Biography

Czech music composer, was born on 13. September 1928 in Opočno, Eastern Bohemia. After studies at the Gymnasium in Rychnov nad Kněžnou, he worked at his father’s bookprinting house in Opočno. After its forcible destruction in 1950, he left for the Prague Conservatory, where he won three degrees, in Conducting under Prof. B. Špidra and A. Klíma (1954), in Percussion Instruments under Prof. E. Špaček, and in Composition under Prof. F. Pícha and M. Krejčí (1955). He graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Composition under Prof. J. Řídký and P. Bořkovec, and in Film and Incidental Music under Prof. V. Trojan in 1959.

Although he has spent most of his life as a freelance composer, he also discharged a few major

functions. He was a script editor at the Czechoslovak Television, editor-in-chief at Panton, Chairman of the Association of Czech Composers, Chairman of the Association of Music Artists and Scientists. Since 1994, he has been member of the Pondělníci group.

In 1951, he was admitted in Paris by Arthur Honegger to be his student, and by Georges Auric to be his assistant. He was prevented from staying in Paris for political reasons.

Sluka’s work is very extensive and covers diverse genres. It is dominated by chamber music (4 string quartets, duos, trios, sonatas, where particularly those for violoncello achieved world renown, unquestionably due to Pablo Casals, who presented it at his courses).

Vocal works are represented by 14 song cycles, a series of choirs and four cantatas. Works for children and the young find great acceptance (Little Piano School, Games and Dreams, Piano Breviary, Returns). Symphonic works are represented by 10 compositions (Orava Ballad, The Way of Recovering, From Eastern Bohemia, Sinfonietta, Lento affabile). Also, 85 motion picture soundtracks of all genres, 30 TV play soundtracks, 6 TV series soundtracks, and more than 130 chanson and popular songs shows how diverse Sluka’s work is. His compositions, particularly in classical music, have been preserved on more than 25 records (including in Russia, the United States, Japan, Germany), 18 CD’s (in France, Japan, Germany, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland), and the complete edition of Sluka’s whole work is being released by EDITIO MUSICA HUMANA (with 106 volumes released to date).

A number of Sluka’s compositions have been honoured by various awards abroad (Moscow, Warsaw, Vienna, Cannes, La Plata, Milan) as well as at home (The First Prize of the Prague Conservatory, Czech Music Fund, Panton, Minister of Culture, etc.). In addition to music awards, Sluka was also awarded the T. G. Masaryk Medal of Honour, and in 2003 the International Astronomical Union named, in his honour, a newly discovered little planet (asteroid) after him (LUBOSLUKA).

L. Sluka’s music has never clearly succumbed to any of the modern composition techniques or tendencies; having drawn a lesson from their existence, it deliberately builds on the best traditions of some classical composers of the 20th century; of Czech composers, it is particularly inspired by the aesthetics and diction of Leoš Janáček and by the deep and real sensibility of Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů. Sluka is also active in arts and literature (so far, he has, for instance, released three collections of poems written in classic Japanese form haiku).