c h o i r m a s t e r
Čeněk Svoboda was born in 1978 in Liberec, where he also finished his violin studies at elementary artistic school. Already during his studies at the F. X. Šalda grammar school, he began applying himself intensively to choir singing, and between 1993–1998, he was a member of Liberec mixed chamber choir Rosex. In 1994, Čeněk Svoboda founded an ensemble called Vokální oktet and led the ensemble as artistic director until 2003. Since 2000, he has been the conductor of a grammar-school choir Cum decore in Liberec, and since 2006, he has also been working with another Liberec choir Ještěd, becoming their first conductor in January 2007.
In Prague, Čeněk Svoboda studied conducting at the Pedagogic Faculty of Charles University under Jiří Kolář and Marek Valášek. As a conductor, he won several awards in domestic and international choirmasters’ competitions. In 2005, the Singing Choirs Union awarded Čeněk Svoboda a national award Junior Conductor. Between 2003-2007, he and the choir Cum decore got a number of awards at major international festivals (Praga cantat 2004, Jihlava 2005, Ifas 2006, Bratislava 2007).
Apart from conducting, Čeněk Svoboda also devotes himself to solo singing (in private lessons with Svatava Šubrtová). Lately, he has been singing professionally both as an ensemble singer and as a soloist in leading local and international early music vocal ensembles (Collegium Vocale 1704, Doulce Mémoire, Collegium Marianum, Musica Florea, Ensemble Inégal and others).
Čeněk Svoboda began working with Collegium 419 in spring 2004 and between 2004-2007 he rehearsed and produced a number of great works of early music: complete set of Motets by Johann Sebastian Bach, Officium defunctorum by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Responsories by Jan Dismas Zelenka, Missa quinis vocibus by Kryštof Harant and many others.
In autumn 2007 Čeněk Svoboda became artistic leader of Collegium 419.
Marika Pečená was born in 1973 in Prague. She has applied herself to choir conducting and historical interpretation of early music since the mid-nineties. She studied conducting privately under Čestmír Stašek as well as under Marek Štryncl at Týnská škola in Prague.
From 1996-1998, Marika Pečená was second conductor at Bach-Collegium Prague where she mastered principles of choir conducting under Vladimír Novák.
In 1999 she founded Collegium 419, an ensemble specialized in historical interpretation of early music.
Marika Pečená specializes primarily in German Baroque music. With Collegium 419 accompanied by instrumental ensemble Hipocondria she produced cantatas cycle Membra Jesu nostri by Dietrich Buxtehude, in 2004 e.g. Musikalische Exequien by Heinrich Schütz and in 2005, Marika Pečená staged a restored premiere of Responsories by Jakub Jan Ryba at the “Svatováclavské hudební slavnosti” festival.
Marika Pečená is also engaged in searching and transcribing historical music materials and has also led international spiritual music courses Convivium 2004 and 2005, organised by The Society for Spiritual Music.
In Collegium 419, she acted as artistic leader since its founding until September 2007.