artistic and teaching career he has won a large number of awards, including the František Lýsek Award, the Bedřich Smetana Award, an honorary award (II degree) from the Czech Education Ministry, and an award from the Czech Senate and the Czech Ministry of Culture.
Petr Louženský, choirmaster of the concert choir
Petr Louženský studied flute at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts with Professor Jan Reidelbauch and conducting with Professor Miroslav Košler and Miriam Němcová. He went on to study Hebrew and Arabic at Prague’s Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. He gained a Doctor degree in conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the class of Professor Jiří Chvála and Tomáš Koutník.
He cooperates regularly with Czech orchestras (Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín, Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of South Bohemia, Moravian Philharmonic in Olomouc and others). Since 2009 he has been a choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir. In 2010, with Petr Louženský conducting, the choir was awarded the first prize in the category of children’s choirs at one of the greatest competitions in choral singing in the world in Arezzo, Italy. On the same occasion, Petr was also awarded a special prize for the best conductor of the whole competition. In 2013 he led the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir to victory in the prestigious competition in Tolosa, Spain. In 2015 under his leadership the choir toured with great success Australia and New Zealand (including an educational performance in the Sydney Opera House), the last continent that the choir never toured before.
Světlana Tvrzická, choirmistress of the preparotory choirs
Světlana Tvrzická was born in Moscow. From 1964 – 1974 she attended the English Language School and Children's School of Choral Singing. She then attended the training institute of the Moscow Academy of Music, studying conducting and choirmastership and graduating in 1979. During her studies she rehearsed with the children´s choir of Moscow Radio and TV with Professor Popov. She then started to study at the Russian Academy of Music, in the faculty of conducting - choral singing. At the same time she worked as a choirmistress in the Children‘s Music School of Choral Singing in Moscow. In 1987 she started to work as a choirmistress in the Children's Music Theatre. In March 1988 she moved to Czechoslovakia. In January 1989 she was admitted to the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir, where she works as a choirmistress. In 1999 she moved to Klánovice, where she founded the children´s choir "Claireton Chorale".
Tereza Bystřická, choirmistress of the preparotory choirs
Tereza Bystřická graduated from Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University in Prague with a degree in music education and choirmastership, studying under Professor Jiří Kolář. She gained her first musical and singing experience as a child, being a member of the Prague Philharmonic Children's choir for over ten years. Since 1996 she has worked with the choir as a choirmistress. She currently leads the preparatory divisions, sometimes taking part in the work of the concert division and the preparation of opera performances. In addition to this long-running work, she has worked with a number of other musical bodies (Laetitia Praha, the Prague Teachers' Choir, Canti di Praga). Since 2010 she has been the artistic head of the children's choir Svítání (Dawn) at the Štefánkova art school in Prague 5. Teaching and other specialist activities form a major part of her professional life. She regularly teaches singing and voice training in the choir. She is a member of the Nipos-Artama specialist council for children's choral singing and the Union of Czech Choirs. She also helps to organise the international festival of children's choirs "Garden of Song" and is regularly invited to participate in the juries at choral competitions and festivals.
Zdeňka Vaculík Erlebachová, choirmistress of the Kühňátka and preparatory choirs
Zdeňka Vaculík Erlebachová studied at the Conservatory in Pardubice and the Business Academy at Vysoké nad Jizerou. For several years she was a member of the vocal and instrumental group ReBelcanto and soloist in the Baroque ensemble Sarabande, which in 2008 gained first prize in the international competition Concerto Bohemia in Prague. She has also worked as a soloist with the Chamber Philharmonic in Pardubice, the Opera Studio in Pardubice and at the same time with the preparatory division of the boys' choire Bonifantes. She is currently studying classical singing at AMU in Prague with Libuše Márová, and is a soloist in the Academy Opera Studio in Prague. She works as a voice consultant for Iuventus Cantans in Pardubice and as a choirmistress for its preparatory division, Sluníčko. She also appears from time to time in concerts and cultural programmes on Czech Television and regional television. In 2010 she won the role of the mother for the international project Pietro e Lucia (directed by D. Rapoš), in which soloists from the Milanese opera La Scala and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra also took part.
Marie Papežová Erlebachová, choirmistress of the Kühňátka, piano
Marie Erlebachová studied piano at the conservatory in Pardubice with Jana Mičulková and Pavlína Klokočníková, and is currently studying piano at master's level at AMU in František Malý's class. In 2012 she started to study conducting at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory under the leadership of Professor Hynek Farkač. She has taken part in a number of international masterclasses both in the Czech Republic and abroad. She has won international competitions for solo piano, piano duet and melodrama interpretations. She is also involved in the musical rehearsal of opera projects at HAMU's opera studios. Since 2007 she has worked with the children's choir Iuventus Cantans. Over the years she has worked with the children's choirs Bonifantes, Kalandra and Mládí, with which she has gained many awards at significant festivals and choir competitions. In 2008 she won the special jury prize at the Porta Musicale Nový Jičín National Children's Choir Competition for the best piano accompaniment. She has worked with children of preschool and school age since 2008, when she led the youngest preparatory division of the boys' choir Bonifantes, and since 2010 has been involved in leading the preparatory division of the Iuventus Cantans choir "Sluníčko", where she works with children aged between 3 and 9.
Karolína Koňaříková, choirmistress of the Kühňátka and preparatory choir
Karolína Koňaříková gained a Master degree at the Pedagogical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague in music education and choir conducting. She studied conducting with Marek Valášek and Jaroslav Brych. As a flutist she cooperated with the National Gallery in Prague in a special project In the hour of man. She is choirmaster of the concert department of Prazska kantilena children’s choir, Prazska kantilena girl’s choir and mixed choir Ajeto. She won numerous awards in choir competitions abroad with both departments of Prazska kantilena (in Belgium, Germany or Hungary). She also works as instructor of the Czech Orff Society, she takes part in international masterclasses and workshops and she regularly leads seminars for music teachers and music workshops for children.
Eliška Hrubá Toperczerová, vocal consultant, director
Eliška was for many years a member of the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir, which gave her a love of singing and the theatre. She studied singing at AVU, graduating from Professor Hájossyová's class in 1995. During her time at AVU she worked with the Prague Chamber Opera and also made guest appearances at the City Theatre in Ústí nad Labem. In the same theatre she also made her directorial debut (F. Lehár – Land of Smiles), which she had already produced at AMU under the leadership of professors O. Ševčík and J. Kačer. She has won awards at the Ema Destinnová international singing competition in České Budějovice, in 1998 winning outright. In 2000 she made a guest appearance with the State Opera as Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague. She has worked with the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir as a voice consultant and director since 2005. Amongst other things, she has produced premieres of children's operas by Jiří Teml (The Emperor's New Clothes – 2006, Puss in Boots – 2009, The Devil and Kates – 2012) and the children's productions of Animals and Robbers by Otmar Mácha and Václav Trojan's Beetles. Her dramatisation of Jan Jakub Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass and its adaptation for the preparatory divisions has become part of the repertoire of the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir and is much loved by audiences.