Organist and teacher Karel Paukert to receive an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague on 13 October
Further to a nomination by the Music and Dance Faculty, the doctor honoris causa honorary degree will be bestowed on organist Karel Paukert in the Martinů hall of the Music and Dance Faculty on 13 October 2022 from 2 pm. Along with being a professor appointment and the Gold Medal of the Rector of AMU, the doctor honoris causa degree represents the highest rate of appreciation for one’s life and achievements that the university grants. Karel Paukert will receive the degree for his essential contributions to development in the field of organ playing and for disseminating and promoting Czech music internationally.
Karel Paukert (*1 January 1935) is known primarily as an organ player, although he has also worked as an art curator, music teacher, and oboe player.
Having completed his studies at the Prague Conservatory, he was profoundly influenced by meeting organist Gabriel Verschraegen. The encounter enhanced his desire for music as well as for living in the free world. He left the country illegally for Iceland where he went on to work as the first chair oboe player in the local National Orchestra. Following this stint, he decided to settle in Ghent, Belgium at the Royal Conservatory in a class taught by Professor Verschraegen. Later on, he would substitute for Professor Verschraegen on organ in St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent and also became his assistant at the Conservatory. Karel Paukert emigrated to the USA in 1964. His first job in the United States was as an assistant professor at the Washington University in Saint Louis. He was the professor of organ playing at the Northwestern University in Evanston and Chicago from 1968 to 1974, and from 1974 to 2004 he was the Curator of Musical Arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art. From 1976 on, he worked as a teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and until recently, he was also the organist and choirmaster for St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland. After 1989, he started returning to Czechia regularly. In America, he has done an excellent job of promoting Czech baroque and classical music, both secular and ecclesiastical, and contemporary Czech composers. Paukert has received three awards for programming new music from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)/ Chamber Music America (CMA), a lifetime achievement award from the publishers of the magazine Northern Ohio Live, and a Distinguished Citizen Award from the city of University Heights, Ohio. The Cleveland Institute of Music bestowed on him an hon¬orary doctorate. Karel Paukert currently lives in Cleveland, teaching organ playing, performing in concerts and writing a book of his memoirs in which he revisits his childhood memories, his musical roots, his pivotal encounters in life and his desire for freedom.
The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague has been bestowing its honorary doctorate degrees on luminaries in the field of theatre, cinema, music, and dance for 26 years. To date, the Rectors of the university have given the degree to no fewer than 18 personalities including Agnieszka Holland, Ladislav Smoček, Jiří Bělohlávek, Václav Havel, Miloš Forman and Martin Huba.