Jan Čižmář
Musical improvisation
Lute, Theorbo & Guitar

Jan Cizmar is a versatile performer on plucked instruments, focusing on historical lutes and early guitars. After completing his guitar and musicology studies in his native city of Brno, Czech Republic, he was at the Royal College of Music in London studying classical guitar and later lute with Jakob Lindberg. Following were his studies with Nigel North, Joachim Held, Mike Fentross and Christina Pluhar at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, The Netherlands. He has also taken masterclasses with Hopkinson Smith, Evangelina Mascardi and Yasonuri Immamura. He was awarded MA degree with special mention for his research work brought into practice. Currently he is a PhD. student in the field of early music at both the Masaryk University and Janáček Academy of Music.

In Poland, he is part of a research team focused on the lute music collection of the Krzeszów monastery library, where he is systematically recording local manuscripts on CDs and video (the most recent recording being CD Saint Amour and video project Ksiega na lutnie).

Apart from performing baroque and renaissance repertoire as a soloist, he is regularly working with various chamber ensembles. He is artistic director of Plaisirs de Musique, an ensemble specialised in authentic interpretation of early music on period instruments. Members of the ensemble are leading European instrumentalists of the early music movement as well as singers, dancers and actors.

Jan Cizmar regularly performs in concerts and opera productions in Europe and USA with groups such as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Collegium 1704, Cappella Cracowiensis, Wroclawska Orkiestra Barokowa, Il Tempo, Arte dei Suonatori, or {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna under conductors such as Frans Brϋggen, Christopher Hogwood, Giovanni Antonini, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Christina Pluhar, Václav Luks or Christophe Coin.

In his non-early music past he was busy as a rock, jazz and later as a classical guitarist. He toured Europe with a New York production of Jesus Christ Superstar as a rock guitarist and has appeared on stage a.o. with the Lindsay Kemp Company – Spanish tour of Elisabeth I: El ultimo baile, Leine & Roebana Dance company, a.o. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Czech guitar and lute magazine Kytara and regularly contributes to other musical periodicals. He has also worked as a musical editor for several publishing houses including Bärenreiter.

Since 2010 he is programming director of Early music concert cycle and Summer festival Musical Delicacies. Since 2013 he is musical director for baroque operas of „Opera on tour“, having produced their first staged production (Domenico Sarri: Didone Abbandonata) in 2014, leading an international cast and {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna.

Jan Cizmar has been teaching at the Akademia Muzycna im. K.Szymanowskiego in Katowice. Currently he is teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno and at the Masaryk University in Brno. He collaborates regularly with Uniwesytet im. Fr. Chopina within Forum Muzyki Dawnej and also teaches on regular basis at the Miedzynarodowa Letnia Akademia Muzyki Dawnej (Wilanów/Warszawa).

Further information about Jan Čižmář can be found at:

Jan Čižmář

About The Class

Lute, Theorbo & Guitar

Musicians with any kind of historical instrument are welcome. In case of high number of applicants, we will go for lute consort (specific instruments will be provided by the tutor). Modern guitar players are welcome too; within the course, they will have a chance to borrow a historical instrument.

The class is intended preferably for advanced musicians. As for solo lessons, the priority will be given to young professionals and students of music. Others will be offered lute consort repertoire prepared by the tutor. Less advanced players may participate in this class after consultation with the tutor.

Musical improvisation

Tutoring in historical improvisation will partly take place during the morning classes, partly in the afternoon. It will involve theoretical background provided to the whole group including the fundamentals of counterpoint, harmony and music forms. The practical part will be organised in little groups based on common agreement and will consist in variations over ostinato bass, ornamenting the existing melody, but also free improvisation to dance and other forms over the harmonic structure. It is, however, very likely that we also step out of the historical improvisation into the South-Moravian present…


Suggested Repertoire

All solo or chamber repertoire for any instrument from the lute family or a basso continuo part. Any literature regarding the study of basso continuo, preferably upon agreement with a soloist. In both cases participants are asked to study the repertoire in advance so that more in-depth work can be done in class. Collective improvisation will be part of the course as well.

Level Of Skills Required

2. Advanced - Musical Improvisation / 3. Advanced and professionals - Lute, Theorbo & Guitar

Maximum number of students

14 – Musical Improvisation / 8 – Lute, Theorbo & Guitar

Active Participants – Musical improvisation

    1. Darina Jašíková
    2. Adéla Drechsel

Active Participants – Lute, Theorbo & Guitar

    1. Jan Podroužek
    2. Vojtěch Domin