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Roman Blahník (born February 2, 1897, Plzeň – died December 23, 1966, Prague, Czechoslovakia) was a Czech composer, pianist and conductor. While attending the Gymnasium in Plzeň, Roman studied piano with Stanislav Suda. From 1913-1915, he continued his music studies at the Prague Conservatory of Music in organ. During World War I, he joind the military service in Hungary as a harpist and accordionist.
 
Upon returning from the military, he graduated from the composition department in the class of Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1921) from the Prague Conservatory. Here he had private piano studies with John Herman, and composition with Josef Suk amd Jaroslav Řídký.
 
Between 1921-1922, he worked as an accompanist at the theater in Plzeň. With a quartet he traveled to Egypt and Spain and worked as a pianist and band leader of hotel orchestras.
 
Some of his songs achieved international success. During his studies with Josef Suk, he composed Suite in Nature (1934) which was performed in Prague (1943), Oslo and Munich.
 
Parisian radio and television presented him an award for his song, “Legenda 56,” in 1956. His compositional output, however, was primarily focused in the area of entertainment and dance music, eg. the foxtrots, “Who can you tell me?,” “Great Miracle,” and ‘Before You To to Sleep.”
 
His repertoire lists at least six operettas and film music written between 1937 and 1940, eg. Virginity, Master and Servant, Undefeated Army, Night Butterfly, and Auntie.
 
There are also several selections for concert band, eg. Klatovy; March and Dance on Ice which have been updated for use by symphonic bands today.
 
 
Note from editor, Joel Blahník, USA composer, conductor and music educator—
 
A 1965 visit to Czechoslovakia rewarded me with contacts to my ancestral family who emigrated from the Chodsko region. I was informed of Roman Blahník who was a very popular Czech composer during the 1920-1950 era.
 
During successive trips, I experienced some of his music and then felt the need to find his son, Roman Jr. which became a reality in 2010. We became instant friends and from his father’s Prague archives, we selected two band compositions which I felt would be good additions to the repertoire for bands today.
 
“Klatovy March” (“Pochod”) is an exquisite short march written with wonderful tonal colors. It honors one of the King’s cities in the Šumava region of Southwest Bohemia.
 
“Dancing on Ice” (“Na ledě tanec) exhibits a unique harmonic flavor with contours of sound begging to be danced.
 
It is full of life and imagination providing a unique sound palette. It is easy to see why Roman Blahník had the gift to write film music as well as that for entertainment and for the classical stage. It is a scintillating sound excursion providing variety to any band concert.

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