Zuzana Ruzickova 85th Birthday Celebration at HAMU

From the Dvorak Society:

Zuzana Růžičková is world famous as a harpsichordist, with many prizes, honours and hundreds of recordings to her credit – not least the complete works of Bach on disc which she values most.  She is well-known to and loved by many of our members.  An important jubilee – her remarkable 85th.birthday – fell on 14th.January this year.  Last year, on 27th.July, she received the Charles IV Cultural Prize in Aachen, Germany, an honour which is only bestowed on the most important personalities.  At the ceremony she made a memorable speech in which she spoke of her life but primarily of her close affinity to Bach.

Aachen was appropriate for her also for its association with Charles IV in Czech history and for being the birthplace of the man who was instrumental in saving her life in Terezín and Auschwitz.  Then on 10th November she received an honorary doctorate from the music faculty of the Prague Academy, where again she delighted the guests with a speech full of character and wit. On January 16th the Prague Spring Festival together with the Terezín Initiative – (in memory of the WWII concentration camp for Czech Jews) organized a concert in her honour at the former St.Lawrence church, now a Prague Spring concert venue.

Music heard by the packed hall included works by J.S.Bach, W.F.Bach, Viktor Kalabis (Zuzana Růžičková’s late husband) and an amusing short cantata by Aleš Březina.  The delightful concert was for the most part delivered by her former pupils, now established artists in their own right: Václav Luks, Monika Knoblochová and Vojtěch Spurný, their trio of harpsichords being joined at the end by the chamber ensemble Collegium 1704 with soprano Irena Troupová.

Zuzana Růžičková is at present working hard on the legacy of her composer husband Viktor Kalabis and she continues to be highly regarded as a harpsichord virtuoso and teacher of the instrument.  As a charismatic figure who has had to cope with many difficult situations during her life (some of them matters of bare survival in concentration camps at Auschwitz, Hamburg and Birkenau) she remains a remarkable example of the indomitable human spirit.  She remains active in organizing the Prague Spring international harpsichord competition and with the Czech Chamber Music Society, as well as working for the building of a new concert hall in Prague.  She has prepared a draft biography in English of her late husband which we shall expand and publish as a Society Occasional Publication to mark the 90th anniversary of Kalabis next year.   To mark her special birthday, Supraphon has issued a two CD set of her playing works by Bach, Scarlatti, D., de Falla, Kalabis, Poulenc, Rychlík and Martinů.