Zelenka conference Prague 2020: ZELENKA AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES

16. 10. 2020 | 09.00 – 17.00 Central European Time – Institute of Art History The Czech Academy of Sciences Library of the Department of Musicology, Puškinovo náměstí 447/9, Praha 6


Due to coronavirus measures, this year’s conference will also be live-streamed. Registrants will be able to interactively participate in the conference online, and an online recording of the conference will be made available.

The capacity of the Library of Musicology is full, and all new participants must attend the conference online. A link to the stream will be sent to you after registration. 


FREE / Registration below




PRAGUE time zone schedule

9.00 – 9.20 
Zahájení / Opening
Petr DANĚK, Ústav dějin umění AV ČR


9.20 – 9.40
Samantha OWENS (Victoria University, Wellington): „The Social Status of Trumpeters and Kettledrummers at the Courts of Dresden and Stuttgart, c. 1700–1740“

Samantha Owens is Professor in Musicology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; an Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Queensland, Australia; and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her research centres on early modern German court music, the musical life of early eighteenth-century Dublin, and the reception of German music and musicians in Australasia, 1850–1950. Recent publications have included a monograph, The Well-Travelled Musician: John Sigismond Cousser and Musical Exchange in Baroque Europe (2017) and an edited book, J. S. Bach in Australia: in Reception and Performance, with Kerry Murphy and Denis Collins (2018).

The playing of trumpet and kettledrum ensembles constituted an important and regular element of the sonic landscape of early modern German courts – ranging from stock fanfares required daily at mealtimes to far more elaborate performances prepared for special events. On some such occasions these instrumentalists worked alongside other members of a court’s musical establishment, as was the case for the churching ceremony of Electress Maria Josepha in Dresden in August 1733, when six fanfares for two choirs of trumpets and kettledrums were performed. These short pieces were almost certainly composed by Jan Dismas Zelenka, who directed the music at this service (Stockigt & Ágústsson, 2015).

Yet while Hoftrompeter und Pauker had long been considered to have held an especially prestigious, privileged position within early modern German society, more recently Christian Ahrens has demonstrated that, in fact, “their financial and social status was average, situated in the middle range”, noting also that, “They enjoyed special rights and privileges only when serving in an official military capacity or for governmental and political functions” (‘Fiktion und Realität’, 2011). This paper draws upon archival material (from both court and church) to explore the role played by trumpeters and kettledrummers at the courts of Saxony-Dresden and Württemberg-Stuttgart, respectively. In particular, it focuses on investigating the social status of these musicians, as revealed through the analysis of contemporary baptismal and marriage records.


9.40 – 9.50
Diskuze / Discussion

9.50 – 10.00
Přestávka / Coffee break


10.00 – 10.20
Janice B STOCKIGT (University Melbourne): „A Meeting of Minds: Jan Dismas Zelenka’s „Laudate pueri“ (ZWV 81: c1729) and Johann Sebastian Bach’s „Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!“ (BWV 51: c1730)“

Janice (Jan) B Stockigt FAHA is an Honorary Associate Professor and Principal Fellow of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Recent publications include contributions to Grove Music Online, Lexikon der Holzblasinstrumente, Bach Perspectives 12, Musicologica Brunensia 2, Clavibus unitis, and J.S. Bach in Australia.

While it is known that the Dresden Kirchencompositeur Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745) and the Leipzig Cantor Johann Sebastian Bach (1675–1750) were personally acquainted, the occasions of their meetings have not been identified. Nevertheless, contact is thought to have taken place during one of Bach’s visits to Dresden during the 1730s, at which time he began to acquire (probably with Zelenka’s help) examples of Latin sacred music by Italian composers from royal collections of the Dresden court. Earlier, towards the end of the 1720s, each composer wrote a sacred motet for solo voice with trumpet obbligato and string accompaniment. Each work opens and closes with a movement of exuberant musical exultation requiring great vocal and instrumental skill from the two soloists. While details are known about Zelenka’s Vespers psalm Laudate pueri (ZWV 81) and its performances, many questions surround Bach’s cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (BWV 51). Despite certain differences between these two solo motets, exploration of their similarities suggests that the composers had prior knowledge of each other’s respective compositions, which hints that contact between Bach and Zelenka had occurred after Eastertide 1730.


