API Logo blue and red

Alliance Publications

Jiří Ropek (born July 1, 1922, Prague, Czechoslovakia and died June 27, 2005) studied organ with Professor B. A. Wiedermann for 10 years (1941-1951) who profoundly influenced his musical development through his studies at the Conservatory of Music (1946), Charles University (1950), and the Academy of Music (1951). Jiří’s life as a concert artist begain in 1950 when he began giving organ recitals in his homeland and then since 1960, in most European countries, having performed regularly in Russia, Holland Germany, England, etc., as well as in Israel. His concerts have been recorded and boradcasted by the BBC, the French, Belgian, Dutch, Latvian and West German radio stations. He has been a guest at the International Organ Festival in Bonn, performed at the Bach Festival in Bath, and gave two concerts in Mexico City during the 1968 Olympic Games. He was the first Czech organist to play in the Royal Festival Hall and Westminster Cathedral in London.

 

It was Professor Wiedermann who introduced him to the organ at the Basilica of St. James (Svatý Jakub) in Prague where he has been the resident organ ever since 1950, a post he still holds. In addition, he had been professor of organ at the Conservatory of Music in Prague until his retirement. Dr. Ropek is thoroughly at home on this, the largest organ in the Czech Republic at St. James Church with its four manuals and 95 stops.

 

The 40-years of Communism were not kind to the careers of organist-composer/church professionals. Even though they were allowed to play concerts abroad to bring back Western fees to help support the system, opportunities of publishing and recording sacred music were rare, if at all. Dr. Ropek maintained his contacts with the Church even when it would have been politically expedient not to do so. His loyalty certainly held back the recognition that he deserved in his native land. He received his reinstatement doctorate from Charles University in 1991, forty-one years after the fact. On October 8, 1994, Dr. Jiří Ropek was also given the distinction of being admitted to England’s Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists.

 

As a composer, Jiří Ropek is widely known for his choral and organ music, some of which has been published in England, including the “Variations on Victimae Paschali Laudes,” “Toccata and Fugue for Organ,” “Introduction and Fugue for Trumpet and Organ,” and Sonatas for various solo instruments: flute, trumpet, oboe, violin and organ. Among his compositions are also church music for soloists and choirs, masses, etc.

 

The most recent compact disc recording of Ropek’s music entitled, Jiří Ropek, Composer and Organist, was produced in 1995 by the Czech Republic label, Multisonic (LC 6595). It features organists John Scott, Jan Kalfus, Pavel Cerny, James Kibbie, as well as Ropek himself performing “Toccata for Organ,” “Missa Brevis,” “Homage to the Anonymous,” “Partita for Organ on Adoro Te Devote,” “Christmas Fantasy for Organ, Mixed Choir and Orchestra,” “Fresco for Violin and Organ,” and “Toccata and Fugue for Organ.”