The Choir Studio "Zvoneček – Praha" (Prague Little Bell) was founded in 1996 at the Prague Music School. Over the years, we have succeeded in becoming one of the best Czech choral ensembles. The main concert choir, Zvonky - Praha Concert Choir (Bells of Prague), acquires its new members from the most experienced graduates of the preparatory choir II (ages 8 - 10), while the very youngest children learn the basics of singing in the beginner preparatory choir I (ages 4 - 7). The oldest and best singers of Zvonky may also become members of the select girls´ chamber choir, Abbellimento (founded in 2005).
The repertoire of the choirs is chosen with the singers’ ages in mind, while at the same time striving for maximum richness and variety of musical styles. The youngest children begin with simple homophonic tunes, while the more experienced sing more complicated music, including organ-accompanied sacred works. The concert and chamber choirs not only sing classical music, which has withstood the test of time, but also polyphonic works from contemporary composers. In addition to piano and organ, we employ a broad range of accompanying instruments, e.g. flute, violin, violoncello, clarinet, drums, etc.
The choirs participate regularly in both national and international competitions; we toured most Euroepan countries, USA and Canada. Among many successes, one of the greatest was at the 35th International Festival and Choir Competition at Olomouc (2007), where we won four gold medals and absolute victory among 127 choirs from 15 countries around the world. This great achievement was, however, topped at the 2011 World Choir Championship and Grand Prix competition in Graz, Austria, where we won gold medals in three categories as well as two prestigious top Grand Prix awards. We confirmed our qualities again at World Choir Games, Cincinnati, USA 2012 by winning two gold medals and a silver, and most recently at European Choir Games in Graz, Austria 2013, where we were awarded three gold medals. Other notable choir events include being invited in May 2009 to sing at the opening concert of the Charles-the-Great Prize award ceremony program in Aachen, Germany. Together with Aachener Domchor we were honoured by the Charles-the-Fourth Prize of the year of 2013.
The quality of the choirs has continued to increase year-to-year despite the natural generational replacement, when the oldest members eventually leave the studio. Every year the main concert choir, Zvonky, “replenishes” itself by admitting the best preparatory choir II singers, after they have passed qualification exams held during our summer camp. In addition to numerous performances and festive concerts throughout the year, the complete choir studio, including both preparatory departments, presents itself at the annual summer concert held at the St. Simeon and Judah Church and at the traditional Boxing Day Christmas concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum Concert Hall.
We have recorded eight CDs (click here for more details) and collaborated in numerous other projects, including commercial spots, children’s programmes, theatre performances, and Czech TV advent concerts. The Choir Studio is supported by the Civic Association Zvoneček – Praha, which organizes all out-of-school activities, such as weekend and summer workshops, concerts, performances, CD recordings, etc. Financing is supported by grants awarded by the Capital of Prague Municipal Authorities, Prague 3 District Authorities, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, as well as by sponsorships. We are also proud to have Czech Radio as our media partner.
Since the beginning, the Choir Studio Zvoneček – Praha has been directed by Jarmila Novenková. In working with children, Ms. Novenková exploits not only her long-term experience from the Karviná Permoník Choir and her rare pedagogic gifts, but most of all her lifelong love for choral singing. Born in Vendryně, a small Silesian village, she acquired her first choral experience as a chorister and soloist in the Štývar Children’s Choir of Třinec. After graduation from Třinec secondary school she continued her studies at Ostrava Conservatory, where she majored in piano. Later she worked as a choirmaster and pianist for the Permoník Children’s Choir of Karviná. In 1996 she moved to Prague to fulfil the idea of the then-director of the Prague Music School to establish a school children’s choir. Over the years, the shape of Choir Studio Zvoneček rapidly outgrew the scope of the original idea, and eventually reached its current form. Such fast development was naturally enabled by the inspiring environment of the Prague Music School and the collaboration of its many outstanding teachers and musicians.
CONTACT DETAILS Choir Studio Zvoneček - Praha Choir Director Choir President
Hudební škola hl.m. Prahy
Komenského nám. 9/400
CZ 13000 Praha 3
Jarmila Novenková +420 604 216 918
Jan Vančura +420 603 514 072
Choir Studio Zvoneček - Praha
The Choir thanks for support to the Capital of Prague, Prague 3 City District, and Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic.