Seidel, Jan, Czech composer; b. Nymburk, Dec. 25, 1908. He was first attracted to architecture and graphic art, and also attended Alois H´ba’s classes in quartertone composition at the Prague Cons. (1936–40); then took private lessons in theory with J.B. Foerster for a more traditional musical training. He was a composer, conductor, and pianist in E.F. Burian’s Theater; acted as artistic adviser to the recording firm Esta (1938–45) and the Gramophone Corp. (1945–53); was chief of the Opera of the National Theater (1958–64); then served as dramatic adviser there. In 1976 he was made a National Artist by the Czech government. His String Quartet No. 2 is in the quarter tone system, but most of his music is based on folk-song tradition according to the doctrine of socialist realism.
DRAMATIC : Opera: Tonka Šibenice (Tonka the Gallows; 1964). orch.: Sym. No. 1, Prologue (1942); 2 oboe concertos (1955); 2 orch. suites from the film The Piper of Strakonice (1956, 1958); Loveck´ sinfonietta (Hunting Sinfonietta) for Horn and Small Orch. (1965–66; Prague, March 14, 1973); Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Piano (1966); Giocosa (1972). CHAMBER : 4 string quartets: No. 1, with Soprano (1930), No. 2, with Narrator (1940), No. 3, Chrysanthemums (1943), and No. 4 (1944); 2 wind quintets (1941, 1946); Violin Sonata (1950). VOCAL : 3 cantatas: Call to Battle (1946), May Prelude (1952), and Message to the Living (1953); also numerous patriotic choruses and songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire