Vítězslava Kaprálová

24/01/1915 Brno, 16/06/1940 Montpellier, Francie  

Vítězslava Kaprálová was born into a family of musicians. Her mother was a voice teacher (she studied with Kristýna Morfová, a soloist of the Brno opera company and, later on, the National Theatre in Prague), her father was a pupil of Leoš Janáček. Her parents ran a music school in Brno. Vítězslava Kaprálová first studied composition and conducting at the Brno Conservatory. She rounded off her training at the Prague Conservatory, where she attended the master classes led by Vítězslav Novák and Václav Talich. She graduated with the Military Sinfonietta, Op. 11, which she performed with the Czech Philharmonic in the autumn of 1937 and a year later conducted at the opening of the 16th International Society for Contemporary Music Festival in London. In the autumn of 1937, she enrolled at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where she studied with Charles Munch. While in the French capital, she also took lessons from the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů, with whom she established a close working and personal relationship. The promising career of Vítězslava Kaprálová, a prolific composer and gifted conductor, was cut short by a serious illness. To escape the approaching Nazi forces, in late May 1940, her husband, the Czech writer Jiří Mucha (the son of the globally celebrated painter Alfons Mucha), took her from Paris to Montpellier, where she soon passed away. The cause of her death is yet to be clarified.