The JESTED Choir - Past and Present
Of all the choirs in the Northern region, the Jested Liberec Mixed Choir is the largest and richest in history. It was founded more than a century ago, in 1907, and since that time the choir members have met regularly at practices. It enjoyed its greatest success and popularity under the leadership of Dr. Josef Pazderka in the years 1948 to 1979, during which time the choir won first prizes in national and international competitions and festivals (1960 - 1st place in Llangollen, United Kingdom; 1961 - absolute winner in Gisors, France; 1966 - 1st place in Arezzo, Italy; and others). This was followed by a successful period under PhDr. Jiri Holner, who led the choir until 1997.
From 1999, Petr Palka stood at the head of the choir. A new generation of singers again brought Jested success and prizes in competitions and festivals:
1999 - Prize for the interpretation of Chlumec Cidlinou
2003 – winner of the competition Praga Cantat
2004 – winner of the competition of A. Dvorak in Prague
Most importantly, the choir was once again recognized among the mixed choirs in the country, with its record ninety members, and was invited to perform at many concerts, festivals and competitions.
In 2006, after the tragic death of Petr Palka, Jested entered a challenging period. The choir faced demanding projects with Dolnolšski Philharmonic, under several choir masters. Yet the choir was able to maintain a high level and concerts in 2006 met with great audience receptions in the Czech Republic and abroad.
In January 2007 Ještěd acquired two young conductors, Čeněk Svoboda and Zuzana Kubelková. Under their leadership Ještěd substancially expanded the repertoire especially on large and challenging classical and modern choral works: Haydn's The Seasons, Vivaldi's Gloria, Dvorak's Mass in D major - Luanská, Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, a cycle of modern ballads by V. Novák or Lukáš´s Homage to artists among others (see more current repertoire on the page Repertoire).
In October 2009, the choir participated in the 23rd edition of the renowned competition festival Praga Cantat, where they were in competition with choirs from Germany, Italy, Ireland, Croatia, Russia, France, Japan, Mexico and Cyprus achieving very good results:
- Female choirs category: Gold Award and the winner of the category
- Mixed choirs category: Gold Award
- Zuzana Kubelková won the Artistic director of the festival prize for young conductors
Since September 2013 new conductors Ondřej Útrata and Silvie Pálková took charge of the artistic management of the choir. Since mid-2016 the first choirmaster is the young capable Marek Müller.
Jested shows great versatility in its song repertoire: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and many other musical styles, including arrangements of folk songs and jazz compositions.
Jested regularly collaborates with Liberec Theater FX Šalda and the Dolnolšski Philharmonic from Jelenia Góra (PL). It performs various oratorios and masses, has issued various CDs, and has extensive contacts with domestic and foreign musicians (Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and others, France and Switzerland in the last season).
Among the most important things in the life of the choir, however, are its great joy in singing and spending time together, whether on their foreign travels or at regular long weekend rehearsals. This creates a wonderful atmosphere within the choir, which is then transmitted to all who attend Jested’s concerts. And this is, for all singers, the most beautiful reward.