by Ray Fleming
EUGEN Prokop, who died in Brussels on Thursday at the age of 73, was closely associated with the Pollensa Music Festival from its inauguration in 1962 until this year. He appeared at the second of the three concerts that made up the Festival in 1962 when already, as a young man, he had established an international reputation as a violinist, having been awarded the coveted Carl Flesch Prize in London. He returned to Pollensa in 1965 when the Festival also welcomed artists of the calibre of Walter Trampler, Jose Iturbi and Martha Argerich.
The Pollensa Festival was founded by the English violinist Philip Newman but he died prematurely in 1966 and after a brief interregnum Eugen Prokop was invited to take the role of artistic director. In the course of almost forty years, an exceptionally long incumbency, Prokop steadily built on Newman's foundations and made the Pollensa Festival pre-eminent in the Balearics and also an equal among other notable European festivals. He was single-minded in his commitment to musicianship of the highest standard and also believed strongly that appearances at Pollensa should be exclusive in the Balearics. Eugen Prokop was born in Czechoslavakia and at the age of 14 peformed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Prague Philharmonic.
After absorbing the influence of the Belgian school of violin playing perfected by Ysaye, he embarked on a distinguished career as soloist and teacher. At Pollensa he also proved to be an imaginative impressario who was sensitive to changes in public taste; in recent years he had introduced classical Japanese music, jazz and flamenco to the programmes. He was a familiar figure at the 16th century Santo Domingo Convent where the Festival is held, talking before the concerts with the event's many Majorcan and foreign supporters. In all that he achieved at Pollensa he was most ably supported by his wife Toni to whom condolences will be offered by all who knew her husband.
Forty–three years after Evgen Prokop was first seen at the Pollensa Festival, he will be seen no more.
But his memorial will be the Festival itself, a wonderful, enriching element in Majorca's cultural life for which all who love good music will be everlastingly grateful. The Pollensa town council will be holding a religious service in his honour next week.
The council awarded him its Gold Medal in 2001, in recognition of his 25 years as director of the festival.
In that same year he was also awarded the medal of the Order of Isabel the Catholic by the Spanish ministry of foreign affairs.


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