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Vaclav Nelhybel

Dr. Vaclav Nelhybel
Class of 1985

Vaclav Nelhybel conducts Agon

Vaclav Nelhybel conducts The University of Scranton Symphonic Band in a performance of his work "Agon" at Commencement 1985.


A liberal, or loving, education is one which frees us, makes us friends. Thus it is not a preparation for the banquet of life, but the beginning of the banquet itself. Throughout his life, Vaclav Nelhybel has educated the world to friendship, nourishing its spirit by creating harmony in his music.

We who share the goal of Jesuit education of finding God together in all things may be proud of our bond with Nelhybel, who enjoyed eight of his formative years at a Jesuit school. The Archbishop Gymnasium in Prague. Thereafter his musical talent developed rapidly at universities in Prague and Fribourg, so that at the age of twenty he was already conductor at Radio Prague. But the harmony of this first movement of his life ended with the crashing dissonance of World War II. The seeming destruction of love and community which Nelhybel experienced first-hand in this war would have led a lesser spirit to despair. As resurrection follows death, however, the third movement of his life recapitulated and resolved earlier themes, expressing them with a new vitality. After a year as assistant conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in 1945, Nelhybel was subsequently conductor and composer in residence at Swiss Radio and then musical director of Radio Free Europe, as well as guest conductor of many of the great orchestras of Europe. In 1950 he came to the United States and has since shared with us the talents previously enjoyed by Europeans. No less distinguished as a composer than as a conductor, Nelhybel has written hundreds of compositions, a rich variety of both choral and instrumental works. Of these, his Agon, written for our University of Scranton Symphonic Band to initiate its World Premiere Composition Series, especially elicits our gratitude. It sounds the creativity of God, which brings order out of chaos, life out of death, hanrmony out of discord, and thus it summarizes in one piece what has been expressed beautifully in Nelhybel’s life and works and which we hope will be expressed in the lives of all of our alumni. We are grateful that God continues to bless us with the symphony of Nelhybel, but cannot wait until its end to applaud it.

It is therefore with appreciation and enthusiasm that the President and Trustees of this University in solemn convocation assembled and in accord with our chartered authority, legally proclaim


Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa

That he may enjoy all the rights and privileges of this our highest honor, we have issued these letters patent under our hand and the corporate seal of the University on this twenty-sixth day of May, in the ninety-seventh year of the University and in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty-Five.

Marilyn Coar, Secretary

Rev. J.A. Panuska, S.J., President     

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