We have sadly lost one of our most generous, passionate and likeable musicians in South Australia, a longstanding teacher here who communicated her love of music to many. Vera Tancibudek – born Haskova- lived in Adelaide with her husband Jiri, formerly Principal Oboe of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra before dramatically escaping and eventually settling in Australia – Sydney then Melbourne and eventually Adelaide – where Jiri was a member of the prestigious University of Adelaide Wind Quintet faculty. In Sydney Vera and Jiri had together performed the first ever solo oboe recital in Australia. Most significantly for oboists, they commissioned Bohuslav Martinu (former member of Czech Philharmonic second violin section himself) to write an Oboe Concerto, which was premiered in Sydney Town Hall to commemorate the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. Vera remembered the letter that arrived saying the Concerto ‘was nearly finished’ as a bit of a surprise, as she had yet to post off the handwritten music notes Jiri asked her to send to Martinu:
‘He didn’t even say he was writing it! … Jiri missed the Czech Phil so much- he so regretted he never played it with them. (The Concerto) has a beautiful slow movement …’ (my conversational notes)
Vera taught music at Norwood High School, where with characteristic vigour she founded a choir and orchestra, later becoming a lecturer at the Flinders School of Music. Today her legacy remains: former students still reminisce over Vera’s enthusiasm for Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, for example – a very contemporary piece at that time. She remained at home in Adelaide’s leafy Erindale until her passing in her 90’s, some years after tragically losing her husband. Always enthusiastic, generous and friendly, she was as sharp as a needle her whole life, with a sharp interest in the music world: conductors, player appointments and venues all over Europe.
Patron of our ADRSSA branch, Vera was a popular figure with the entire community and had with her husband, become an iconic pairing who did so much to build a legacy here in South Australia’s music scene as well as for the world. Vera was a good friend of mine and we would often chat about Prague in the Springtime. She was excited about the new Oboe Concerto by Judith Weir CBE, and had recently agreed to become a Patron of Artaria when she tragically passed away.
Jiri and Vera leave two daughters, Sandra and Eve. Sandra is a professional violinist with Berlin Opera and Eve, a former member of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, lives in Adelaide. Grandchildren are Sarah, appointed harpist to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and now freelancing with Munich Opera, Raphael, permanent Concert Master of the Bochumer Symphoniker as well as Concert Master of the Luzern Festival Orchestra, and Hannah, formerly an oboist after her grandfather, now an academic. In accordance with Vera’s wishes, there was no funeral.
Vale dear Vera Tancibudek.