A native of Hradec Králové, Jaroslav Svěcený is one of the most important contemporary Czech violinists and a remarkable figure in the Czech music scene. His career as a soloist began during his studies at the Prague Conservatoire and at the Academy of Performing Arts, where he studied with professors František Pospíšil and Václav Snítil. He completed his education in masterclasses given by the famous virtuosos, Nathan Milstein and Gidon Kremer.
Jaroslav Svěcený is a renowned populariser of violin playing and especially his television, radio and concert projects attract audiences of all age groups.
During his numerous tours and festival performances, he has visited the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Russia, the whole of Europe, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, etc.
He has recorded forty-four CDs of music by both Czech and foreign composers and has been awarded many gold and platinum discs. He was the first Czech violinist to record a CD for SONY CLASSICAL. In 1996 he was awarded a prestigious prize by the Masaryk Academy of the Arts for artistic activity and since then he has been given many other awards. For example, in 2010 he received the Czech President’s Golden Plaque at Prague Castle and in February 2016 he was given an award at the international music festival in Frutillar, Chile.
He is a co-founder of prestigious Czech festivals: Smiřice Music Festival (an Easter festival in Smiřice near Hradec Králové), Klášterec Music Springs at the beautiful chateau in Klášterec nad Ohří, which also includes international summer violin courses; Chodov Fortress Tones in Prague and Kocian Ústí in Ústí nad Orlicí, where he is no longer engaged and has become a patron of the Antonín Bennewitz Festival in Česká Třebová. A new activity of his is a special summer festival project called South Bohemian Nové Hrady, which took place for the first time at the end of July / beginning of August 2016.
His experience as a programme maker and organiser was influenced in 2006 when he performed Bohuslav Martinů’s Violin Concerto no. 2 with the BBC Philharmonic at the opening concert of the Prague Autumn Festival at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague. In consequence, he gained experience abroad, which he used later while developing his concert and festival activities in the Czech Republic.
He has been increasingly active as a composer. In February 2013, he premiered his composition “Strings for NYC” in New York, which he dedicated to the citizens of the city, and received a letter of thanks from the mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Jaroslav Svěcený is also a respected expert in the history of the violin and violin making. His concert project called VIOLINO presents master instruments made by important violin makers of the 17th–21st centuries. He puts special emphasis on the presentation and promotion of the great Czech master luthiers of the 18th–21st centuries. He has recorded a set of six CDs and a DVD, on which he demonstrates the instruments in different compositions and presents the best Czech violin makers in the European context in the rich booklet. In 2009 he organised, to great international response, a two-month exhibition called FAMOUS EUROPEAN VIOLINS at Prague’s Municipal House, which also included concerts at the Smetana Hall and at the VIOLINO classical music club in Prague, which he had founded. On that occasion, he published an exclusive book in Czech and English, FAMOUS EUROPEAN VIOLINS, which features 140 detailed photographs of master violins of four centuries. In 2008 Jaroslav Svěcený was appointed court expert in the area of string instruments and is becoming increasingly renowned as an expert internationally.
An integral part of his work as an artist has always been charity. For fourteen years he has been a patron of Akce cihla, which helps the mentally handicapped. He collaborates intensively with Konto Bariéry, Nadační fond Umění doprovázet (a foundation helping hospices) and has recently become a patron of Dejme dětem šanci, which is an organisation that supports the education and talent of children in children’s homes. He has given free performances at many charity events that helped people affected by natural disasters, for Liga proti rakovině (League against Cancer) and for many other charities.
For more than twenty-five years he has been working on common projects with performers of different genres, which is something that he considers very important for the promotion of classical music among the younger generation. One of his most significant acts in this area is the Vivaldianno project, which he co-founded with rock musician Michal Dvořák (of the legendary band Lucie) thirteen years ago.
He has created a prestigious Czechoslovak concert project, Jaroslav Svěcený and the Gypsy Devils, which originally combines ethnic and classical music, and another project called Ve znamení tanga (Under the Spell of Tango), where he and the excellent accordionist, Ladislav Horák, present all elements of Astor Piazzolla and his contemporaries’ tango nuevo.
Jaroslav Svěcený’s distinct follower is his daughter Julie (b. 1994), who is a winner of the International Radio Competition for Young Musicians Concertino Praga in the violin category.