Tomáš Kopáček


In Czech Philharmonic
since January 1997

Also plays in
Czech Philharmonic Jazz Band

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His father was a clarinettist in the Czech Philharmonic when Karel Ančerl was the chief conductor in the 1950s and 60s and also played in the famous Karel Krautgartner’s saxophone section of a popular big band. With the help of his father, Tomáš Kropáček began to discover the specifics of playing the clarinet both in the realms of classical as well as jazz music. He strives to continue the work of his Czech Philharmonic predecessors including Vladimír Říha and Karel Dlouhý as well as the methodology of the Czech clarinet school, while approaching it in the light of new aesthetic and technological demands.

He studied with Professor Jiří Stárek and Pavel Chramosta at the Prague Conservatory and with Professor Jiří Hlaváč at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He won the 1st prize at the Czech Conservatories Competition and succeeded in the international competition Concertino Praga in 1989. The Hindemith Foundation then selected him to attend the masterclass with Professor Hans Deinzer in Vevey (Switzerland). During his university studies, he won the Yamaha European Music Foundation scholarship and was invited as a soloist to Hochschule für Musik in Vienna and Guildhall School in London in 1994. He was the principal clarinettist of PKF – Prague Philharmonia in 1994-1995 under chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek.

As a soloist, he has appeared alongside the Czech Philharmonic, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Theatre Chamber Orchestra and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. He did the premier recordings of 20th century compositions by M. Ištván, V. Kalabis and A. Berg for the Czech Radio and has participated on many other CD both as a soloist and a chamber music player. He also takes interest in jazz music. He won the special award of the jury at the International Jazz Festival in Přerov (Czech Republic) in 1988. Karel Velebný then invited him to cooperate with his legendary jazz ensemble SHQ. He performed the solo part in Alexej Fried’s Triple Jazz Concerto, has cooperated with the Rudolfinum Jazz Orchestra and Ferdinand Havlík Swing Band. He is a founding member of the Czech Philharmonic Jazz Band, for which he likes to compose and create jazz arrangements.

He enjoys spending his free time in his garden under the Czech mountain Říp, which is said to be the place where the first people who came to the Czech lands decided to settle down. He grows edible plants, various chilli peppers in particular.