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Bansko Jazz 2011 – Ondřej Štveráček Quartet

October 13, 2011 by · No comments

Interview by Dessislava Berndt with Ondřej Štveráček

Jazz Festival Bansko

The International Jazz Festival in Bansko is one of the biggest summer musical events in Bulgaria and one of the foremost international cultural happenings on the Balkans.

Since its foundation in 1998 the festival has been held every year from August 8th to 13th in the small town of Bansko. The concerts are free for the public.

Traditionally, the programme features styles and groups representing almost all jazz trends. During the festival week jazz is also played on various smaller stages in the large resort complexes and restaurants.

Today we would like to present you Ondřej Štveráček from Ondřej Štveráček Quartet, who played this summer at the XIV International Jazz Festival in Bansko.

Photo: Alena Chlumská

What does music mean to you?

What music means to me? It´s one of the most important parts of my life, together with the love of my friends and family.

Music, especially jazz music or any music, where there’s a space for improvisation, gives me freedom, fun, happiness, chance for being creative.

How has the environment affected your personality and your music?

These days it´s difficult to play jazz or make living out of playing jazz, because only little percentage of the people care about culture, or understand it, or have time for it…

And nowadays jazz is difficult for the common listener to understand, since mostly musicians or very sensitive people are capable of getting joy out of it. So, sometimes it can be depressing to get along with the “hostile” environment. But, still, the music we make is what gives us power to continue.

Photo: Alena Chlumská

Was 2011 your first time at the International Jazz Festival Bansko?

Yes, and I really liked it, the audience was very friendly and I made new friends there. I hope I come back soon…

Photo: D. Berndt

What do you know about Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people?

That it´s a proud nation and as far as I could discover, they´re very open people.


Photos: Peter Stračina

For you, what was the most surprising experience working with different musicians?

That probably all great musicians I´ve met were very nice and humble people.

What are you dreaming about?

I´m dreaming of a world with no wars, where people don’t hate each other and have more free time to enjoy life and do different kinds of art.

Photo: Zdenko Hanout

Who or what is the source of your inspiration?

Of course, the great jazz masters like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Joe Henderson, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jerry Bergonzi, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, Mark Turner, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and thousand other. And of course masters of classical music from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy etc. And the musicians I play with or hear them playing….

What is the greatest satisfaction for you as an artist and your biggest challenge?

Greatest satisfaction for me is when I make someone happy with the music I play. Biggest challenge…? To play better and better, be a better musician.

Photo: Zdenko Hanout

What is the most important thing that people should know about you?

That I´m playing for them…

Would you please tell us something about your current and future projects?

These days I´m writing some songs for a new album I´d like to record next year, with my Quartet and maybe few guests; in the meantime I’m touring with my band. Then I´m a member of East West European Jazz Orchestra, Matuš Jakabčic CZ/SK Bigband, Gustav Brom Bigband, Oskar Rozsa Partnership Unlimited, Jonathan Crossley Electric Band and few others.

Where can your albums be bought from?

You can buy ONDREJ STVERACEK QUARTET – WHAT´S OUTSIDE at my concerts or at, iTunes…


Ondřej Štveráček started to play tenor saxophone at age of 15 at Student´s Bigband in Litvínov. He is absolvent of Conservatory of J. Ježek in Prague and finalist of International Jazz Contest 2003 in Hoeilaart, Belgium.

Štveráček is member of EAST-WEST EUROPEAN ORCHESTRA, GUSTAV BROM Bigband, MATUS JAKABCIC Bigband and guest soloist for Czech Radio Bigband. He played with Jerry Bergonzi, Dave Liebman, George Mraz, Dennis Rowland, Philip Harper, Uwe Plath, Ryan Carniaux, Erik Doelman, Udo Van Boven, Mel Canady, Stepan Markovic, Erik Rottenstein, Lubos Sramek, Klaudius Kovac, David Doruzka, Angelko Stupar, Vladimir Kostadinovic, Karel Ruzicka, Jaromir Honzak, Gabriel Jonas, Juraj Griglak, Julius Baros, Milan Nikolic, Juraj Bartos, Oskar Rozsa and many others…

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