Program - Czech Composers

Online catalogue

Czech Composers

Jiří Kolafa

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 88 min

The biggest expert on music for animated films among Czechoslovak composers, Jiří Kolafa (1930–2001), was yet another classically educated composer with a master’s degree (Prague Conservatory, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). He wrote many compositions, four oratorios, chamber music, five song cycles, and over 300 productions for theatre, film and television. Apart from recording music, conducting orchestras and writing musical theory papers, he also lectured at the Theatre Faculty and the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague from the 1960s. He worked on at least 80 short authorial films and composed music for nearly 150 episodes of various series. He worked with directors such as Václav Mergl and Břetislav Pojar – he composed the music for almost all their films from the 1970s onwards. He also worked on 10 films with Garik Seko. His music can be heard in all the iconic films by Vladimír Jiránek. His passion for animation (and music) was manifested among other things in the selfless help he gave the students of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Jiří Kolafa’s filmography includes basically just music for animated films, in which he truly achieved mastery. His clear focus thus makes Kolafa unique in our cinema. The number of soundtracks also makes him the most prolific composer of music for Czechoslovak animated film.

Fairy Amálka – How She Met Curly the Ram

Director: Václav Bedřich, Czechoslovakia, 1975, 8 min

There Was Once a Miller on the River

Director: Jiří Brdečka, Czechoslovakia, 1971, 10 min

Why People Fear Hares

Director: Jiří Tyller, Czechoslovakia, 1980, 5 min

Shooting Range

Director: Miroslav Štěpánek, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 5 min


Director: Václav Mergl, Czechoslovakia, 1970, 11 min

The Face

Director: Jiří Brdečka, Czechoslovakia, 1973, 3 min

The Hen

Director: Lucie Dvořáková, Czechoslovakia, 1984, 4 min

The Volcano

Director: Garik Seko, Czechoslovakia, 1978, 7 min

Visit Prague

Director: Pavel Koutský, Czechoslovakia, 1983, 8 min

Life of Pianos

Director: Jan Mimra, Czechoslovakia, 1981, 9 min

Beer across the Street

Director: Václav Bedřich, Czechoslovakia, 1974, 4 min

The Apple Tree Maiden

Director: Břetislav Pojar, Czechoslovakia, 1973, 14 min
Jiří Kolafa

Tu 6/10/2020
Cinema City - Hall 5

Fr 9/10/2020
free seats: 97
Varšava Cinema

Jaroslav Celba

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 60 min

For many people, Czech animation is connected to the Bedtime Stories series. When talking about music in this context, most viewers instantly remember the melodies from Fairy Tales from Moss and Fern and Poppy-seed Girl and Butterfly Emanuel. These melodies immortalised composer Jaroslav Celba (1924–2013). He studied at the Czech Technical University and the Charles University in Prague. From 1953 to 1957, he attended evening courses of composition and conducting at the Prague Conservatory. He was tutored by Emil Hradecký. Celba was a person whose musical talent was practically developed, as he himself was an active jazz bass guitar player. Viewers know him thanks to his work on many animated films and in particular his collaboration with directors Zdeněk Smetana and Václav Bedřich. He is the record holder in terms of the number of animated series he worked on (the total number amounts to at least 34!). His compositions are inspired by folk and popular music and modern jazz. They are “simple” in the best sense of the word, well arranged and very accessible for children as well as grown-ups. In the field of artificial music, he composed chamber, scenic, vocal and orchestral compositions.

