Last Friday, pianist and composer Emil Viklický received the Czech Republic’s Medal of Merit from the country’s president, Vaclav Klaus. With his international reputation, Viklický (pictured on the right, with the president) is one of his country’s best-known musicians. Among the ten others receiving the medal were the Shakespeare translator Martin Hilsky, champion ski jumper Jiri Raska, and Jan Krulis-Randa, a U.S. climatologist of Czech origin. Bassist George Mraz is a previous winner. Viklický helped President Klaus to establish the Jazz na Hradě series of concerts that have become regular events at Prague Castle, the Czech counterpart of the White House.
Here is Viklický last January in the concluding number of a New York concert with Scott Robinson, a colleague since their student days at Berklee College of Music. The composition is “Touha” from Viklický’s Sinfonietta CD.
For more about Viklický and Robinson, including additional video, go to this Rifftides archive post.