Concert and Conference in Zurich

  • Friends,

    the 40th Early Music Festival in Zurich takes place next month, with the focus being on Leipzig and Dresden. For the many Swiss Zelenka fans this festival promises a double treat. First, the absolutely irresistible Ensemble Inégal will open the festival on 3 March with a selection of Zelenka’s Vespers. And second, on 16 March a conference dedicated to our composer is held at the Musicology Institute of the Zurich University. The preliminary program looks good:

    10.30–13.00 Uhr Musikwissenschaftliches Institut der Universität Zürich, Florhofgasse 11, Seminarraum

    10:00–10:15: Begrüssung und Einleitung

    10:15–11:00: Jóhannes Ágústsson (Reykjavík)
    Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Early Years in Dresden (1711–1714): New Sources, New Insights

    11:00–11:45: Thomas Hochradner (Salzburg)
    Musterschülerschaft? Überlegungen zu Jan Dismas Zelenkas Studien bei Johann
    Joseph Fux

    11:45–12:30: Václav Kapsa (Prag)
    Mapping the Bohemian Network of Jan Dismas Zelenka. Overview and Perspectives
    for Further Research

    --- Pause ---

    13:15–14:00: Angelika Moths (Zürich)
    Geistlich wider Willen – Modale und satztechnische Besonderheiten in den Mess- und
    Psalmvertonungen von Jan Dismas Zelenka

    14:00–14:45: Laurenz Lütteken (Zürich)
    Eingebildete Affekte? Anmerkungen zu Zelenkas Hipocondrie

    14:45–15:30: Adam Viktora (Prag)
    Zwischen den vielen süßen Früchten des Mandelbaums: Werke von Jan Dismas
    Zelenka aus der Sicht eines Musikers

    Entrance is free. For more info see the website of the festival:

    I will be presenting some nice new sources so do drop by!


  • Dear Msl,

    it was a fabulous conference. Great to get a fresh new perspective from the Swiss scholars and here I include the contribution of Dr. Esma Cerkovnik, who organized the conference and gave a fantastic introduction, which was a remarkable paper itself and set the tone for the proceedings. And Adam's paper was an eye opener on all fronts – he approached it not as a musicologist but as the musician who has worked all these years on Zelenka and the challenges he and his ensemble have faced when interpreting the music. I am hoping that the papers will be published, we should know in the coming months.

    As for my contribution, well, I presented some new hard Zelenka sources. But I set out with a certain theme, namely that the composer was hired in Prague in July 1711, thus taking further this idea first put forward in my co-written article with Janice Stockigt: Recent Research etc., as published online in Clavibus Unitis in 2015. It was very tempting to interpret two recently discovered sources (from 2021 and 2023) in such a way that these findings supported this idea. So, roughly half of my paper focused on the events leading up to the travel of August the Strong and his son, Kurprinz Friedrich Christian, to Prague in the first week of July, their time in the Bohemian capital and what followed.

    However, I am now pleased to report that following my incredibly successful research in Dresden last week, this idea has completely collapsed and it feels great to have this egg on my face, having fried it there myself. In short, I have uncovered several new Zelenka documents, one of which is a historic find. Of course this calls for further digging in the vast collections of the Dresden archives to place this new information into context, and hopefully there will be time to update the (possible) conference article if and when the time comes.

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