Váša Příhoda

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Vasa Prihoda with violin, circa 1921

Váša Příhoda (22 August 1900[1][2][3] – 26 July 1960[1][4][5])[6] was a Czech violinist and minor composer. Considered a Paganini specialist, his recording of the Violin Concerto in A minor by Dvořák is still praised.[7][8][9]


Váša Příhoda was born in Vodňany in 1900. His father, Alois Příhoda, was his first teacher and remained so for ten years. Váša studied privately with Jan Mařák (a student of Otakar Ševčík), making his first public concert at age 13, playing the 4th Violin Concerto by Mozart. At age 19 a tour of Italy proved unsuccessful; poverty-stricken, he joined the orchestra of the Café Grand’Italia[10] in Milan to earn money.

There, he was heard by chance by Arturo Toscanini, who arranged a benefit concert for him.[7][11] He resumed his Italian tour, this time to great success. He was said to have been given Niccolò Paganini's own violin on which to play. He toured Argentina,[12] Brazil and the United States in 1920,[13] and the USA again in 1921.[14] He once shared the stage of the Royal Albert Hall with Pablo Casals, but the pairing was considered unfortunate.[clarification needed]

Příhoda gave concerts extensively all over the world and made a number of recordings when the industry was in its infancy. Unfortunately, some of his recordings were not well-produced so the sound quality is poor. He played in the U.S. many times.[15]

He married violinist Alma Rosé in 1930, but they divorced in March 1935 in Czechoslovakia.[16] His second wife was also Jewish.[17] He appeared in two films in 1936: A Woman Between Two Worlds and The Love of the Maharaja.[2] During World War II he taught at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. As he had continued to perform in Germany and German-occupied territories after the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, he was briefly charged with collaboration after the war, and censured by the Czech government.[1][9]

He later taught at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna, where his students included Friedrich Cerha.[18] His students also included the cellist Jascha Silberstein.[19] Vienna was his base of operations for many years though he taught in Prague, Munich, and Salzburg as well.[citation needed]

After 1950, he dedicated most of his time to teaching and he also composed small chamber works, which are no longer played. In 1946 he left Czechoslovakia with his family. He moved in 1946 to Rapallo in Italy and then, in 1948, to Turkey, taking Turkish nationality.[20]

He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1956. This comeback was received most enthusiastically in Prague. He played recitals with pianist Alfred Holeček in the Rudolfinum Music Hall, and performed Dvořák's Violin Concerto in Smetana Hall of the Municipal House during the Prague Spring Festival.[citation needed]

Příhoda composed his own cadenzas to all the concertos he played. Those for the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major have been recorded by Josef Suk.[21] He gave his last concerts in April 1960 and died of heart disease on 26 July 1960, aged 59.[citation needed]

He also wrote a number of minor pieces, such as Slawische Melodie, Caprice and Sérénade, some of which he recorded.All: 16 pieces and one violonkoncert in c mol, opus 16.



  1. ^ a b c Nicolas Slonimsky, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed.
  2. ^ a b Profile, imdb.com; accessed 16 June 2018.
  3. ^ violin mark
  4. ^ errachidia.org
  5. ^ AbsoluteNow.com
  6. ^ Alternative dates appear in the literature: 21 and 24 August 1900; and 25 and 27 July 1960.
  7. ^ a b Music Web International
  8. ^ ArkivMusik
  9. ^ a b "Vasa Prihoda Plays the Dvorak Violin Concerto". Amazon.
  10. ^ "Souvenir of Aldo Ferraresi". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-07-29.
  11. ^ Prone to Violins
  12. ^ El Teatro Colón - Cincuenta Años de Gloria. Buenos Aires, 1958
  13. ^ New York Times, 23 November 1920
  14. ^ New York Times. 19 November 1921
  15. ^ "William Primrose Memoir". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011.
  16. ^ Music as Survival
  17. ^ "Violinists: Recordings and Performances". Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  18. ^ Friedrich Cerha
  19. ^ CD Baby
  20. ^ [1] Tully Potter, booklet for 'Symposium Records' CD 1266, "The Great Violinists – Volume X"
  21. ^ amazon
  22. ^ ArkivMusik
  23. ^ ArkivMusik
  24. ^ Jan Kubelik Society
  25. ^ Video on YouTube
  26. ^ Video on YouTube
  27. ^ Fiddler of the Opera