click image for a news article about Franisek Smetana
Frantisek Smetana, a native of Czechoslovakia, joined the music faculty in 1966 as cellist in residence and assistant conductor of the ISU Symphony Orchestra. Prior to coming to the US, he was Professor of Cello at Prague Conservatory of Music. He toured widely as soloist and in chamber groups throughout Europe and Asia. He had been a member of the Czech Nonet and the Pesek Quartet, and founded both the Smetana and Prague trios.
Orchestra students who had not yet become personally acquainted with Mr. Smetana will remember being frightened of him as he rehearsed the ISU orchestra. When excited to get the proper sounds, he would gesture and point to different sections as he raised his voice to yell instructions in his native Czech language.
ISU faculty and students became worried for Mr. Smetana's safety in 1968 when he happened to visit his native country precisely at the time of the Czech people's revolt. The Soviets squelched the uprising with oppressive measures. The borders were quickly closed and all we saw on TV were images of tanks facing the rock-throwing natives. There was no communication with Mr. Smetana for some time. When he did return to ISU he told exciting stories of his close calls.
Richard Koupal, voice teacher and director of Chamber Singers and Opera Workshop
practicing in Music Hall
June McLean is pictured in the Keyboard Lab in Music Hall.
These students are shown taking a test in Morrill Hall.
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