The Prague Six is a group of six composers who have recently composed for the Concept Art Orchestra. The Prague Six consists of Štěpánka Balcarová, Martin Brunner, Jan Jirucha, Vít Křišťan, Luboš Soukup and Tomáš Sýkora.
Štěpánka Balcarová is a jazz trumpet-player, composer and conductor. She graduated as a jazz trumpetist from the Jazz Academy in Katowice, Poland, and afterwards studied composition and arrangement with Ed Parytka at the Jazz Academy in Graz, Austria. She is the leader of Czech-Polish quintet Inner Spaces, whose album Light Year was awarded best jazz album of the year 2012 by the Czech musical award “Anděl”. In 2017, in collaboration with the Polish singer Malgorzata Hutek, she released the album Life and Happiness of Julian Tuwim with the poems of the famous Polish author Julian Tuwim. In 2020, she received an award for the composition Czereśnie in a competition, which is announced annually by OSA (Authors’ Protection Association). She currently teaches at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory and at the jazz department of the Music Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Martin Brunner is a composer, pianist and keyboardist. He uses his compositions mainly in his own bands and projects. So far he has released four studio albums whit them. Two in the format of a classical jazz trio (Behind the Clouds, Still Warm to Touch). The other album Morning Walks combines a jazz trio with a string quartet (Martin Brunner Trio & Epoque Quartet) and the latest one which is the rock-tuned Levels of Life from 2019. In addition to these recordings, a CD of a trio concert from the Jazz at the Castle series entitled Live at the Prague Castle was released on CD. Occasionally, Martin Brunner also composes for other formats and genres, especially for classical chamber ensembles. These are, for example, compositions for piano trio Clavio, Duo Teres or Duo Siempre Nuevo & Epoque Quartet. The tracks can be heard on the CD of the mentioned ensembles. As a pianist or keyboardist, Martin Brunner performs or has performed in various music groups and with various personalities (Lenka Dusilová, Jiří Šimek Electric Madness, Klára Vytisková, Beata Hlavenková, James Harries, etc.) and participated in the recording of some CDs, such as the album The river by Lenka Dusilová or Electric Madness by Jiří Šimek. He currently teaches at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory and College in Prague.
Jan Jirucha jr. is a trombonist, composer and conductor. He is the founder and leader of the avant-garde big band Bucinatores Orchestra. In 2012 he received the award for best composition in a contest organized by OSA (Czech Copyright Association). In 2014 he experienced being a conductor and composer for the European big band project Euroradio Jazz Orchestra. The album Euroradio Jazz Orchestra in Prague, released in the following year, dominated by the four-part “Charles Mingus” suite written by Jan. As an arranger he also cooperates with the Gustav Brom Orchestra, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (SOČR), the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK) and the Jazz Dock Orchestra. Currently, he is a teacher at the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts in Brno.
Vít Křišťan is a pianist and composer, a graduate of the Jazz Academy in Katowice and Odense. As a leader, he recorded his debut album Imprints with Jaromír Honzák, Roman Vícha, guitarist Marek Kadziela and trumpet player Oskar Török. Later he released another author’s CD Török – Slavík – Křišťan trio, where he also established collaboration with double bassist Jiří Slavík. He is a member of many international musical formations of various genres (Marta Kloučková quintet, Jaromír Honzák quintet, Inner Spaces quintet, Tomáš Hobzek quartet). Many CDs came out of these collaborations, several of which were awarded the Český Anděl for the best jazz record. He is now a permanent member of the Robert Balzar Trio and the Dan Bárta Quartet. He is also a frequent guest on European tours of American singer Shayna Steele. He works as a teacher at the Jazz Department of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory and College in Prague, and also at the Jazz Department of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague.
Luboš Soukup is a saxophonist and composer, a graduate of the Jazz Academy in Katowice and Copenhagen. He works on both the Czech and Danish music scene. He is the leader of the international quartet Luboš Soukup Quartet, the Machina Mundi project, the Freetown Quartet and the Czech band Points Septet. He is a co-founder of the Copenhagen project Lalabaj, which is inspired by folk music. He collaborates with Michal Rataj and Oskar Torok on the electro-acoustic project Hornscape. He has already released a number of records with these and other bands. Two of them – Through the Mirror and Earth – were selected in the Czech Radio Experts’ Survey for the best jazz albums of 2013 and 2017. In 2017, he received the prestigious Discovery of the Year award from the Danish Music Society. He was nominated and received an award from longtime teammate Miles Davis Marilyn Mazur. He currently works as a teacher at the Jazz Department of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague.
Tomáš Sýkora is a pianist and composer, a graduate of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague in the field of composition. He is the leader of his own Tomáš Sýkora Trio and also performs with his original solo program. He focuses on composition not only for jazz formations, but also for classical players and orchestras (Hidden Songs for Symphony Orchestra, Symphony, Dvojkoncert, Love, Peace and Happiness). In 2013, he received the award for the best composition in a composition competition organized by the OSA (Authors’ Protection Association). He works as a teacher at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory and College in Prague.