- Josef Bek
(b Prague, April 27, 1916; d Prague, Jan 20, 1964). Czech composer and writer on music. After studies at the Prague School of Commerce he was a composition pupil of Řídký at the conservatory (1939–45) and in masterclasses (1945–6). At this time he composed light pieces and swing dance music and also gave music lessons. Throughout his life he was greatly concerned with film music, a field in which he made technical experiments later exploited in concert works. His spontaneous musical gifts were balanced by an unusually broad knowledge of music history and theory, folk music, mathematics and the natural sciences; this wide scope was reflected in his compositions, always inventive and economical. He took an analytic and critical attitude to other music, using any influence in an original way; his approach to post-war developments, with which he came into contact in the late 1950s and early 60s, was characteristic: Rychlík's later works are among the most significant Czech results from this encounter. He was one of the earliest jazz scholars and also made a study of the organ; his essays on instrumentation are particularly valuable....