Tales from Moss and Fern – How They Took the Egg Sledding

Director: Zdeněk Smetana, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 8 min

Story of the Tabby Cat

Director: Jaroslav Boček, Czechoslovakia, 1977, 9 min

Juliet and Romeo

Director: Zdeněk Smetana, Czechoslovakia, 1971, 5 min

Poppy-seed Girl and Butterfly Emanuel – Poppy-seed Girl and Sputter the Cannoneer

Director: Václav Bedřich, Czechoslovakia, 1978, 8 min


Director: Zdeněk Smetana, Czechoslovakia, 1963, 7 min

The Postman who Wouldn’t Walk

Director: Jan Ungrád, Czechoslovakia, 1976, 7 min

Shepherds Grazed Sheep – Kubko and Maťko Making Friends with a Bear

Director: Ladislav Čapek, Czechoslovakia, 1972, 6 min

Oh, Shetlands

Director: Jaroslav Boček, Czechoslovakia, 1978, 10 min

Jaroslav Celba

We 7/10/2020
free seats: 98
Varšava Cinema

Fr 9/10/2020
free seats: 366
Grandhotel Zlatý Lev

Zdeněk Liška

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 84 min

Even though Zdeněk Liška’s (1922–1983) focus was a bit wider than just music for animated films (unlike e.g. Jiří Kolafa), he is undoubtedly an unparalleled expert in film music. Liška exhibited his talent from early childhood and later studied composition at the Prague Conservatory. Juraj Herz said that as a composer, Liška simply “did what he wanted” which only testifies to the level of respect that Liška achieved. Herz thus got entirely different music than what he wanted, but he usually humbly accepted it. In the beginning, Liška’s work for animation was rather traditional (the orchestra had a supporting role and not a characteristic meaning-bearing relation to the plot). But Liška gradually developed his own unmistakeable style of “film music sui generis” characterised among other things by distinct usage of electroacoustic music. In the 1950s, Liška became established as a leading film music composer. From the very beginning of his career, he was tied to the Zlín school (he lived in Zlín in an architectonically interesting villa). In 1946, he worked on the first of several episodes of Mr. Prokouk by Karel Zeman, on whose “partially animated” films Liška worked as well. Zdeněk Liška was also the preferred music composer of Hermína Týrlová and later also significantly participated in films by Jiří Švankmajer (for instance the mannerism-inspired Historia Naturae or the Castle of Otranto).


Director: Karel Zeman, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 11 min

Et Cetera

Director: Jan Švankmajer, Czechoslovakia, 1966, 8 min


Director: Hermína Týrlová, Czechoslovakia, 1947, 7 min


Director: Antonín Horák, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 10 min

Historia Naturae

Director: Jan Švankmajer, Czechoslovakia, 1967, 9 min

The Knot in the Handkerchief

Director: Hermína Týrlová, Czechoslovakia, 1958, 14 min

The Flat

Director: Jan Švankmajer, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 13 min

From the Diary of Tomcat Blu-Eyes – Me and My Biped

Director: Hermína Týrlová, Czechoslovakia, 1974, 12 min
Zdeněk Liška

We 7/10/2020
free seats: 86
Varšava Cinema

Fr 9/10/2020
free seats: 91
Varšava Cinema

Jan Rychlík: The Creation of the World

Eduard Hofman | France, Czechoslovakia | 1957 | 80 min | CS

Apart from the famous Creation of the World by Eduard Hofman, Jan Rychlík (1916–1964) composed music for more than 60 films. Among the most popular ones are Lemonade Joe or Horse Opera, Music from Mars and many others. Between 1940 and 1945, Rychlík studied composition at the Prague Conservatory under the tutelage of Jaroslav Řídký and in 1946, he graduated from the so-called master school of the Prague Conservatory. As for classical music, he first began composing in a neo-classicist style and in the 1960s, he started inclining towards New Music (following the Second Viennese School etc.). To this day, he is acclaimed among professionals as a significant composer played and recorded all over the world. Rychlík was also an active drummer in the Karel Vlach Orchestra and an outstanding piano player. His most famous work for an animated film is the mentioned soundtrack of Eduard Hofman’s animated feature. Rychlík’s jazz and “rock’n’roll” music gave the Creation of the World a very dynamic feeling. It was actually a “suburban folklore” melody. As a whole, the film gives the impression of a musically-dramatic revue sequenced into individual acts. The jazz music was recorded by the big band of the Karel Vlach Orchestra.

