JITKA ČECHOVÁ – piano
Jitka Čechová completed her piano studies at the Prague Conservatory (Prof. Novotný) and continued at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Prof. Toperczer). Her individual musical gifts were then developed to their full during postgraduate studies under Eugen Indjic in Paris and Vitali Berzon in Freiburg. She acquired further experience during her research studies at master classes given by Rudolf Kehrer in Weimar, and Eugen Indjic and Lazar Berman in Piešťany.
Jitka Čechová has been the laureate of numerous international competitions – International Chopin Competition in Marianske Lazne, International Smetana Competition in Hradec Kralove, International Hummel Piano Competition in Bratislava, International Chamber Music Competition in Detmold.
She has been the subject of critical acclaim as a soloist in many European countries as well as overseas (South Africa, South America and Japan), where she cooperates with prominent orchestras (such as Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK, Symphony Orchestra SWR, South German Philharmonic Orchestra Konstanz, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Prague Chamber Philharmonia, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Radio Orchestra Montevideo, and Symphonic Orchestra Durban) and gives both solo and chamber performances. She is regularly invited to prestigious international stages and festivals (including Prague Spring, Graz, Paris, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Baden-Baden, Bodensee Festival, Český Krumlov, Moravian Autumn, Edinburgh, Bamberg, Janáček May, Ticino Musica).
Chamber music is an indispensable component of Jitka Čechová's musical identity. She brings a full emotional commitment to bear to her role as pianist in the Smetana Trio, supported by the brilliant technical basis of her solo metier. Within the Smetana Trio partnership she also plays chamber duets with her partners in the Trio (Jiří Vodička – violin, Jan Páleníček – cello) and performs solo pieces as part of the Trio's chamber music repertoire.
The focus of Jitka Čechová’s repertoire is on works by the Czech composers – Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, and Martinů. She has given two concerts consisting of works by Smetana at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Zdeněk Lukáš dedicated his Third Piano Concerto to her, which she premiered with spectacular success during her concert tour of Germany with the Symphony Orchestra Südwestfunk (cond. Petr Altrichter).
Jitka Čechová has made a number of recordings for the labels Intercord, BMG, Lotos, and Cube. In 2014 – in the year of Bedrich Smetana´s jubilee – she finished her recording of the complete piano works by Bedřich Smetana for Supraphon (8 CDs), a project that has collected awards by major music critics and magazines both at home and abroad – Diapason, Répertoire, International Record Review, and Harmonie. Recently she made a recording of all three piano concertos and concertino written by Josef Palenicek in the cooperation with the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (cond. Ronald Zollman and Stanislav Vavrinek). Presently she is cooperating on the large project of the complete sonatas recordning by Domenico Scarlatti for the Czech Radio.
She has given master classes in Prague, London, the Northern College of Music in Manchester, Brasilia and Campos do Jordao in Brazil, the Colburn School University in Los Angeles, Eau Claire in Wisconsin, and in Luxemburg.
“..Jitka Cechová’s profound experience and feeling for this repertoire is evident throughout. Her blend of rhythmic spontaneity and subtle reflection imbues these relatively slight works with a remarkable depth reaching heights of eloquence in the elusive Three Poetic Polkas, Op. 8. She is also very much in tune with the harmonic sophistication of Smetana’s music – try, for example, the Rhapsody from op. 5. Excellently recorded, this CD is a very distinguished addition to a fine series.”
BBC Music Magazine, Jan Smaczny
“..She displayed a superb technique and performed all the delicate finesses of the composer's pleasantly flowing concerto with exactly the bravura that this type of romantic work calls for and which we expect from it. We were thus able to witness a brilliant performance, intensified by the seamless interplay between the piano and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducted with a clear overall view by Zdeněk Mácal..”
Hudební rozhledy, (Musical Scope), Hana Jarolímková
“… The electrifying performance of Jitka Čechová obliges us to listen to Smetana in a new and fresh way. Her extreme technical brilliance in the chromatics and remarkable changes of mood make this recording one of the most striking and captivating performances of Smetana's works (…) Čechová effortlessly pours out torrents of notes, maintains perfect purity of musical line, and radiates immense energy, particularly in the thunderous octaves of the explosive conclusion. She devotes herself equally to detailed, delicate work and the rippling arpeggios of the Concert Etude in G sharp minor By the Seashore, in which she conveys an absolutely enchanting picture of the turbulence and everlasting movement of the ocean…”
International Record Review, Peter Quinn
“…Čechová presents a version which is worthy of one of the best performers in the field of this surprisingly rich music, and her interpretation is full of poetry in every phrase (…) A perfect recording, whose many qualities make it worth discovering this unjustly neglected repertoire...”
5 Diapasons, Diapason, France, Philippe Simon
"...Jitka Čechová explosive technique (...) is stunning...”
"...With an enormous energy, stress on rich inner phrasing and on a magnificent gradation current at the closing part...with full technical as well as poetic engagement in terms of the most difficult repertoire too."
Hudební rozhledy (Musical Scope), Prague
“... a fascinating insight into the composer´s soul (...) a mettlesome expression with all features which belong to B. Smetana´s music language ...”
The Herald, Edinburgh, Scotland
"...a brilliant pianist equipped with great technical mastery, that is fully in service of the inner content of the music...it´s a pity not more pianists take the Czech literature with such an enthusiasm and art..."
Newsletter, London, England
"...A great musical event...a young pianist raised an exaltation storm...enormous tension at phrase building, brilliant innate technique, refined pedal, nuanced touch on piano...a real treat in one word (Smetana)...real sound miracles, vivid, mellow and soulful though, without a dust warp (Chopin)...a performance full of natural music art..."
Kronen Zeitung, Graz, Austria
"...an artist effulging a spontneous joy of the play...an expression full of plasticity and strength...a subtle culture of the touch connected with phenomenal virtuosity..."
Frankfurter Neue Presse, Germany
"...a temperament young Czech lady has left no wish unfulfilled...a wide range of expression, from the wild demonic to gentle cantilenas, nuances evoking the sounds of the orchestra, an outstanding sense of inner dramaturgy..."
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany
"...The soloist Jitka Čechová enraptured over 1 200 music favourers in an unbelievably high-quality acoustics of the Mercedes – Benz factory hall, where she with an accompaniment of The SWR Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of P. Altrichter recited the 3rd piano concerto by Z. Lukáš dedicated to her by the author..."
“With a big elegance she underlined the profundity and breadth of this composition. She played the difficult passages with a grand facility, brilliant and masterly. In the microcosmos of her sound she picked us up to the unearthly heights.”
Schwarzwälder Bote, Freiburg, Germany
"...Liszt‘s Mefisto alias Jitka Čechová brilliantly and with creative ardour with an accompaniment of the Bamberg Symphonicians..."
Fränkischer Tag-Bamberg, Germany
“…A witches' coven of pianists (…) Jitka Čechová animated the dark visions of virtuoso romanticism with a satanic fervor, fully understood the characteristics of theatrical vision, and was able to make full use of her virtuosity to express the content in a figurative way …”
Konstanzer Kulturleben, Germany
"...an admirably concentrated and soulful performance...by the Schumann poetics styled dialog between the soloist and The SWF Symfonic Orchestra a picture of the great pianist Clara Schumann unwittingly came back to our minds..."
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