Obituary: Jiří Preisinger (October 1, 1948 – July 9, 2021)
It is with great sadness that The Czech Johann Strauss Society announces the passing away of Jiří Preisinger, an initiator and founding member of the Society.
Jiří was born in Pozorice near Brno (Brünn), Czechoslovakia, and he died there at the age of 72.
After completing elementary school, Jiří Presinger studied violin at the State Music Conservatory in Brno under Professor Josef Holub. After he had finished his studies in 1970, he joined the Brno State Philharmonics, and after a short period of time, he was offered the post of a Concert Master in the Bratislava National Theater Orchestra. Soon, he received another tantalizing offer: to perform in West Germany. He left for Germany in 1972 and stayed there. He settled in Coburg, Bavaria, where he held the post of a Concert Master for many years.
At an age when others are eyeing retirement, Jiří determined to do what he had always wanted to do: step out of the monotonous theater routine and become a freelance solo and ensemble violinist. He started to perform Viennese music with an orchestral ensemble of 16 players under the name of Flotte Geister. The name was inspired by the title of Barinkay’s entrance song from Der Zigeunerbaron.
Beside being an initiator and a founding member of the Czech Society, he was also a long-time member of the German Johann Strauss Society. In cooperation with the Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain, Jiří recorded the highly successful CDs Vienna Spirit and its sequel Vienna Spirit II. In 2004, to commemorate Johann Strauss Father’s 200th birth anniversary, Jiří recorded an interesting Strauss Father CD.
Jiří Preisinger’s biggest project was the live performance and recording of Johann Strauss’ operetta Jabuka for Naxos with Christian Pollack conducting. This was a contribution by the Czech Johann Strauss Society to the EJSF – THE EUROPEAN FESTIVAL OF WORKS FOR THE STAGE BY JOHANN STRAUSS project – of having all Johann Strauss operettas performed.
Jiří performed at spa towns in the Czech Republic, in Germany, Austria, Croatia, and elsewhere. His interest spanned not only Viennese music, but sacred music as well, which he often performed with his wife Valerie, a professional pianist and church organ player. He was especially fond of presenting music by the baroque composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644–1704) who was considered as one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his time. This demanding music speaks itself for what an excellent violinist Jiří Preisinger was.
Fate was kind to him in that he died in his native town, with his closest family around him until the end. Jiří leaves behind his wife Valerie, daughter Barunka, two grandchildren and sister Vera Chalupecky. It was his sister who was the organizer of 22 consecutive annual concerts at the Slavkov (Austerlitz) castle. The last one took place on Saturday, September 4, before a sold-out hall under the baton of Christian Pollack. The concert ended with standing ovations. Our Society will miss Jiří Preisinger very much, as a musician and as an excellent friend.