Friday, 20 July 2018

Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková dies

ČTK |
29 September 2017

Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) - Czech award-winning harpsichordist and music teacher Zuzana Ruzickova died after a short serious illness in hospital at the age of 90 years on Wednesday, Ales Brezina, from the Viktor Kalabis endowment fund, has said.

Ruzickova, who was often referred to as the first lady of harpsichord, was the wife of composer Kalabis (1923-2006).

She won fame for her performance of Johann Sebastian Bach. She recorded Bach's complete works on 35 CDs.

Ruzickova, a soloist of the Czech Philharmonic in 1979-1990, received a number of music awards.

Ruzickova, born on January 14, 1927, started playing the piano at the age of nine.

After the Nazi occupation of the Czech Lands in 1939, she was expelled from a grammar school for her Jewish origin. In January 1942, she and her family were deported to the Nazi internment camp for the Jews in Terezin (Theresienstadt), north Bohemia, where she was in contact with other imprisoned musicians, and then to the extermination camps in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

After the war, Ruzickova studied piano at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) and later harpsichord at the AMU as well as in Paris.

In 1956, she won a competition in Munich and started her music career lasting for decades. As a renowned harpsichordist, she travelled round the world giving concerts together with Czech violinist Josef Suk.

She was also teaching the piano and harpsichord both in Prague and at the music academy in Bratislava. However, only in the mid-1980s, she succeeded in making the harpsichord a regular main study field at the AMU. She was appointed professor in 1990.

She was giving master classes in Europe, for instance in Zurich, Stuttgart and Sofia, as well as in Tokyo.

Ruzickova won a number of awards, including the prestigious Paris Grand Prix du Disque Academie Charles Cros four times.

She received a medal of merit, second degree, from the Czech president and the French title Knight of Arts and Literature in 2003. In 2011, she was presented with the Charles IV Cultural Prize for her international artistic activities and admirable life philosophy in Aachen, Germany.

Most recently, Ruzickova won the new Classic Prague Award in January and Culture Minister Daniel Herman named her the Dame of Czech Culture in February.

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