Nelhybel, Vaclav, Czech-born American composer and conductor; b. Polanka nad Odrou, Sept. 24, 1919; d. there, March 22, 1996. He studied composition and conducting with Ridky’ at the Prague Cons. (1938–42) and musicology at the Univ. of Prague (1938–42); in 1942, went to Switzerland and took courses in medieval and Renaissance music at the Univ. of Fribourg. He was affiliated with the Swiss Radio (1946–50); then was music director of Radio Free Europe in Munich (1950–57). In 1957 he settled in the U.S., becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1962; subsequently evolved energetic activities as a lecturer and guest conductor at American colleges and high schools. As a composer, he was especially notable for his fine pieces for symphonic band. His harmonic idiom was of a freely dissonant texture, with melorhythmic components gravitating toward tonal centers. Among his works are A Legend, opera (1953–54), Everyman, medieval morality play (Memphis, Oct. 30, 1974), and The Station, opera (1978); also the ballets In the Shadow of a Lime Tree (1946) and The Cock and the Hangman (Prague, Jan. 17, 1947).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire