Spilka, František, Czech choral conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Štěken, Nov. 13, 1887; d. Prague, Oct. 20, 1960. He studied at the Prague Cons. with Stecker, Knittl, and Dvořàk. In 1918 he was appointed administrative director of the Prague Cons. He established the Prague Teachers’ Choral Society in 1908, of which he remained choirmaster until 1921, and gave concerts with it in France and England; later directed the Prague singing ensemble Smetana. Spilka developed, together with Ferdinand Vach, a new approach to choral performance, emphasizing sound color.
DRAMATIC: Opera: Starà pràva (Ancient Rights; 1915; Prague, June 10, 1917); Cain or The Birth of Death (1917). ORCH.: Rhapsody (1896); Overture (1897). CHAMBER: 6 Sonnets for Violin and Piano (1944); Rhapsodic Sonata for Cello and Piano (1946); numerous piano pieces. VOCAL: Jan Hus at the Stake, oratorio (1907); Miller’s Journeyman, cantata (1947); choruses; songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire