Ongoing music exchange with Czech Republic sparks major gift
DENTON (UNT), Texas - The University of North Texas College of Music will accept a $100,000 gift May 7 (Saturday) from the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas to help fund an endowment for an annual residency to promote Czech music and culture throughout the state.
The event will take place at noon at the North Texas Exes Alumni Center in the Gateway Center, located on North Texas Boulevard between Eagle Drive and Highland Street. A performance by a UNT piano quartet will follow at 12:30 p.m.
The CEFT Frank J. and Hermine Hurta Kostohryz Residency in Czech Music and Culture is slated to begin in 2006. The residency will allow for the exchange of Czech artists and educators and the staging of festivals and colloquia of Czech music, as well as outreach throughout Texas, particularly in areas with high Czech populations.
"The idea is to bring various kinds of Czech musical activities not only here to the UNT campus, the home site, but to have these groups travel around Texas, so that other people can see these different performing groups," said Thomas Sovik, UNT associate professor of music and founder of a student-exchange program between UNT and Brno, Czech Republic.
The new $100,000 gift brings the endowment fund to $325,000. That includes the lead gift of more than $200,000 from Francis Kostohryz in memory of his parents. His father, the Rev. Frank J. Kostohryz, served as a minister in the Unity of the Brethren Church to largely Czech populations in Texas while Hermine was as an organist and religious instructor. The endowment will be fully funded when the amount reaches $400,000.
The UNT College of Music began its relationship with the Czech Republic about 15 years ago, when Sovik began leading student trips to his homeland. Sovik has now taken students on more than 20 trips to Brno, where students visit the Janacek Academy of Music, Masaryk University, and the Brno Technical College.