Karel Janovický

Czech composer, pianist, BBC producer, translator and administrator Karel Janovický was born Bohuš František Šimsa in Plzeň on 18 February 1930, began piano lessons when very young and studied composition with Josef Bartovský. Due to the German occupation he was unable to study in Prague, so left for England via Germany and studied with Percy Turnbull, at the Royal College of Music in London and also privately with Mátyás Seiber.

He joined the BBC in 1964 and worked mostly for the BBC World Service, managing the Czechoslovak department from 1980 until retiring in 1990. He occasionally hosted programmes of modern Czech music as a broadcaster under the pseudonym Jack Allen. He was also active in the Antonín Dvořák Society, arranged performances of music by Dvořák and other Czech composers, and coached the BBC Singers (and other choirs and vocal performers) in Czech pronunciation.

Karel Janovický died in the UK during the afternoon of 9 January 2024, aged ninety-three, leaving an output of more than two hundred works.


A selection of articles about Karel Janovický

Classical music news - January 2024 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month

Ensemble. A Generous Weekend - The third William Alwyn Festival, attended by Patric Standford