Strakonice/ Although Robert Pacourek (41), a Strakonice native, comes from a family of engineers, music has been around him since early childhood. He started playing clarinet when he was nine. During studies at the conservatory, he cooperated with the symphonic orchestra “Bohemia” in Poděbrady. He played with the outstanding Czech pianists many times and four years ago, he established the “Trio con Canto”. 

What was the reason for founding “Musici Bohemiense” and “Trio con Canto”? 

The reason was my love for so-called chamber music where each instrument plays its own part and therefore the player’s performance must be perfect. 

You play clarinet. Why did you choose this instrument? 

I automatically changed from fipple flute to clarinet during my studies at the music school in the class of Prof. Bedřich Zákostelecký. He was my big ideal, so it went without saying I chose clarinet. 

Where does your love for music come from? 

It comes from my grandpa who was an amateur musician. He played violin and accordion; he painted and played theatre as an amateur actor. He was a real folk artist. He brought me to music and he managed to keep me involved even during the trouble teen-age years. Sometimes it was fairly harsh. During holidays, for example, I had to practice an hour every day. But I am very grateful to him now. 

You have been organizing the “Around the South Bohemia Castles” concert tour for more than five years.  Where is the best acoustics? 

Among the castles we play regularly, the best acoustics is, I think, in the big concert hall of the castle in Lnáře. I very much enjoy playing in the Capitular Chamber of the Strakonice Castle or in the Knight’s Hall of the Jindřichův Hradec Castle. I was surprised in a good way by acoustics in the Castle Stable in Třeboň where we organized a concert of prof. Štěpán Rak and Alfred Strejček.  

Where do you play in the Strakonice area? What is the repertoire? 

I have played in Strakonice a couple of times of course. I also played in Blatná, at the castle of Střela, in Lnáře, Volyně, Vodňany or Čejetice. A couple of years ago, I played at the Swimming pool in Strakonice a concert for wheel-chair bounds during their vacations in Strakonice. I choose the repertoire according to locations. In historical buildings, I play mostly romantics and classics, whereas in modern cultural centers, I play also contemporary composers. 

Are there young people in the audience? 

The so-called “serious music” (a Czech expression for classical music) is still admired mostly by older generations. However, I was very surprised that even children of my contemporaries attend the “castle” concerts and they always look forward to the next ones. 

Do you compose your own music? 

I do not compose music, I feel myself rather as an “interpreter”. I lack the talent for composing. I arranged some pieces for my students, but I do not consider myself a composer. 

Do you listen to other music styles? What do you think of techno? 

Of course, I listen to other music. It is not techno though, I am not a teenager any more… I like swing, big-band music and classical jazz. I listen to disco music of my generation on the radio – A-ha, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Alphaville, for example. From Czech or Slovak music, I like Petr Novák, Vladimír Mišík, Richard Müller and many more. 

Let’s turn back to your grandpa. You said he was your ideal. How about your father? Is he a musician too? 

My father used to play trumpet and guitar when he was a child. So he knows how to play music. In the trouble teen-age years I mentioned, he checked my ability to play the homework compositions and pieces. 

As a local, do you feel a different atmosphere when playing in Strakonice? 

I come to Strakonice to relax and to escape from the pressure in Prague. The older I am, the more often I come here. And while playing concerts, I feel more responsibility here and therefore I am more nervous. 

Does it happen that during a concert you just forget a part of a composition? 

It happens. We use music sheets when playing chamber music though. And when I play with an orchestra, I must be sure not 100 percent, but 150 percent. On the other hand, I consider my “music memory” good thank to music lectures of Prof. B. Zákostelecký and L. Rom who forced us to play by memory. 

Slávka Petráková, Milan Komrska 

Translation Petr Pirunčik 

The excerpt is taken from Strakonický deník. www.denik.cz

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