Tomas Svoboda
BIOGRAPHY - Short version

Svoboda image

Born in Paris of Czech parents, December 6, 1939, Tomas Svoboda composed his first opus at age 9 and was admitted to the Prague Conservatory in 1954 as its youngest student.

In 1957, his SYMPHONY No. 1 (of Nature) , Op. 20 (completed at age 16), was premiered by the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Premieres and radio broadcasts of 7 other orchestral works by 1963 brought national recognition to Svoboda, clearly establishing him as Czechoslovakia's most important young composer.

In 1964, the Svoboda family departed Czechoslovakia and settled in the United States, where Svoboda enrolled at the Univ. of Southern California in 1966, graduating 2 years later with honors.

A front cover tribute to Tomas Svoboda by the highly respected Piano Quarterly in 1981 plus a commission to write his CHORALE in E flat, for Piano Quintet (homage to Aaron Copland), Op.118 for Copland's "85th Birthday Celebration" in New York, continued his rise to recognition in America.

In 2001 the Dayton Philharmonic (Neal Gittleman, cond.) released the first "All-Svoboda" orchestral CD of Svoboda's Piano Concertos 1 & 2 featuring Norman Krieger and Tomas Svoboda.

In December 2003, Svoboda's Marimba Concerto was named in a Grammy Award nomination in the category of "Best Instrumental Soloist With Orchestra"; Niel DePonte, marimba; James DePreist, cond.; Oregon Symphony; [Albany Records].

Today, 1,300+ known performances of his music have taken place throughout the world, including 500+ orchestral performances with such major orchestras as the Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco, Toronto, Monte-Carlo, Sapporo & Nagoya (Japan), plus the national orchestras of Guatemala and Costa Rica.

In the Fall of 2016, the Portland Youth Philharmonic (OR) gave the world premiere of Svoboda's profound Symphony No. 2 (of Love & War), Op. 41; a work originally scheduled for premiere in 1964 with the Czech Philharmonic (Karel Ancerl, cond.), but cancelled after Svoboda escaped the communist controlled govt. of Czechoslovakia with his father (world renowned computer scientist Antonin Svoboda and mother, Mila.

Today, more than 115 tracks of Tomas Svoboda’s recorded music are now available for digital download, streaming, purchase, etc. on such websites as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and many others throughout the world.

Recent and upcoming recordings of 8 more Svoboda compositions involve Nikol Bóková (Czech Republic), Rose City Brass Quintet, Portland Youth Philharmonic and Charles Schlueter (former Principal Trumpet, Boston Symphony).

On Dec. 12th 2012, Tomas Svoboda suffered a massive stroke and though he never lost his positive outlook on life, sense of humor or determined efforts to recover enough to compose again, it was not to be.

On Nov. 17, 2022, Tomas Svoboda passed away peacefully with family by his side, in Portland, Oregon.

(Nov. 18, 2022)

Photo: © 1987 Cynthia Stowell/Portland State University; Used by Permission.

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