10.20 – 10.30
Diskuze / Discussion

10.30 – 10.40
Přestávka / Coffee break


10.40 – 11.00
Frederic KIERNAN (University of Melbourne): „Zelenka and his contemporaries from the perspective of reception study“

Frederic Kiernan is an early career researcher who holds a PhD in Music (Musicology) from the University of Melbourne, as well as a BA/BMus and MMus from the same university. He is currently Research Coordinator of the Creativity and Wellbeing Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne and Secretary of the Musicological Society of Australia. His research uses methods from historical musicology, the history of emotions, and the psychology and sociology of music to explore the intersection of music, creativity, emotion and wellbeing. He published a critical edition of six works (dated 1737) by the Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka with A-R Editions (Wisconsin) in 2018, and co-authored the revised article on Zelenka for Grove Music Online (Oxford University Press) with Janice B. Stockigt and Andrew Frampton. He has also published research articles in Musicology Australia, Clavibus unitis, Emotions: History, Culture, Society, Context, and Musicae Scientiae (in press).

This discussion paper will consider the reception of Zelenka and his music during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by reference to that of his contemporaries. Zelenka reception has been shaped by various social, cultural and political forces including the Palestrina revival of the nineteenth century, nationalism, canonisation, communism in Central Europe, and the rise of the recording industry. This paper, a work in progress, will seek to stimulate discussion that will generate new ideas about how Zelenka reception compares and contrasts with the reception histories of composers such as J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel, J.A. Hasse, C.W. Gluck, F. Chelleri and F. Geminiani.


11.00 – 11.10
Diskuze / Discussion

11.10 – 11.40
Přestávka / Coffee break


11.40 – 12.00
Denis COLLINS (The University of Queensland): „Zelenka at the Crossroads of contrapunctus and partimento in the Early Eighteenth Century“

Denis Collins is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Queensland. His research interests span the history of contrapuntal techniques in Western music before ca. 1800, music and visual culture, and digital musicology. He has been Lead Chief Investigator for two ARC Discovery Projects on the history of canonic techniques from the late fourteenth to early seventeenth centuries. His recent publications have appeared in Acta Musicologica, Music Theory Online, Musicology Australia and Music Analysis. He was co-editor with Kerry Murphy and Samantha Owens of J.S. Bach in Australia: Studies in Reception and Performance (Lyrebird Press, 2018).

As one of the most skilled contrapuntists of his day, Zelenka was immersed in compositional traditions that found expression in the writings of many contemporary music theorists. That Zelenka responded creatively to at least some of the preoccupations of these writers is attested in his musical output where strands of contrapuntal theory merge effortlessly with the requirements for performance of new works at the Dresden Hofkapelle. Beginning with the canons in Book III of the Collectaneorum Musicorum Libri Quatuor where Zelenka engages with pedagogical materials of Johann Joseph Fux, this paper adopts an analytical approach to identifying specific mechanisms by which Zelenka achieved a fine synthesis of both established and emerging theoretical traditions across his output. While attention will be given to Zelenka’s particular fondness for invertible counterpoint and fugue, aspects of partimento and galant schema traditions will also be examined in relation to works that maintain strong contrapuntal underpinnings. Zelenka’s legacy provides new opportunities to view the complex and still imperfectly understood relationships between the two great historical compositional systems of counterpoint (contrapunctus) and partimento during a time of shifting artistic priorities amongst composers across Europe. 


