The mixed choir 'Gaudium Pragense' was set up at the end of 1989. It comprises about 45 people, who decided to devote their spare time to choral chamber music. For the first ten years of its existence, the choir was under the artistic leadership of Professor Jiří Smutný. In December of 1998, Professor Smutný passed on the conductor's baton to the composer Lukáš Hurník (*1967). For more than ten years the choir was fortunate enough to have the excellent pianist Jana Hurníková accompanying them on the organ for rehearsals and concerts, until the end of 2007 when she relinquished her position to the young and talented organist Ivana Michalovičová.
The Choir's repertoire includes European choral works from the Renaissance right up to the 21st Century. A notable part of the repertoire consists of the works of Czech baroque composers such as F.I. Tůma, J.D. Zelenka, B.M. Černohorský, as well as works composed specifically for Gaudium Pragense (by L. Hurník). The choir sings with organ accompaniment or a cappella and occasionally performs with a chamber orchestra.
Apart from its own concerts, Gaudium Pragense also performs at celebratory events in an academic setting (graduation and matriculation ceremonies and academic conferences) as well as at charitable events and celebratory events in the corporate world.
The choir maintains regular musical contact with choirs abroad who have similar interests, and organises joint concerts when these choirs are performing in Prague.
In 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1997 Gaudium Pragense undertook a concert tour to France and Germany. In 1994, the choir performed at the Eurochorales festival in Angers, France.
A notable event in 1996 was their concert with the University Symphony Orchestra in Vienna. Their tours to Italy also ended with great success at the 17th Rassegna Polifonica Internazionale festival (Montefiore, 1996) and the 4th Festival di Musica Sacra (Novara, 1999). In September of 1999, Gaudium Pragense performed at concerts in Brittany and Normandy as the guest of the Parisian choir l'Ensemble Choral Philomele. The following year Gaudium Pragense sang in Sweden's Uddevalla. The choir performed in a series of six concerts in Brittany in 2001; in 2002 there was a concert in Spain, and in 2003 a major concert tour in Alsace.
Among the most significant performances at home in the Czech Republic was the final concert at the ForFest festival in Kroměříž and the participation of Gaudium Pragense in the Zelenka celebrations at the birthplace of this world-famous composer in Louňovice pod Blaníkem.
As well as our major annual concerts where the public is presented with the fruits of our artistic labours - the Spring concert in Karolinum and the Christmas concert in the Bethlehem Chapel - the choir has performed at the following events:
In the Spring of 2004 we organised a tour to Susegana (Italy), then back in Prague we were hosts to the Spanish ensemble Orfeo Santa Coloma. In October we once again visited Italy (Rosazza, Aquileia, San Canzian D Isonzo, Molfacone, Redipuglio) this time with a new programme.
2005 began with the recording of incidental music for the theatrical play Pharaoh in a radio broadcasting studio. In June, we made recordings for the Multisonic company in the Czech national radio studio. In October, we organised a celebratory concert in Bernštejn castle.
We opened our 2006 season in April with a very successful concert of works by Bach in Karolinum. In October, we went on an artistic tour to Catalonia (Santa Coloma, La Liacuna, Barcelona, Tarragona), where we had the honour of singing Stravinsky's songs 'Pater Noster' and 'Ave Maria' at mass in the most famous Catalonian monastery in Monserrat.
We began 2007 with a May concert of works by Mendelssohn in Karolinum. In May we also performed in the chapel of the castle in Brandýs n/L (works by Mendelssohn, Lasso, Mozart). On the 21st of June, the anniversary of the execution of the 27 representatives of Czech estates, we performed in the church of St Nicholas on the Old Town Square with a programme to honour their memory. In September we visited Paris and sang in concerts in the Saint-Saturnin d'Antony and Saint Marguerite churches. In November we performed at the concert in the B. Martinů hall in Lichtenštein Palace on the occasion of the 85th birthday of Ilja Hurník, and among the pieces that we performed was the extremely challenging 'Ancient paintings' by Ilja Hurník.
The 2008 season began in April with two joint concerts with the French choir l'Ensemble Choral Philomele. In May we arranged our spring concert in Karolinum under the title 'Barocco - profound and amusing'. In June we performed at the renowned festival of choral singing in Jihlava (with works by Hurník, Teml, Bach, Mendelssohn), and in October we performed in a concert in Saint Ludmila's Church in Vinohrady for the anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic.
For Czech Radio Gaudium Pragense recorded the complete collection of Responsories by Jan Dimas Zelenka in 1996-7 and 'Stabat Mater' by František Ignác Tůma in 1999. These two recordings formed a large part of the first CD published by Gaudium Pragense. In 2005, the choir struck up a partnership with the recording company Multisonic, which led in 2006 to the releasing of two thematic CDs by the titles of Laudetur 1 and Laudetur 2. Both CDs were reviewed in the magazine 'Musical Perspectives'.