(b Krušovice, 7 May 1807; d Prague, 8 Feb 1871). Violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with the village schoolmaster, Šimon Josef Antonín Pergler, who took him into his band. In 1839 he moved to Prague and later formed his own band (1855–70).
(2) Jan Ondříček
(b Bělěc, 6 May 1832; d Prague, 13 March 1900). Violinist and conductor, son of (1) Ignác Ondříček. One of the most musically gifted of Ignác’s children, he completed his violin studies with Mořic Mildner in Prague and studied theory under Dvořák (with whom he played in the famous Komzák ensemble). Like his father, he was a bandmaster; his ensemble reached a professional standard and formed the core of the orchestra with which the Czech theatre manager Pavel Švanda toured Bohemia. He also taught the violin and the piano. He had 15 children, six of whom outlived him as professional violinists.
(3) František Ondříček
(b Prague, 29 April 1857; d Milan, 12 April 1922). Violinist and composer, son of (2) Jan Ondříček. From early childhood he played with his brothers in his father’s ensemble. He studied the violin first with Mildner’s pupil Jan Weber, and then at the Prague Conservatory with Antonín Bennewitz (1873–6). His accomplishments drew the attention of Wieniawski, who supported him during two years spent at the Paris Conservatoire under L.J. Massart; he left the Conservatoire with a premier prix. For two years he played at Pasdeloup's Concerts Populaires and performed elsewhere in France as well as in Brussels, Prague, London and Vienna. A significant event in his career was his giving the first performances of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, in Prague on 14 October 1883 and in Vienna on 2 December 1883; by this time he was receiving invitations to play throughout Europe, the USA and eastern Russia. His repertory included all the major concertos; he also played solo and chamber works, thereby distinguishing himself from his contemporary violin virtuosos who almost unanimously preferred concertante arrangements and transcriptions.
Stimulated by the lack of original Czech works for the violin, he wrote pieces and composed paraphrases, fantasias and arrangements on themes from Slavonic composers including Smetana, Dvořák, Suk and Glinka. His contemporaries praised his brilliant and flawless technique, the richness of his tone, and the sensitivity and spontaneity of his expression. Appointed Kammervirtuoso in 1888, Ondříček settled in Vienna. He taught at the Vienna Conservatory (1909–12) and together with his pupil S. Mittelmann, a physician, he developed a playing methodology described in his Neue Methode zur Erlangung der Meistertechnik des Violinspiels auf anatomisch-physiologischer Grundlage (Vienna, 1909). For a time he devoted himself to quartet playing; his quartet took part in the Haydn celebrations in Vienna, playing 20 of Haydn’s quartets in five concerts. After World War I he returned to Prague and directed the violin masterclass at the conservatory (1919–22).
Vn, pf: Ballade, op.1, 1877; Bohemian Dances, op.3 (Berlin, 1891); Fantasia, on themes from Smetana’s Prodaná nevěsta [The Bartered Bride], op.9 (Berlin, n.d.); Barcarole, op.10 (Berlin, c1910); Romance, op.12 (Berlin, 1892); Bohemian Dance, from The Bartered Bride, arr., op.15 (Berlin, 1895); Fantasia, on themes from Glinka’s Zhizn' za tsarya [A Life for the Tsar], op.16, 1889 (Berlin, 1900); Nocturne, op.17, 1900 (Prague, 1900); Scherzo capriccioso, op.18, 1901 (Prague, 1901); Bohemian Rhapsody, op.21 (Leipzig, 1907)
Other works: Str Qt, op.22, 1907 (Prague, 1941); cadenzas to vn concs. by Viotti, Paganini, Grädener, Spohr, Brahms, Mozart (k219, Prague, 1942); rev. of Smetana: Z domoviny [From the Homeland] (Vienna, 1915)
(4) Emanuel Ondříček [Ondricek]
(b Plzeň, 6 Dec 1880; d Boston, 30 Dec 1958). Violinist, son of (2) Jan Ondříček. He studied music with his father and at the Prague Conservatory with Ševčík (1894–9). As a violin virtuoso he gave concerts in Russia, the Balkans, Pest, Vienna, Berlin and London (where he first appeared under the pseudonym of Ploris), and made a successful tour of the USA. However, after 1912 he devoted himself exclusively to teaching. In Boston and New York he founded the Ondricek Studios of Violin Art, where his sisters Mary and Augusta also taught. He was a popular teacher, and shortly before his death he was appointed professor of violin at Boston University. His compositions include a string quartet (1924) and violin pieces (some of them arrangements). His teaching experience is contained in his book The Mastery of Tone-Production and Expression on the Violin (1931).
(5) Stanislav Ondříček
(b Prague, 23 Aug 1885; d Prague, 16 July 1953). Violinist, son of (2) Jan Ondříček. He studied with Ševčík at the Prague Conservatory. He was a violin teacher in Russia, Zagreb and New York; from 1923 until his death he taught in music schools in Czechoslovakia.
B.Šich: František Ondříček (Prague, 1947)
Czech string quartet. It was formed in 1921 under another name by graduates from the Prague Conservatory: Jaroslav Pekelský (b Sobotka, 22 Jan 1898; d Prague, 12 Jan 1978), violin; Kamil Vyskočil (b Prague, 25 Feb 1894; d Prague, 20 Dec 1932), violin; Vincenc Zahradník (b Tábor, 10 May 1899; d Prague, 13 April 1967), viola; Bedřich Jaroš (b Radonice nad Ohří, 2 Feb 1896; d Prague, 7 Dec 1977), cello. In 1922, after performing Ondříček’s Quartet in A, and with the composer’s consent, the name was changed and the players left the relative security of the Czech Philharmonic organization to devote themselves, under difficult conditions, wholly to chamber music. They began touring abroad in 1924, and from 1927 to 1954 they had a permanent engagement with Czech Radio. After the death of Vyskočil in 1932, Pekelský became second violin, and the first violin was Richard Zika (b Vsetín, 9 Jan 1897; d Prague, 10 Nov 1947), and after him Josef Holub (b Holice v Čechách, 23 Feb 1902; d Brno, 11 May 1973). In 1932 the quartet worked with Suk, modelling their style on that of the Czech Quartet. Their regular radio concerts required them to perform a wide repertory. After the war they resumed touring abroad, visiting Britain and the Netherlands in 1946, but when Holub left the quartet in 1956, their activities virtually ceased. The players taught at the Prague Conservatory and Academy.
‘Ondříčkovo kvarteto’ [The Ondříček Quartet], Listy Hudební matice, v (1925–6), 366 only
J.Květ: ‘Deset let Ondříčkova kvarteta’ [10 years of the Ondříček Quartet], Tempo [Prague], xii (1932–3), 87–91 [incl. list of works performed]