JAN PĚRUŠKA (born in Opava, 1951) is a prominent representative of the Czech viola school. He studied at the Conservatory in Ostrava in the class of Miroslav Němec, followed by studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the class of prof. Jaroslav Motlík. During the years 1977 – 1985 he was the solo violist of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Real landmark was 1981, when Pěruška won the 1st prize at the prestigious International Viola Competition in Markneukirchen (Germany), which has made him a sought after soloist. He has collaborated with a great number of an outstanding musicians such as Josef Suk, Jan Panenka, Josef Hála, Dagmar Pecková and also with prominent ensmebles like the Talich Quartet, Kocian Quartet or the Pražák Quartet. As a soloist he has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava and others.
His solo repertoire comprises early Baroque compositions up to contemporary composers. Pěruška’s outstanding interpretation has been captured on more than 120 CDs and around 450 recordings for radio and television. At present he records major works of Czech and international viola repertoire. His CDs (Masterpieces for viola and double bass, Beautiful viola, Russian viola, The viola of Bohuslav Martinů, Praise of viola, The unknown Czech viola, Viola of the Czech Emigration, and Viola e Contrabbasso Concertanti) have attracted lots of attention. The CD Tempers of the Contemporary Viola was chosen as the TIP of the month February 2011 by the Czech magazine Harmonie.
He is a founding member of the Stamic Quartet (since 1985). Only a year after the quartet’s foundation, the ensemble won the International Competition of String Quartets in Salzburg (1986) organized by the EBU-OIRT. During the 38 years of its activity, the Stamic Quartet has performed more than 2500 concerts all over the world. The quartet also won many important awards, such as the Prize of the Czech Chamber Music Society (1987), Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros (1988, 1991), Diapason d’or (1993), Golden Song Prize for a recording of Chinese melodies (1995), Prize of the Czech Music Council for complete recordings of Alois Hába’s string quartets at the Prague Spring Festival in 1997 or the Diapason Decouverte for complete recordings of the J. B. Foerster’s string quartets, granted by the journal Diapason (2010). Their CD with Sofia Gubaidulina’s complete string quartets was chosen as the best recording (IRR OUTSTANDING) by the British magazine International Record Review (March 2012) and it was also recommended as the editor’s TIP in the magazine Harmonie (June 2012). The CD with Karel Kovařovic’s complete string quartets was chosen as the Recording of the Week by Presto Classical (July 2019).
Since 1990 Pěruška has been teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 2006 he obtained professorship of viola, awarded by the President of the Czech Republic.