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Vítězslava Kaprálová

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Vitězslava Kaprálová (January 24, 1915; Brno - June 16, 1940, Montpellier) was a Czech composer and conductor. She began composing at the age of nine and at fifteen she entered the Brno Conservatory. She graduated with an award-winning Piano Concerto that she conducted herself. In 1935 she moved to Prague and continued her musical education at the Prague Conservatory, attending the masterclasses of Vítězslav Novák (composition) and Václav Talich (conducting). In 1937 she received a scholarship to study in France, at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, and became a pupil of Charles Munch (1937-1939) and briefly also of Nadia Boulanger (spring 1940?). She also studied composition as a private student of Bohuslav Martinů (1937-1939) whose Harpsichord Concerto she conducted in Paris (1938). Her award-winning Military Sinfonietta, premiered in Prague in 1937 by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by the composer, opened the 1938 ISCM Festival in London. At this occasion, Kaprálová conducted the work with the BBC Orchestra. Following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 Kaprálová decided to stay in exile in France. In April 1940, she married the writer Jiří Mucha. Only two months later her marriage and musical career were cut short by her tragic death in Montpellier, allegedly from miliary tuberculosis.

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