12.00 – 12.10
Diskuze / Discussion

12.10 – 12.20
Přestávka / Coffee break


12.20 – 12.40
Shelley HOGAN (The University of Melbourne): „Jean Baptiste Prache du Tilloy: the life and times of a Dresden court musician during the reign of August the Strong“

This paper examines the life and Dresden career of French Catholic violoncellist Jean Baptiste Prache du Tilloy  (1672/3–1734).  Entering service to August the Strong a decade before his colleague Jan Dismas Zelenka, numerous parallels can be drawn.  Like Zelenka, Prache du Tilloy was associated with the court for the majority of his years and contributed to its musical life beyond performance.  Through his copyist activities, Prache du Tilloy fulfilled a pivotal role in providing the Saxon court with music in a foreign style.  Primary sources document the sophisticated role of the early eighteenth-century copyist, productivity and working conditions, as well as illuminating first-person accounts of courtly service.  Together, these insights into a lesser-known colleague of Zelenka aid our understanding of the rich and complex musical life at this major German court.


12.40 – 12.50
Diskuze / Discussion

12.50 – 13.00
Přestávka / Coffee break


13.00 – 13.20
Andrew FRAMPTON (University of Oxford): „Musical Exchange in a Golden Age: Berlin, Dresden and Johann Friedrich Agricola“

Andrew Frampton is a lecturer in musicology at the University of Oxford, where he is also a trainee academic librarian. He will shortly submit his DPhil dissertation, which focuses on the manuscript and printed musical sources related to the Berlin court composer Johann Friedrich Agricola (1720–1774). He co-authored the revised Grove Music Online article on Jan Dismas Zelenka, and contributed a chapter to the volume J.S. Bach in Australia: Studies in Reception and Performance (Lyrebird Press, 2018); he has also published in such journals as Eighteenth-Century Music, Understanding Bach, Early Music and Musicology Australia, a special issue of which he recently guest-edited (with Kerry Murphy and Frederic Kiernan) as Zelenka, Bach and the Eighteenth-Century German Baroque: Essays in Honour of Janice B. Stockigt. Andrew was a Merton College Prize Scholar for 2018–2019 for his doctoral work on Agricola, and he serves on the council of Bach Network, based in London.

Although in traditional cultural narratives, Berlin has been cast as the ‘golden city’ of music in Enlightenment Germany, the most stylistically progressive and musically refined court in this period was arguably that of Dresden. Under its music-loving patrons, it boasted the most renowned virtuosi of the day and pioneered the cultivation of the so-called vermischter Geschmack and the imported stile galant. Berlin, under Frederick II, deliberately sought to model its musical life on that of Dresden, and the resulting exchange of musicians, styles and repertoire between these two cities had a profound effect on their respective artistic cultures.

This paper examines the close musical relationship between Dresden and Berlin in the middle of the eighteenth century through the lens of sources connected with the Prussian Hofkomponist Johann Friedrich Agricola (1720–1774). A former student of J.S. Bach, Agricola was well-acquainted with Dresden’s leading musical figures, including Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann Georg Pisendel and Johann Adolf Hasse. I argue that, through his prolific copying and collecting activities, Agricola acted as a crucial agent in the transmission of their music northwards in this period, and show how it influenced his own compositions for the church and the stage. But there was a darker side to Frederick II’s ruthless determination to compete with Saxony, and for Agricola, his role in the development of Berlin’s musical riches came at a significant price.


13.20 – 13.30
Diskuze / Discussion

13.30 – 14.00
Přestávka / Coffee break


14.00 – 14.20
Jiří SEHNAL (Brno): „Vogt’s advice to composers“


14.20 – 14.30
Diskuze / Discussion

14.30 – 14.40
Přestávka / Coffee break


14.40 – 15.00
Claudia LUBKOLL (Dresden): „Identification of several sieves of Schuchardt-paper dated in the 1730s“

Musicologist and staff member of the music department of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB). Editor of 18th century music, mostly Johann Gottlieb Naumann and Johann David Heinichen. Researcher of paper and watermarks of the 17th and 18th century.

Johann Gottlob Schuchardt was papermaker at the Dresden papermill from 1717 until 1739. He made solid paper of good quality that musicians and composers like Zelenka and his contemporaries used very often (watermark signet W-Dl-002 at In the middle of the 1730s, there was a very special form of the writing „J G Schuchart“ noticeable in that watermark. By comparing the dated manuscripts with wide dated manuscripts that have the same form of the writing „J G Schuchart“, we are now able to date more precisely. I found different versions of this special form with very small differences: maybe it is a question of so-called sieve pairs (sieves that were used simultaneously at hand papermaking).

