PAVEL HORÁK (director and conductor of the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri)
After receiving a master’s in music education, Pavel Horák earned a PhD in Choir Conducting from Charles University in Prague. He taught at the Faculty of Education at Hradec Králové University for ten years, and afterwards taught choirmastering to international students at the Charles University’s Faculty of Education. In 2009 he received a Silver Medal from the Ministry of Education in recognition of his many years of teaching and cultural activities and his important contribution to musical education. In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Ferdinand Vach Prize by the Czech Music Fund, the Czech Choirs Association and the Union of Choir Conductors in the Association of Music Artists and Musicologists. That same year he was also recognised by the President of the Hradec Králové Region as one of the region’s most prominent figures.
As the artistic director of Boni Pueri since 1996, Pavel Horák has been on 100 tours with the Boni Pueri concert ensembles in Europe, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China and has taken part in major music festivals (Prague Spring, AmericaFest, Jeonju Sori Festival, Shanghai International Arts Festival, Moscow Easter Festival and Moscow Christmas Festival of Sacred Music). As choirmaster he has been on nine month-long tours in Japan and South Korea, and with over two years experience working in Asia he became the first Czech choirmaster to appear at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. His works include arranging and conducting Bach’s St Matthew Passion, which enjoyed 50 repeat performances in the Netherlands, and performing with his pupils the complete three sets of Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Responsoria, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass. He has contributed to the rediscovery of the works of Johann Baptist Wanhal and Václav Tomášek, and was instrumental in the première recordings of Czech Baroque composers Pavel Josef Vejvanovský and Jan Dismas Zelenka. In 2017 he collaborated in the large international project Czech Masters in Vienna by performing music by Johann Stamitz, and he has devoted himself regularly to contemporary works (world premières of Robert Jíša’s Voices of the Light and Aleš Březina’s Requiem).
Pavel Horák is the founder and first school director of the Boni Pueri private music school, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Jaroslav Šlais (conductor of the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri)
Jaroslav Šlais studied musicology at Palacký University in Olomouc and arts management at the University of Economics in Prague. He spent 2008–2009 at the Institute of Musicology at Leipzig University as part of an international study programme. In 2017 he received the Junior Choirmaster Award from the Czech Choirs Association.
A member of Boni Pueri both as a choir singer and soloist since childhood, Jaroslav Šlais earned his first valuable experience working with a boys’ choir as the choirmaster for the Boni Pueri preparatory departments and as an assistant choirmaster for the main concert ensembles. As a choirmaster he has toured Japan, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic since 2012. His most important milestones as choirmaster include the Boni Pueri concert tours of South Korea in December 2013 and 2016, repeat performances in the Czech Republic, Poland and Lithuania of the Theresienstadt children’s opera Brundibár by Hans Krása, and an appearance at the European Parliament in Brussels. Jaroslav Šlais is also the executive producer of the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri.
Robert Fuchs (pianist)
Robert Fuchs is the pianist for the concert ensembles of the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri and has toured with them in Japan, South Korea and throughout Europe.
He confirmed his exceptional talent by composing Russian Suite, which he performed in concert as a 14-year-old pianist. By the age of 18 he became the first and youngest Czech student of composer Petr Eben at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He has received a number of prizes as a pianist and composer (Jury Prize at the Beethoven’s Hradec competition, honourable mention at the international Virtuosi per Musica di pianoforte competition and the IBLA International Competition in New York in 2010 for his composition Lovers for flute and harp). His best musical pieces include Spring Quartet (first performed in Strasbourg in 1991), American Sonata (first performed in Pilsen in 1992), Monumentum per Olivier Messiaen (first performed in London in 1994), Román (first performed at the International Festival of Concert Melodrama in Prague in 2002), and Estamos con ganas de navidad for piano (first performed in Berlin in 2012).
Since 1997 he has been the pianist and répétiteur of opera at the National Theatre in Prague. He is invited to perform classical operatic works with distinguished artists in the opera (Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Bohumil Gregor) and is sought after as a specialist in contemporary music. Robert Fuchs has worked with a number of orchestras, including the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, The Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra, Orchestre de Jura in Switzerland, and the chamber ensembles Musica Florea and Musica Atlantis. His sensitivity and alertness as an accompanist have earned him a reputation as a professional musician much in demand for work with leading opera and concert singers (Andrea Bocelli, Keiko Lee, Simona Houda Šaturová, Ivan Kusnjer) and renowned ensembles.
In 2007 Robert Fuchs embarked on a journey of several years on cruise ships and has played the piano on all the world’s continents, including Antarctica. In 2010 he started working in Israel as the music director at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.