The Creation of the World

Director: Eduard Hofman, Czechoslovakia, 1957, 80 min

Jan Rychlík: The Creation of the World

Th 8/10/2020
Lidové sady / Czech TV Hall

Wiliam Bukový

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 70 min

Wiliam Bukový (1932–1968) was born into a family of Slovak Jews that had to go into hiding in 1942 and all its members changed their surnames from Brühl to Bukový after the war. In the 1960s, Wiliam Bukový focused on concert music and mainly ballet in which he demonstrated his interest in experiments with electronic music. His innovative electronic ballet Faust composed to his own libretto premiered in 1966 in New York. Bukový experimented with elements of musique concrète (concrete music), which he would use in composing film music. In his short life, he managed to cement his place in Czech cinema by composing varied and modern scores for approximately seventy films which often gained international renown. He was a popular choice among directors of live action and documentary films, and he collaborated with many artists outside of Czechoslovakia. Many viewers probably know him thanks to his work on the legendary series Hey Mister, Let’s Play. He developed a fondness for animation thanks to his collaboration with Břetislav Pojar, with whom he worked on seven films and the aforementioned series. Their collaboration started with the Lion and the Song, a classic film of world animation. Work on this film won Bukový an award at Annecy. He also collaborated with Josef Klug and Zdeněk Miler – he composed the music for the acoustically and musically remarkable film Little Mole and his Little Car. His film music is characterised by originality, lightness and strong melodiousness. Wiliam Bukový also utilised his melodic inventiveness in compositions for popular singers.

Hey Mister, Let’s Play – You Don’t Sniff Princesses

Director: Břetislav Pojar, Miroslav Štěpánek, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 14 min

The Nightingale and the Rose

Director: Josef Kábrt, Czechoslovakia, 1967, 10 min

The Magician

Director: Ivan Renč, Pavel Hobl, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 11 min


Director: Břetislav Pojar, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 9 min

Spiteful Frolics of Life

Director: Josef Kluge, Czechoslovakia, 1964, 12 min

The Lion and the Song

Director: Břetislav Pojar, Czechoslovakia, 1959, 14 min

Wiliam Bukový

Th 8/10/2020
free seats: 98
Varšava Cinema

Sa 10/10/2020
free seats: 217
Cinema City - Hall 5

Luboš Fišer

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 77 min

Thanks to his very popular compositions, internationally acclaimed author of classical music Luboš Fišer (1935–1999) has cemented his place in the history of Czech cinema. He worked on more than 300 films and he was as prolific as Zdeněk Liška. He shaped the form of many iconic live action films (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Adela Has Not Had Her Supper Yet) and series (Arabela). The mark he left on animated film is equally as substantial and connected mainly to directors Ivan Renč and Václav Bedřich. He supplied the required monumentality and exaggeration to their films. The diversity of his focus is expressed in his collaborations with Miroslav Macourek, Adolf Born and Jaroslav Doubrava – Fišer wrote the title song for their series Mach and Šebestová. He also worked with Zdeněk Miler creating an extraordinary score for an episode of the Little Mole and providing his Helgoland Romance with a sensitive soundtrack. Fišer also worked on the co-produced puppet series about Krakonoš. As an example of his mastery, we can name his composition for the film Maryška and the Wolf’s Castle. Finally, let us also mention a parody on pulp literature that our festival is also screening – Deadly Perfume by Václav Bedřich, in which rhythmic ostinatos of a cembalo and percussions support “terrifying” melodies of brass instruments.

Fire in Noodledom

Director: Václav Bedřich, Czechoslovakia, 1973, 10 min

Mole and the Transistor Set

Director: Zdeněk Miler, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 8 min

The Lighthouse Keeper

Director: Ivan Renč, Czechoslovakia, 1967, 11 min

The Deadly Perfume

Director: Václav Bedřich, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 9 min

Hugo and Bobo

Director: Adolf Born, Jaroslav Doubrava, Miloš Macourek, Czechoslovakia, 1975, 12 min

Albrecht Dürrer’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Director: Josef Kábrt, Czechoslovakia, 1976, 4 min

