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Vaclav Neumann (1920 - 1995)

Václav Neumann’s family was musical: he learnt the violin as a boy, and played chamber music while at school. Although he was a student of history, musicology and Czech philology, because the Czechoslovakian universities were closed during World War II, he entered the Prague Conservatory, where he studied the violin with Josef Micka and conducting with Pavel Dědeček and Metod Dolezil. In 1941 Neumann became a founder member, with Antonín Kohout, of the chamber music group which later became known as the Smetana Quartet: initially he was its first violin, and later took over the viola position. The quartet began to give concerts from 1945, the year in which Neumann also joined the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; however when the orchestra’s chief conductor, Rafael Kubelík, fell ill in 1948, Neumann substituted for him with success, and his career as a conductor was launched.



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