Emil Viklicky was born in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic),
where in 1971 he graduated from Palacky University with a degree in
mathematics. While a student he devoted much time to playing jazz piano. In
1974, he was awarded the prize for best soloist at the Czechoslovak Amateur
Jazz Festival, and that same year he joined Karel Velebny's SHQ ensemble. In
1976, he was a prizewinner at the jazz improvisation competition in Lyon,
and his composition "Green Satin" (Zeleny saten) earned him first prize in the
music conservatory competition in Monaco, where in 1985 his "Cacharel" won
second prize in the same competition.
In 1977, he was awarded a year's scholarship to study composition and
arrangement with Herb Pomeroy at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He
then continued his composition studies with Jarmo Sermila, George Crumb
and Vaclav Kucera. Since returning to Prague, he has led his own ensembles
(primarily quartets and quintets), composed and arranged, and - since the
death of Karel Velebny - worked as director of the Summer Jazz Workshops
in Frydlant. He has lectured at a similar workshop event in Glamorgan, Wales.
Between 1991 and 1995, Viklicky was President of the Czech Jazz Society,
and since 1994 he has worked with the Ad lib Moravia ensemble, whose
performances combine elements of Moravian folk music, modern jazz and
contemporary serious music. In 1996, the ensemble undertook a highly
successful concert tour of Mexico and the United States.
As a pianist, Viklicky often performs in international ensembles alongside
musicians from the U.S. and other European countries, including the Lou
Blackburn International Quartet, the Benny Bailey Quintet, and multi-
instrumentalist Scott Robinson. He has made frequent appearances in Finland
(with the Finnczech Quartet and in particular with Jarmo Sermila) and Norway
(with the Czech-Norwegian Big Band and Harald Gundhus) and has
performed in the USA, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Germany, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands (at the North Sea Festival) and elsewhere. The editor of
Rolling Stone wrote of Viklicky that "It was a delightful surprise to
see such first-class, top-of-the-line jazz in Prague."
As a composer, Viklicky has attracted attention abroad primarily for having
created a synthesis of the expressive elements of modern jazz with the
melodicism and tonalities of Moravian folk song that is distinctly individual in
contemporary jazz. Besides this, however, he also composes "straight-ahead"
modern jazz as well as chamber and orchestral works that utilize certain
elements of the New Music, and at times his music requires a combination of
classical and jazz performers. He also composes incidental and film music
and has produced scores for several full-length feature films and television
series. Throughout the 1990s he devoted an increasing amount of time to the
composition of contemporary classical music for a great variety of
instrumental combinations ranging from small chamber ensembles and
electronic instruments to symphony orchestras and choruses. Viklicky's work
has gained him a number of prestigious awards.