Vojta Kuchynka

Composer Information: Vojta Kuchynka

Vojta Kuchynka was born on 7 May 1871 in Nove Straseci, Czech Republic and studied double bass at the Prague Conservatoire with Vendelin Sladek from 1885-91, and composition with Antonin Dvorak from 1891-93.

He was accepted into Professor Sladek's class at the age of fourteen and, on his teacher's advice, remained as a student for an extra year to extend his concert and solo repertoire. In 1895 he was appointed 1st Double Bass and Soloist in the Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Folk Art Exhibition Orchestra and at this time also conducted a number of choirs in the Czech capital. Between 1899 and 1933 Kuchynka played in the National Theatre Orchestra in Prague, becoming Principal Bass after the death of Jan Komers, and from time to time worked with the famous Czech Quartet.

Vojta Kuchynka gave solo recitals until the day of his retirement when he celebrated his 600th recital, and was known as 'the Kubelik of the Double Bass.' He was praised for his perfect technique, impressive harmonic work, interpretation and tasteful transcriptions of classical works. Most of his recitals were in Bohemia or Moravia and one Prague concert, reviewed in The Strad by Miss Windust stated "Alongside the brilliant performances of Frantisek Ondricek and Karel Hoffmann it was the admirable virtuosity of Vojta Kuchynka that made the deepest impression on me." He made the first Czech double bass recording for Parlophon, and Prague Radio broadcast recitals of his music to celebrate his 65th and 70th birthdays.

Vojta Kuchynka died on 1 August 1942 in Tabor, Czech Republic and in 1971, on the centenary of his birth and at the instigation of the Czech virtuoso Frantisek Posta, a memorial plaque was unveiled at his birthplace in Nove Straseci.

As a composer Kuchynka wrote more than 140 works, from chamber and orchestral music to songs, choruses and much chamber music. His works for double bass display the technical possibilities of the solo double bass, alongside the emotional and lyrical potential, and the influence of Dvorak and Czech folk music is evident in most of his music.


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