Czech Phil is shocked by Covid death

Czech Phil is shocked by Covid death


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2021

The orchestra has learned of the death from Covid of its long-serving pianist Jaroslav Šaroun.

Among other contributions, Jaroslav Šaroun was pianist on the Czech Philharmonic recording of Rusalka conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, coaching  Renee Fleming, Ben Heppner, Dolora Zajick, and Franz Hawlata in the intricacies of Czech diction.

Jaroslav Šaroun, who was 77, lived in a village on the outskirts of Prague, where he was an expert beekeeper.



  • I will never forget working with him when I was assistant conductor and he the pianist for that recording of Rusalka led by Sir Charles Mackerras.

    Our recording included all of the opera with absolutely no cuts. When one of the singers showed up about a half-hour before the orchestra was due to record their scene, I met them at the entrance to double-check that they knew all the material. I asked, “you do know the cuts, right?” To which they said, “Yes, of course, that material is always cut.” I explained “yes, it always is, but we are recording it today! You can sing that material, right?” to which they were, of course, shocked and said that they had never heard it in their life. Mr. Šaroun and I had one incredibly intense session teaching this “new” music, which was then successfully recorded within the hour! Those are some of the unforgettable moments I will cherish as I remember him with a smile and a tear.

  • Bern says:

    Would you Norman please write “Czech Phil is shocked by Covid death by it’s former musician”. Like Berlin Phil case – I first thought that some of current members is dead. It would be polite that there is always a right title

  • fflambeau says:

    I very much doubt that members of the Czech Phil are shocked by a Covid death of a former member. They are not stupid. It is happening all over the world. Just read your own stories!