Lukáš Zdeněk

  • Lukáš Z
Year of Birth - Death :
1928 - 2007 †
More info:


The composer and choirmaster Zdenek Lukas graduated from the teaching institute and started his career as elementary school teacher, after several years (in 1953) he got a job at the Czechoslovak Radio in Plzeň. Here he founded (in 1954) the mixed choir Česká píseň (Czech Song) to record for special program of folksongs from the Plzeň district ("Hrají a zpívají Plzeňáci" [The Pilseners Are Singing And Playing]) which he very soon brought to excellence. At the same time he began composing his own music - progressing from simple arrangements of folksongs (mostly form southern and south-western Bohemia) to more sophistical arrangements. Thus he was strongly inspired by folksongs while starting to develop his own compositional style. Lukas was self-taught in composition, and between 1961 and 1970 consulted his works with Miloslav Kabeláč, who largely contributed to the forming of Lukaš's compositional style. Since 1964 (when he moved back to Prague) he has devoted himself almost wholly to composition as a freelance artist. During the sixties Lukas applied some modern compositional techniques in his works, including electronic music, but he found lasting inspiration in Czech and Moravian folksongs. His mature style is characterized by more rational use of medieval modes both in harmony and melody, by the use of most varied metric combinations, as well as by his natural feeling for the colour of sounds. His large output (almost 350 opuses) includes six symphonies, numerous instrumental concertos for various instruments, two full-length operas, chamber music, and a lot of vocal compositions. As choirmaster, he has a perfect understanding of the human voice, and has been able to use all its potentialities in various types of choral pieces, ranging from simple choruses to demanding choral cycles (e.g. The Spring Is Opening), and cantatas. Zdenek Lukas has always paid great attention to the selection of the texts for his settings. He set to music both the verses of modern Czech and world poetry, and also many texts from classical and biblical period. More recently he has also made more settings of liturgical texts (Missa brevis, Liturgical songs, Requiem, Pater noster, Te Deum). Zdenek Lukas has won prizes in many competitions: Parabolae Salomonis (Ernest Bloch International Competition in the USA), Versos d'amor i de comiat (International competition in Barcelona), 5th Symphony (the Premio Citta di Trieste competition), Omittamus Studia, The Spring Has Broken, The Dragoons (various Czech composition competitions).