Rudolf Pekárek

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Rudolf Pekárek (24 February 1900 – 26 October 1974) was a Czech-Australian conductor.[1][2]

In 1934 he founded the Prague Symphony Orchestra, giving work to many unemployed musicians. It was known as the FOK Orchestra (Film – Opera – Konzert), or the FOK Salon Orchestra or sometimes Pekárek's Salon Orchestra.[3] At the beginning the ensemble made its living by intensive recording of music for films, and only later changed its focus to presenting the standard repertoire in concert.[4] It first played on radio on 29 December 1934.

As a Jew, Pekárek was imprisoned in 1942 during the German occupation during World War II. He was forced to work in Polish mines.[3] He escaped the Germans in 1944, joined the Czech Army of Liberation and survived the war (see Resistance in German-occupied Czechoslovakia).[5] In October 1948 he emigrated to Sydney, Australia on the Ugolino Vivaldi.[1][6]

Pekárek was broadcast on Adelaide radio station, 5AD, in September 1949 when conducting the South Australian Symphony Orchestra with Clement Q Williams as soloist.[7] By November of that year he was appointed as a conductor for the ABC Orchestra of Western Australia.[3][5] Later it became the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, which he also conducted.[8]

In 1954 he became chief conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 1967.

He died in 1974, in Brisbane.

The annual Rudolph [sic] Pekarek Oboe Prize at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University was established in his honour, the prize money being paid from his estate.[9]

A collection of his biographical cuttings is held at the National Library of Australia [10]


  1. ^ a b "Digital Item Page Gallery: K1331, 1954/PEKAREK R". National Archives of Australia. 25 May 1998. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  2. ^ Jewish Cemeteries
  3. ^ a b c "To Conduct in Perth". The West Australian. 65 (19, 736). 18 October 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Pragur Symphony Orchestra
  5. ^ a b "Children to Hear New WA Conductor First". The Daily News, Home. LXVII (23, 250). 18 October 1949. p. 14. Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Song Quest Final On 5 AD A.B.C.'s Show Broadcast". The Advertiser. 92 (28369). 10 September 1949. p. 9. Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Item details: SP722/1, 63 – ABC Concert Programmes". National Archives of Australia. 19 November 1997. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  9. ^ Griffith University
  10. ^ National Library of Australia Catalogue