Mach and Šebestová – About a Torn Off Reciever

Director: Adolf Born, Jaroslav Doubrava, Miloš Macourek, Czechoslovakia, 1976, 8 min

Maryška and the Wolf’s Castle

Director: Vlasta Pospíšilová, Edgar Dutka, 1979, Czechoslovakia, 15 min

Luboš Fišer

Th 8/10/2020
free seats: 98
Varšava Cinema

Sa 10/10/2020
free seats: 91
Varšava Cinema

Václav Trojan

Jiří Trnka | Czechoslovakia | 75 min

Václav Trojan (1907–1983) was undoubtedly one of the most important composers at the dawn of Czech animation. In 1945, he began to collaborate with the doyen of Czechoslovak animation Jiří Trnka and composed the music for most of his classical works such as Trnka’s iconic feature films: The Czech Year – a cycle of film sequences depicting traditional customs and tales, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Andersen’s Emperor’s Nightingale and the immensely funny The Good Soldier Schweik. Trojan was tremendously talented and a virtuoso composer. He finished his university studies under the tutelage of the famous Vítězslav Novák. As the son of a photographer, Trojan had a keen eye for connecting music to a specific environment and, in his later career, he focused on scenic music. He used classical orchestra, but we can find some electronic sounds in his work. From a historical point of view, we see a unique symbiosis of filmmaker and composer. And also unprecedented “loyalty” – Trojan composed music almost exclusively for Jiří Trnka.

My Grandfather Planted a Beet

Director: Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1945, 10 min

Legend About St. Prokop (from the Czech Year)

Director: Jiří Trnka, 1947, Czechoslovakia, 15 min

The Hand

Director: Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 18 min

The Devil’s Mill

Director: Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 21 min

The Nightingale’s Aria (from the Emperor’s Nightingale)

Director: Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1948, 4 min

The Lutschan War (from Old Czech Legends)

Director: Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1952, 15 min

Václav Trojan

Th 8/10/2020
free seats: 368
Grandhotel Zlatý Lev

Sa 10/10/2020
free seats: 96
Varšava Cinema

Jan Klusák

různí / various | Czechoslovakia | 81 min

Thanks to his nonconforming attitude towards the communist regime, Jan Klusák (1934) was considered an “enfant terrible” of Czech music, and to this day, he unequivocally remains one of the most important contemporary Czech composers. At the beginning of his career, he was inspired mainly by neoclassicism, but later he became one of the pioneers of avantgarde music of the Second Viennese School, i.e. New Music, dodecaphony, serialism etc. This kind of music was not played in Czechoslovakia back then and the critics tore it apart. Since the start of his composing career, Klusák has focused on scenic and film music. His collaboration with Otomar Krejča at the National Theatre (e.g. staging of Romeo and Juliet) was of great importance. He started composing film music in the 1960s (The Beggar’s Opera by Jiří Menzel and other films). New Wave filmmakers soon discovered Klusák also as an actor. His most famous film music melodies remain those he composed for the series Hospital at the End of the City. But Klusák also composed many other melodies (chiefly for short animated films) in collaboration with directors Jiří Brdečka, Jan Švankmajer and in particular Jaroslav Boček.

The Voyages of Beddy-Byes the Elf – How Cosmic Winds Blew Them to the Planet of Cucumbers and Pumpkins

Director: Jaroslav Boček, Czechoslovakia, 1978, 8 min

What I Haven’t Told the Prince
Director: Jiří Brdečka, Czechoslovakia, 1975, 9 min

Director: Jiří Brdečka, Czechoslovakia, 1968, 14 min

Prince Mědenec’s Secret Chamber 
Director: Jiří Brdečka, Czechoslovakia, 1980, 10 min

Love’s Whims
Director: Josef Kábrt, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 12 min

The Sculptress of Polička
Director: Jaroslav Boček, Czechoslovakia, 1970, 13 min

Fall of the House of Usher
Director: Jan Švankmajer, Czechoslovakia, 1980, 15 min

Jan Klusák

Th 8/10/2020
free seats: 191
Cinema City - Hall 1