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Václav Luks

Václav Luks


Václav Luks (b. 1970) studied at the Academy of Music in Prague and subsequently furthered his schooling in the class of Jörg-Andreas Bötticher and Jesper Christensen (historical keyboard instruments) at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. As a soloist or member of various chamber ensembles, he has appeared on many prestigious platforms in Europe and overseas, including Salzburg, Zurich, Davos, Berlin, Dresden, Barcelona, Paris, Warsaw, Prague and Mexico City, among others. He receives regular invitations to work with leading European orchestras specializing in early music interpretation, such as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, or La Cetra Basel, and collaborates with various radio stations (Czech Radio 3 – Vltava, Deutschlandradio Berlin, Schweizer Radio DRS, ÖRF of Austria, or Radio France), and with record labels including Supraphon, Pan Classics, Zig-Zag Territoires, Arta, and most recently, the German label Accent. Recordings of the Collegium 1704 ensemble under his direction have met with a wide response from audiences as well as receiving copious critical plaudits (accumulating distinctions such as the Diapason d´Or of the French magazine Diapason, Editor´s Choice and Disc of the Month of the Gramophone magazine in the UK, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik in Germany, the Coup de coeur from TV Mezzo, TIP from the magazine Harmonie, and others).

            While still a student, in 1991, Václav Luks formed the ensemble Collegium 1704, specializing under his direction in early music. With the ensemble, he introduced at the Prague Spring International Music Festival a highly acclaimed project entitled Bach – Prague – 2005. On that particular occasion, he also set up the choral ensemble Collegium Vocale 1704. In 2007, he conducted the two ensembles in a production of Zelenka´s Missa votiva at major European festivals, including the Prague Spring, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Festival de Sablé, and Festival de La Chaise-Dieu, in France. This production of the Missa votiva established Collegium 1704 on the international scene, and led to regular invitations for the ensemble to appear at Europe´s leading festivals, concert venues and opera houses (the Opéra Royal de Versailles, De Bijloke Ghent, Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, MAfestival Brugge, Händel-Festspiele in Halle, Händel-Festspiele Karlsruhe, Internationale Gluck-Opern-Festspiele Nürnberg, and others). Since 2005, the ensemble has appeared biannually at the Prague Spring Festival, and since 2007 it has been the ensemble-in-residence of the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival in Ostrava. Since 2008, Collegium 1704 has run its own concert series in Prague and Dresden under the motto Prague – Dresden Music Bridge. The idea behind the series linking up the two cities is to foment the renewal of their rich mutual cultural tradition and relations personified most notably by the legacy of Jan Dismas Zelenka as one of the most distinguished figures in the history of Czech music, and at the same time one of the foremost representatives of the Dresden Baroque style. Currently, Václav Luks and Collegium 1704 are initiating, in association with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, a new concert series entitled The Stars of Baroque Opera. In its inaugural season, 2012/2013, the series is featuring singers who have earned repute primarily as interpreters of 17th- and 18th-century music, and have attained international stardom in this field: Véronique Gens, Topi Lehtipuu, Sara Mingardo, Roberta Invernizzi, Sonia Prina, and others. The 2012/2013 season will comprise seven concerts, running from October 2012 through May 2013 in Prague´s Rudolfinum.

            Since 2009, Václav Luks and Collegium 1704 have collaborated with the National Theatre in Prague, for which they created a successful production of Handel´s opera Rinaldo, in co-production with the Théâtre de Caen, Opéra de Rennes and Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, and a French creative team headed by stage director Louise Moaty. The production was declared by Radio France “the finest staging of the year 2010.” Also for the National Theatre, Collegium 1704 under Václav Luks´ direction rendered their account of Vít Zouhar´s incidental music for the production of Julius Zeyer´s play Radúz and Mahulena, staged there by J.A. Pitínský. At present, they are part of a team involved in the making of a new production of Josef Mysliveček´s opera Olimpiade, a co-production between the National Theatre and the opera houses of Caen, Dijon and Luxembourg. Apart from pursuing his concert-platform activities, Václav Luks engages in intensive study of historical music sources from Bohemia, Austria and Germany, as well as of the history of cultural links in the region of Central Europe, and of sources relating to the history of basso continuo performance on keyboard instruments during the Baroque period. Between 1996 and 1999, he taught basso continuo at the Academy of Music in Prague, and from 2001–2003 he lectured at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” Leipzig. He has likewise worked with the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno. Since 2009, he has been a member of the artistic board of the Prague Spring Festival. He is regularly invited to sit on juries of international competitions (Schmelzer-Wettbewerb Melk, Prague Spring 2012).

Update: November 2012