According to a Czech saying every Czech is a musician. While this isn’t necessarily true for everyone, the fact is that the Czech Republic has produced an impressive number of world-famous musicians in the past and it continues to do so in the present. You might know the work and maybe even the name of some of them. Here are some of the contemporary Czech musicians.
Varhan Orchestrovič Bauer
We start with this excentric and charismatic conductor and composer. He composes scenic and movie music and he conducted the London Symphonic Orchestra in Miloš Forman‘s Goya’s Ghosts. He also composes advertisement music and themes, for example the ceremony music for the 2004 Czech movie awards Český lev.
He’s known not just for his unusual outfits but also his name, although his real name Dan Bauer is far less eyebrow-rising.
Iva Bittová started as an actress but quickly made her name in the world of music and became one of the internationally-known Czech musicians.
Her iconic movie role was Eržika in the 1979 Balada pro banditu (A Ballad for a Bandit) but later her career path led her more towards what she studies – singing and violin. She plays music of many styles from experimental jazz through rock and classical music. In 2004 she played Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the Carnegie Hall.
She received US-citizenship in 2020.
Irglová was the surprise of the Academy Awards in 2007 together with her then-boyfriend, the Irish songwriter and singer Glen Hansard. They received an Oscar for their song “Falling Slowly” for the movie “Once”.
After breaking up with Hansard she married the American bass guitar player Tim Iseler whom she divorced in 2013. She’s been living in Iceland since 2012 with her husband Sturla Mio Thorisson and their three children.
Jarek Nohavica is a songwriter and guitar and heligonka-player and one of the Czech musicians whose fame has been constant during decades. He is famous for his extraordinary creativity and songs that comment on politics and current events both tragically and comically.
Nohavica has a very unique style and usually sings with a typical accent of Ostrava where he comes from. He also starred in several movies and many documentaries.
He released many solo albums and he often colaborates with other artists on folk-music projects.
Jan Pokorný or Pokáč is a newly risen star on the Czech musical sky. He is often compared with Jaromír Nohavica for his unusual talent in songwriting. He became widely famous thanks to self-promotion on Youtube and he writes songs for other Czech musicians, for example the band Mirai.
His songs are full of wit, exaggeration, sarcarm and irony. He often comments on current events such as the covid quarantine or politics. He plays the guitar and ukulele.
Mikolas Josef, who is sometimes called the Czech Justin Bieber, is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer.
He spent some time playing music in the streets of Oslo, Hamburg or Vienna and produced his first song releases himself. Josef finished 6th in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisabon and his popularity sky-rocketed.
He sings in Czech, English and Spanish.
Ewa Farna became a huge success in Czech Republic when she was only 13. She is rock and pop singer from Český Těšín who performs in Czech and Polish.
Ewa Farna won a series of awards and had many succesfull singles before she even reached the age of 15 and is still one of the most popular Czech musicians under 30.
She speaks the Cieszyn Silesian dialect with her parents and siblings. It is a mixture of Czech and Polish typical for the Těšín (Cieszyn) region.
Jaroslav Svěcený is not only the most famous Czech violin virtuoso but also an active promoter of classical music. Besides playing violit he is also an expert in violin construction and in historical violins.
He has recorded more than 40 albums. His daughter Julie follows in his footsteps.
Pavel Šporcl is another Czech violinist who became famous not only among his peers but in the international general public as well. The scarf wearing musician from České Budějovice studied in the USA and regularly performs all around the world.
Šporcl often performs at charity events.
This charming lady from Brno is one of the most prominent opera singers. Her mezzosoprano astonishes people all around the world in pieces like Bizet’s Carmen or Dvořák’s Biblical Songs. She released more than 20 albums. Kožená interprets especially Baroque and Classical period operas, however, she has appeared in Romantic and contemporary arrangements as well. She is married to the British conductor Simon Rattle.
Discover more about the Czech music scene here.