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Tomas Svoboda

Tomas Svoboda (b. Dec. 6, 1939) is a renowned American composer of Czech heritage and, since 1969, Professor of Music at Portland State University.

Born in Paris of Czech parents, he spent his early childhood in Boston, where he began
his musical education on the piano at the age of three.

After his family's return to Prague in 1946, Tomas continued his musical studies, entering the Prague Conservatory of Music as its youngest student.

Unable to take formal classes in composition during his first years at the conservatory, Svoboda nevertheless, at age 16, composed his Symphony No. 1 (of Nature), Op. 20, which, the following year at Smetana Hall in Prague, was premiered by the prestigious FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Vaclav Smetacek. With degrees in percussion, composition and conducting, Svoboda graduated the Prague Conservatory in 1962. Meanwhile, studying composition with Miloslav Kabelac, numerous performances and radio broad casts of his music brought wide national recognition to Svoboda, clearly establishing him as Czechoslovakia's most important young composer.

In 1964, the entire Svoboda family emigrated to the United States. At the University of Southern California, Svoboda studied composition with Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens, where in 1969 he earned the degree of Master of Music in composition with honors.

In 1981, Svoboda's early publication of piano etudes brought forth a cover story tribute by the highly respected Piano Quarterly. In 1985 Svoboda was given the ASCAP Foundation/Meet The Composer Award and a commission to write his Chorale in E flat for Piano Quintet, Op. 118 for Aaron Copland's 85th birthday celebration in New York. In 1987, national music educators surveyed by The Piano Quarterly voted Svoboda's Children's Treasure Box piano series to be among the forty most important 20th century collections for teaching piano.

As a conductor Svoboda has led the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in the 1988 premier of his unique Symphony No. 5 (in Unison), Op. 92, and again in the 1992 premiere of his Symphony No. 6 for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 137 with soloist Yoshinori Nakao.

Worldwide, there are to date over a thousand performances of Svoboda's music, including nearly four hundred symphonic performances, many by major orchestras in Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco and Monte Carlo. His most well known orchestral work (commissioned by the Oregon Symphony) Overture of the Season, Op. 89 has alone received over two hundred performances. His numerous awards include a 1992 Oregon Governor's Award for the Arts.

Svoboda's catalog of over two hundred works includes six symphonies, two cantatas, two piano concertos and a violin concerto.

"...a neoclassic clarity and panache not so distant from, say... Prokofieff and Shostakovich -- though Svoboda doesn't really sound much like them, or anyone else, for the matter... sparkling, witty, sometimes lyrical, sometimes percussive, but never grand or showy."
-- Lehman, American Record Guide, March/April 2002

For More information, sound clips & scores, visit

go to: North Pacific Music Home Page

email us: NPM@NorthPacificMusic.com

Tomas Svoboda's works are heard
on the NPM recordings:

Chamber Works - The Definitive Collection - beautifully packaged 5 disc set of Svoboda's NPM releases

Chamber Works - Vol.1 With Clarinet - composer at the piano with Michael Anderson and members of OFAM

Nine Etudes in Fugue Style - composer at the piano

Four Visions, Music for 1, 2 and 3 Pianos - composer at the piano with David Svec and Daniel Wiesner

PianoTrios - Members of the Martinu String Qt. w/ the composer at the piano (recipient of a 2001 American Record Guide Critics' Choice Award)

Piano Works Vol. 1 - composer at the piano

Music from Bohemia - Trio Spektrum

Dreams of a Dancer - Trio Spektrum

Piano Four Hands - Tomassetti & Cooper