Karel Srp, a Czech music journalist, was born on 18 January 1937 in Beroun. He studied chemistry at a technical college and worked at the Research Institute of Asbestos Cement between 1959 and 1969. He worked as a manual worker from 1969 and as an editor and journalist at the Panton publishing house between 1972 and 1984. He began publishing articles in music magazines in the 1960s. Karel Srp was the vice-chairperson and then chairperson of the Jazz Section (1981–1983). Originally the Jazz Section was founded as an official branch of the Czech Union of Musicians in 1971. After his promotion to the position of chairperson, the section became more politically active and was also more open to other areas – from music to a more broadly understood definition of culture. From the outset, JS published, for example, “Jazz” (1972), a bulletin for its members, and later books about jazz, rock music, contemporary art, philosophy etc. in a series called “Jazz petit”. JS fell out of favour with the regime who viewed it as an “enemy” institution, and there were attempts to officially dissolve it from the beginning of the 1980s. Srp, who had been one of the section’s most significant members since its foundation, did not avoid being prosecuted (as well as other leading members of JS) and was sentenced to a 16-month jail term in 1986; he was released in January 1988. He attended a meeting of dissidents with François Mitterrand, the president of France, in December 1988. After November 1989, he became a department director at the Ministry of Culture (February – October 1990) and afterwards chairperson of Artfórum – the successor to the dissolved Jazz Section. Karel Srp was registered as a State Security (StB) collaborator between 1976 and 1982. However, the views of his colleagues and other contemporaries on this matter differ. Srp himself claims to have played a “double game”, informing the StB only about unimportant and easily verifiable facts to protect the Jazz Section. However, he was (together with Vladimír Kouřil) one of two members of JS who were sentenced during the trials to a custodial sentence.
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
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- Beroun, Czech Republic
Author(s) of this page
- Bárta, Jan
- Müller, Dorota
Srp, Karel. 1994. Výjimečné stavy. Povolání Jazzová sekce. Praha: Pragma.
Wikipedia. 2018. “Karel Srp.” Accessed October 1. https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Srp_star%C5%A1%C3%AD.
Kouřil, Vladimír. 1999. Jazzová sekce v čase a nečase. 1971–1986. Praha: Torst.
Tomeš Josef et al. 1999. Český biografický slovník XX. století. III. díl Q–Z. Praha: Paseka.
Tomek, Oldřich. 2003. “Akce Jazz.” Securitas Imperii, No. 10: 235–327.
Bugge, Peter. 2011. “Boj magické moci razítka s magickou mocí lidovou. Případ Jazzové sekce.” Soudobé dějiny, No. 3: 346–82.