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Libor Pešek (b1933)

Libor Pešek studied conducting, piano, cello and trombone at the Prague Academy of Music, where his teachers included Ančerl, Neumann, and Smetáček. In an interview with Bill Newman he has given wry memories of this period: ‘As my deceased colleague Zdenĕk Kosler remembers: “I was a self-taught person from the class of Professor Smetáček.” We were all there, but the professors never attended the classes—they were all away conducting…What the Academy gave us was time to be around music in Prague where Karel Ančerl was an enlightened, lucid person, a perfectionist when rehearsing the orchestra…Ančerl was an excellent conductor who was generous enough every second or third week to invite the big maestros of the world. We pupils experienced Erich Kleiber, Charles Munch, George Szell, all paraded in front of us. They were all different, and in those days Czech Philharmonic rehearsals started on Saturday and went on to Thursday when there was the first concert. There were five rehearsals for each concert, and we had time to watch and see how things should be done. Sir John Barbirolli came, and also brought the Hallé Orchestra. Except for Toscanini and Walter, they were all there.’



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