That boy is now the internationally-recognized pianist, Miroslav Sekera, and he’s in Boston rehearsing with Shakespeare Concerts. This week, we caught up with Mr. Sekera about portraying the famous composer as a child, his musical background, and what he’s up to in Boston.
Don’t miss his performance in the Oscar-winning film, on the big screen this Friday, April 10 at 7PM at the Somerville Theatre! Featuring a live performance by Duncan Rock (BLO’s Don Giovanni) a beer special from Aeronaut Brewery, a raffle, and more. Learn more.
BLO: Was Amadeus your first movie? What was the audition process like? How old were you?
Miroslav Sekera: Yes, it was my first experience with movies. I was seven years old. Luckily, there was no audition process for the role. They were filming several scenes in Prague, and were looking for a child musician who could play both violin and piano (cembalo). They inquired at a very well-known music school, where I studied, so we connected through my teachers.
BLO: What was the filming process like? What are your memories or stories about the process?
MS: I remember one story very clearly: My first tooth fell out, so we were worried about filming. Forman’s assistant told me, no problem, they will make something [a fake tooth] in the make-up room for you. But Mr. Forman stopped us and said, “Calm down, Mozart’s teeth fell out when he was a boy also!” It is very funny, because in my scene I don’t smile and I keep my mouth closed!
BLO: What was your musical training and background like at that point? Did you come from a musical family?
MS: I'm not from a musical family, though all my family members like to sing together, mainly folk songs. I started my [formal] musical education when I was three years old. We visited a very well-known piano teacher for children, Zdena Janzurova. She tried my talent and told me and my grandmother: “He could start learning violin, he has perfect pitch.” We agreed, but I told her that I wanted to play the piano also. So thanks to my grandmother, I studied with her in Prague twice a week.
BLO: Were you already doing professional gigs as a child, or did you decide to make music your career later?
MS: Music was always the clear choice for me. I practiced my instrument every day since I was three years old, and I was called a “child prodigy.” Plus, I love music! When I was fifteen years old, I began studying piano at the Prague Conservatory. I continued to play violin as a hobby. I received some prizes from international competitions, but when some people heard about my performance in an Oscar-winning movie, that felt like the greatest point in my professional career, paradoxically!
BLO: Are you a Mozart fan?
MS: Of course! Mozart is one of greatest composers ever. His music is beautifully clear, but also is one of the most difficult for interpretation.
BLO: What projects are you working on now and why are you currently in Boston? What are your interests as an artist?
MS: Right now, I am working with the composer Joseph Summer, as he prepares the premiere of his opera, The Tempest. We have collaborated together for more than ten years. I like his music, it is so emotional.
I have many upcoming concerts in my country [the Czech Republic] and in Europe. For example, next month I have three recitals in my country and am recording a CD of a piano concerto by B. Martinu. Next year, the violinist Josef Spacek (my good friend and a finalist in the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels) and I will play together in Washington, DC, at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
Don’t miss Mr. Sekera’s appearance in The Tempest, a new chamber opera by Joseph Summer, with Shakespeare Concerts. Performing Friday, April 17 at the Somerville Theatre. Tickets available here!