František Sláma (musician)

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František Sláma
Birth nameFrantišek Sláma
Born(1923-11-19)November 19, 1923
Herálec, Moravia, Czechoslovakia
DiedMay 5, 2004(2004-05-05) (aged 80)
Říčany, Czech Republic
InstrumentsCello, viola da gamba
Years active1946–1997

František Sláma (November 19, 1923 – May 5, 2004) was a significant Czech chamber music performer. He was the first Czech cellist who focused on Early music.


He was born in Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. Until the age of 18 he worked in the quarry. His meeting with the famous Czech cello pedagogue Karel P. Sádlo proved to be a turning point in his life. Sádlo supported him, introduced him to the cello (1941) and tutored him for the Conservatoire (1942–1948, cello with K. P. Sádlo, chamber music with Václav Talich). Between 1948-52 Sláma completed his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. By this time he had already been a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (1948–1981, since 1962 sub-principal cello and cello section leader).

The legendary conductor Václav Talich encouraged Sláma's enthusiasm for chamber music and had, along with K.P.Sádlo and later Milan Munclinger, a lasting influence on Sláma's musical development. During the next 45 years Sláma performed with leading chamber ensembles in Czechoslovakia. In 1946 he was a founding member of Talich's Czech Chamber Orchestra, between 1953-1976 the viol da gambist of Pro Arte Antiqua (one of the oldest European ensembles focused on medieval and Renaissance music) and between 1954-1997 a member of the ensemble Ars Rediviva, whose performances and recordings played an important role in the revival of the Baroque music in Czechoslovakia.

With these ensembles he made a large number of recordings (with Supraphon, Panton, Columbia, DGG, Ariola, Nippon, etc.), which received several awards both in Czechoslovakia and abroad (e.g. Grand Prix du Disque). He participated also in first performances of modern compositions (e.g. Ilja Hurník: Sonata da camera, Jan Tausinger: Evocations).

Pedagogue and publicist[edit]

Since the 1970s he was a teacher at the Conservatoire in Prague. He also wrote about music and musicians, cooperated with Czech Radio (e.g. introduced Jordi Savall to the Czech audience).
In 2001 his book "Z Herálce do Šangrilá a zase nazpátek" (“From Heralec to Shangrila and Back Again”) was published - reminiscences about the Prague music scene between the 1940s and the 1990s as well as about Sláma's musical colleagues, conductors (Talich, Barbirolli, Cluytens, Karajan, Kleiber, Klemperer, Kletzki, Kubelík, Maazel, Mackerras, Markevitch, Matačić, Mravinsky, Münch, Pedrotti, Rozhdestvensky, Sawallisch, Stokowski, etc.) and other personalities whom he had met (e.g. Adorján, André, Fournier, Honegger, Mainardi, Menuhin, Milhaud, Navarra, Nureyev, Oistrakh, Rampal, Richter, Szeryng, Sudek, Tortelier).

František Sláma archive[edit]

František Sláma archive collection donated to his native village Heralec consists of more than 5000 negatives and photos, over 150 hours of authentic recordings and documents about Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Talich, Milan Muclinger, Ars Rediviva, etc. Live recordings of Ars Rediviva performances in Rudolfinum are also deposited in the Czech Music Museum (see: External links).


  • Koláčková, Ivetta (2004–2005). "František Sláma". Rudolfinum Revue. Praha (Prague): Česká filharmonie. 4 (1): 47.
  • Vašatová, Jana (2001–2002). "Filharmonikové v souboru Ars rediviva (Ars Rediviva's 50th anniversary)". Rudolfinum Revue. Praha (Prague): Česká filharmonie. 1 (1): 33–34.
  • Tyler, Sean (1998). International Who's Who in Music and Musicians. Sixteenth Edition. Cambridge: IBC.
  • Pâris, Alain; Jean-Yves Bras; Pierre Breton (1995). Dictionnaire des interprètes et de l´interprétation musicale au XX siècle (in French). Paris: Laffont. ISBN 2-221-08064-5.
  • Československý hudební slovník osob a institucí, II (in Czech). Praha: State Music Publishing. 1965.
  • Kozák, Jan (1964). Českoslovenští hudební umělci a komorní soubory (in Czech). Praha: State Music Publishing. pp. 427, 454, 479.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]