Czech Children's Choir Jitro
Jitro ("Daybreak"), main choir
Jitro, award-winning choir from the Czech Republic, was set up in 1973 by Josef Vratil. Since 1977, it has been directed by artistic director and chorusmaster Jiří Skopal. The choir tours regularly in many European, Asian and American countries, and takes part in international choral competitions. Jitro is a complex institution with a membership of around 350 young singers ranging between five and 19 years of age.
For 35 years Jitro has been admired all over the world for its tonal brilliance, superb intonation, distinctive rich blend of sound and energetic vitality. Jitro is today seen as one of the best children’s choirs anywhere in the world. Many golden awards and absolute victories have been bestowed on the choir by international juries. The list can begin with the prestigious European contests in Llangollen (Wales, United Kingdom, 1988), Nantes (France, 1989), Lecco (Italy, 1990) and Neerpelt (Netherlends, 1996) and finish with the recent World competitions.
In 2003, at the International Songs Festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic, the choir competed in six categories against 171 choruses from around the world and earned six Gold Medals and absolute victory (scoring even one hundred points - twice). The choir took part in the Fourth World Choir Games 2006 in Xiamen, China in July 2006 and competed with four hundred choirs from all over the world. Jitro received three gold medals and one silver medal, which attests to the continuing excellence by Jitro.
America’s love of Jitro was re-born when the choir was invited to sing at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in San Antonio, Texas in 1993. Standing ovations were given by thousands of professional American conductors in the auditorium. An official response from Dr. J. B. Haberlen, ACDA President, “Our ACDA members will long remember your concerts, as they were a major highlight of the 1993 convention.” The excitement in this select audience of choral conductors and their sustained applause attest to this fact. Professor Doreen Rao of Toronto University commented, “Are you aware that you have just changed forever the character and style of all American choral singing?”
Jitro Choir makes over 100 appearances annually and has sung with other renowned choruses, including the American Boys’ Choir. Jitro has performed with the Bavarian Symphonic Orchestra, the Milano Symphonic Orchestra and Pardubice Philharmonic. They have performed in prestigious concert halls in Prague, Chicago, Hale, Strasbourg, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, Baltimore, Tokyo, Bern, Barcelona, Paris, Fukushima, Dortmund, Toulouse, Atlanta, Ithaca, Penn State University, Avignon, New York, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Hong Kong, Basle, Hiroshima, Madison, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Naschville, Osaka, Xiamen and many many more.
Artistic director and conductor Professor Jiri Skopal, Ph.D. is associated with the the Czech Girls' Choir (Jitro) since 1977. In 1982, he also formed a boys' choir. Professor Skopal has been a teacher, professor and the head of the Department of Music at University of Hradec Kralove. He has also published essays and choir education textbooks. Professor Skopal is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including his selection by the American Biographical Institute as "Man of the Year" in 1993, honoring his outstanding musical accomplishments. In the year 2000, he was the very first person to be awarded the prestigious prize "Primus Inter Pares" by the City of Hradec Kralove for his outstanding contributions to the regional culture. Professor Skopal works with accompanist Michael Chrobak on many artistic activities for the choir, including the development of their repertoire.