Prof. Vladimir Franz is a prominent Czech composer, painter and stage music author, six-time winner of the prestigeous Alfred Radok Foundation Award (1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005-2007) and holder of the Theatre News Prize (2001), and since the beginning of 1990’s also one of the leading personalities of Czech post-modern drama. His stage music compositions affected and inspired the work of the most important representatives of the new generation of theatre directors. In his work he has followed the principles of his own theoretical concept of independent status of stage music as one of the determining components of the drama.
Vladimir Franz was born on May 25, 1959, in Prague. Between 1978 and 1982 he studied at the Faculty of Law of Charles University, at the same time taking private painting lessons with the famous Czech painters Karel Souček and Andrej Bělocvetov, studying composition with Prof. Vladimir Sommer, history of art with Prof. Jaromír Homolka and history of music with Prof. Jaromír Kincl. In 1981-1984 he became co-founder, set designer, art designer and composer of the author’s Kytka Theatre. At the present time, he works as head of music dramatics at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts. Until November 1999 he was also chairman of its Academic Senate.
From 2014 to 2017 he was an adviser to the Czech minister of culture Daniel Herman.
Vladimir Franz’s music creation is extensive. To date, he has composed stage music for more than 160 drama productions, including theatre performances (some of them were released on CD), stage oratorios Judith (Judit, 1999), Ruth (Rut, 2000) and Hercules (Herakles, 2002) and the musical Temptation of St Anthony (Pokušení sv. Antonina, 2001), the oratorio Ludus Danielis (1989) and the same-name opera (2000); the opera The War with the Newts (Válka s mloky, composed 2005, premiere 2013), the opera-oratorio Valley of Dry Bones (Údolí suchých kostí, premiere 2009), and the ballet Goldilocks (Zlatovláska, premiere 2006).
He has composed some 150 songs and ballads, the folk suittes Mardi grass (Masopust, 1984) and Love and Death (Láska a smrt, 1985); music for the performances Construction of the Tower of Babel (Stavba Babylónské věže, 1994) and The Republic Celebrates its Birthday (Republika má narozeniny, 2006); music for the multimedia project Icaros Ascending (Ikarův vzestup, 1995); music for for radio plays Hamlet (2001), The Tempest (Bouře, 2002), and Achajove (2007). Furthemore, he has composed the chamber cantata The Cry of Spectres (Křik strašidel) to the same-name poem of a famous Czech poet and the Nobel Prize winner Jaroslav Seifert, the cantata for a mixed choir Tractatus Pads (based on the text of a medieval European peace agreement proposal and some parts of biblical Apocalypse).
Vladimir Franz has also composed music for the TV play Historical Events (Dějinné události); for the documentaries Journey to Sambhala (Cesta do Sambhaly) and Varga; music for Tomáš Vorel’s feature film The Stone Bridge (Kamenný most, released on CD in 1996 and in 1997); part of the music for Vít Olmer’s movie Waterloo in the Czech Way (Waterloo po česku, 2002); and music for Jakub Hussar’s feature sci-fi movie Skeletons (Skeletoni).
In addition, he has composed the First symphony for solo voices, narrator, children’s choir, mixed choir, organ and orchestra Songs on solitudes (Písně o Samotách, 2003; first performance 2004); the „pocket oratorios Young Men in the Stew (Mládenci v peci ohnivé, 2007) and Prezidentská volba (Presidential Election, 2014); the symphonic overture The Bourgeois Gentleman (Měšták šlechticem, 2007) and the symphonic poems Radobýl (2010; first performance by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) and Morava (2014; first performance by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra).
Vladimir Franz has also composed organ and drums variations Dialogues (Dialogy), organ Variations in Homage to John IV of Dražice (Variace k poctě Jana IVz Dražie), Variations in Homage to St George (Variace k poctě sv. Jiří), Variations in Homage to St Wenceslas (Variace k poctě sv. Václava), Variations in Homage to St John of Nepomuk (Variace k poctě sv. Jana Nepomuckého), Homage to Vitkov Hill (Pocta hoře Vítkov) and cycles of madrigals Choruses from Oedipus the King (Sbory z Krále Oidipa), Theatre Madrigals (Divadelní madrigaly) and The Radiant Night (Zářící noc).
He has applied his education in a wide range of activities. As a painter, to date he has held 97 independent exhibitions both in the Czech Republic and abroad and participated in more than fifty collective shows, exhibitions and competitions. His works of art are on display in galleries and form part of private collections on three continents.
In 2012 he was also a registered candidate in the 2013 Czech presidential election; in the 1st round of the election, he placed 5th with 6.84% (351,916 votes).