MILAN SVOBODA Composer, conductor, band leader, jazz pianist
Milan Svoboda is one of the leading personalities on the Czech musical scene. He gained international renown as a jazz pianist and band leader. His composing and conducting skills span a wide range of styles, including modern jazz, musicals, film, theater and contemporary classical music. Milan Svoboda was born in 1951 in Prague. He graduated from the organ class at the Prague Conservatory, studied musicology at Charles' University in Prague and composition at the Prague Academy of Music and at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA. In 1974 he founded his first jazz orchestra, the PRAGUE BIG BAND, which made a name for itself in the history of both Czech and European jazz. As a conductor and arranger Svoboda later led the combined Czech/Polish Big Band, which featured the finest soloists of both nations. In 90'th he led succesfull young jazz orchestra CONTRABAND. He currently conducts again a creative Milan Svoboda Jazz Orchestra - Prague Big Band and his own Milan Svoboda Quartet. Svoboda has performed throughout Europe as well as overseas with his big bands, his quartet, his duo and as a soloist, he played at numerous jazz festivals and has an extensive discography to his credit (25 albums). He worked with many important jazz figures, including James Moody, Tony Lakatos, Aaron Scott, Phil Wilson, Sonny Constanzo, Victor Mendoza, Sigi Finkel, Jiř�- Stiv�-n and many others. As a composer, Svoboda also works for theater, film and television. He wrote music for an original musical based on Boris Vian's novel ”The Foam of the Days”, and a full-length ballet ”Mowgli” which was performed at the National Theater, Prague. Svoboda wrote music for many feature films (e.g. Karel Kachyna's ”The Last Butterfly” or Samuel Fuller's ”Day Of Reckoning”), animated movies and documentary films, television plays and over seventy theater dramas and musicals. He has been regularly cooperating with Prague National Theater's Drama Company for which he wrote music for fourteen plays including Hamlet, Faust, Peer Gynt and The Lion In Winter. As a conductor Svoboda rehear-sed and conducted big musical shows such as Foam of the Days, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Les Miserables. At present Milan Svoboda composes also chamber and orchestral music for classical ensembles, e.g. Concerto Grosso for violin, piano and string orchestra and the “Mowgli Ballet Suite” for symphonic orchestra. He cooperates with leading classical musicians. Among others he played and recorded with the Virtuosi di Praga and violinist Pavel Šporcl and on several occasions conducted the North Czech Philharmonic. The cellist Ji�- Bárta is a regular guest of Svoboda's Quartet. Svoboda has been invited to cooperate with other jazz orchestras (including KRO Hilversum Orchestra and Jugend Jazzorchester Sachsen) and taught big band and orchestral workshops (e.g. Leverkusen Jazz Days, Dortmund, Musikhochschule Dresden). From 2006 he is a conductor and artistic leader of new Rudolfinum Jazz Orchestra (members of Czech Philharmonic and leading jazz soloists). For the past several years Svoboda has been Professor of Composition and Jazz Harmony at the Jaroslav Jezek Conservatory in Prague.