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Jan Krtitel Kuchar

born: 1751-03-05
died: 1829-02-18
birthplace: Chotec
diedplace: Praha

top organ and harpsichord player, distinct composer, friend and keen propagator of W.A.Mozart. His father was a landlord and farmer. He spent his childhood in Mlazovice close to Jicin and got his first musical education from Alex Tham in Vrchlabi. Later he studied at the college in Hradec Kralove and Jicin. Later he studied philosophy in Prague and also music under Josef Seger. Since 1772 he was the organist in St. Henry's Church, Prague. At the same time he gave music lessons to aristocratic families in Prague. Kuchar was among the first who understood the significancy of W.A.Mozart's works and started propagating them. In 1786 he probably played in Stavovske Theatre in the premiere of The Marriage of Figaro. In January 1787 he met Mozart on his visit to Prague personally. On October 28th, 1787 they played harpsichord together with Mozart on the premiere of Don Giovanni. Kuchar wrote a piano extract from both the operas, as well as from another one, Cosi fan tutte. In 1790 he became the organist at Strahov Monastery; he also started his own performances at that time. Probably under the influence of W.A.Mozart he entered the Masonic Lodge. Since 1791 he also took the position of harpsichord player and later the director of Italian Opera at Stavovske Theatre. On September 6th, 1791 he probably performed the premiere of of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.
His compositions belong to Mozart-style classicism; however they are distinguished by perfect polyphony which probably results from his familiarity with the organ literature. For the choir of St Henry's, he wrote a lot of organ and church music. He was one of a few of his times who utilized organ as a full-blown solo instrument.

  • 2 organ concertos
  • concert phantasies, fugues, toccatas, preludios
  • a number of other petty (mostly church) works


Mala encyklopedie hudby (book by dr. Jar. Smolka; &kolektiv, Supraphon 1983)
CD Booklet: Czech Organ Music (Music Vars 1997)


Phantasy in d-Minor (MP3) (Frantisek Michalek and Milan Slechta-organ, Ceskoslovenska dlouhohrajici deska 1951)
Phantasy in g-Minor (MP3) (II. Pastorale, rec. Jirina Pokorna organ, CD Czech Organ Music, Music Vars 1997)

Last update 2012-07-03