Besides, there is a very different looking Schuchardt-watermark (signet: W-Dl-514). It was fixed between the racks of the sieve. All other „J G Schuchart“ watermarks (W-Dl-002) are fixed on the racks. Paper with the watermark W-Dl-514 appeared only from 1733 until 1739 as far as we know. Schuchardt seems to have made this paper only in a short time because there are only a few examples found, some in Dresden, one in Berlin (according to WZIS), but all of them appearing in the 1730s. It is possible that the different versions of this watermark are sieve pairs, too. In Zelenka’s lifetime paper was precious and rare, so it was mostly used within a very short time after it was produced. The sieves for hand papermaking were in use only 1 to at most 4 years. After that time they were wasted and damaged. These facts give us some good possibilities to date the paper precisely, as the examples of the paper will show.


15.00 – 15.10
Diskuze / Discussion

15.10 – 15.30
Přestávka / Coffee break


15.30 – 15.50
Jiří K. KROUPA (Prague): „Zelenka’s “Currite ad aras” (ZWV 166): Latin Text Revisited“

PhDr. Jiří K. Kroupa (born 1964, 15th June, in Opočno, Eastern Bohemia)


  • 1982-87: Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno: Czech language and literature – history (1987: PhDr.) 


  • 1988-2002: Institute for Classi­cal Studies of the ASCR, Prague: a member of staff 
  • 2002-2008: Institute of Botany of the ASCR, Prague: a member of staff (digitization of rare herbaria collections, data analysis, internet database systems, computing in botany)
  • since 2002: Association for Central European Cultural Studies, Prague: president & member of staff

Other professional activities:

  • since 2000: chief editor of the series Clavis monumentorum musicorum Regni Bohemiae (15 vols.)
  • since 2005: chief co-editor of the scholarly revue Antiqua Cuthna
  • since 2013: chief editor of the online scholarly revue Clavibus unitis
  • passim: editorial works for the publishing house KLP – Koniasch Latin Press (since 1993, more than 100 scholarly titles)


History of culture in the Bohemian Lands (esp. music and literature), textual criticism, correspondence of Bedřich Smetana…

The paper tries to reconstruct a hard-to-read Latin text of Zelenka’s motet Currite ad aras from 1716 and to show errors in its previous interpretations. The analysis of the correct text then opens the way to further reflections on the origin and function of this early Zelenka’s composition.


15.50 – 16.00
Diskuze / Discussion

16.00 – 16.10
Přestávka / Coffee break


16.10 – 16.30
Ondřej DOBISÍK (Prague): „The Second Life of Palestrina’s „Missa Papae Marcelli“ in the 17th and 18th Centuries“

Amateur musicologist, semi-amateur musician.
The favourite era of music: 1550-1650.

The influence of Palestrina’s contrapunctal technique, as well as the enduring legend of Missa Papae Marcelli, is well documented throughout the centuries. This little report will tell the story of the composer’s most famous composition moving through and reacting to changing musical times of the 17th and 18th centuries.


16.30 – 16.40
Diskuze / Discussion




The Zelenka Festival Prague program also includes a one-day conference with the most important representatives of current Zelenka research, presenting yet unpublished research findings focused on the life and work of Jan Dismas Zelenka. The interest in Zelenka’s music is in sharp conflict with the critical lack of information resulting from the ongoing musicological research. The aim of the Zelenka Conference is to create a platform to give publicity to the results of contemporary foreign research on Zelenka. In addition, it should bring inspiration to restart research of Zelenka’s work which has been standing still for many years in the Czech Republic. Even this year, even if only online, we can look forward to lecturers from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Iceland. We believe that the lecturers from the Czech Republic and perhaps from neighbouring countries will meet in person.


The conference is organized by Ensemble Inégal with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

The co-organizer of the International Zelenka Conference Prague is The Institute of Art History of the CAS.


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