Šimon and Matouš in Chicago

While the headline may resemble the titles of comedy films about two muscular guys, the story of brothers Šimon and Matouš Michals has nothing to do with comedy or muscles. It is about classical music and fingers dancing deftly on violin fingerboards.

It’s bad. Šimon Michal can see nothing but unfamiliar faces and figures around him in an unknown environment. It’s hard to resist panic, especially if you’re just thirteen. “I got lost at the Munich airport in the most spectacular way,” the protagonist of an undesired adventure remembers with a smile nine years later. “To this day, when I fly via Munich my parents still joke: ‘Don’t get lost again!’”

His brother Matouš also remembers the story keenly. To tell the truth, however, neither of the brothers have got lost on their way through life despite the Munich incident. Not in the least. After all, it all ended well at that time and they both eventually flew over to the United States for a tour with their student orchestra.
The country where the young violinists’ brilliant careers are flourishing now.

From the New World
For nine weeks now, the two brothers can introduce themselves as members of the famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “America’s best orchestra at the moment,” Šimon Michal says matter-of-factly. He doesn’t mean to brag, although he hasn’t the slightest reason to be unhappy about how far he has come at just 22 years old. “The success didn’t really take me aback; what surprises me more is that it all has happened so fast, without me finishing the school first or gaining experience in a smaller orchestra. Most musicians go through several ensembles before attaining the highest position imaginable, which is basically what each and every one of us dreams about.”

The dream has materialised early for the Czech violinists. You know how old Šimon is; Matouš is one year older and admits: “This engagement is something I have pursued all my life.” Some may pursue their dreams fruitlessly all their life, but this is not the case with the two brothers. Such an impressive, rocket-like trajectory calls for a lofty soundtrack, perhaps Dvořák’s New World Symphony to fittingly suggest where the flight is taking place. Make no mistake, though: an impressive flight does not mean smooth or easy – that would be a colossal misconception.

Two against all
We are musicians coming to you from Bohemia, we are musicians coming your way… Šimon and Matouš could have sung the Czech folk song, paraphrased here, for encouragement when ‘knocking on the door’ of the Chicago ensemble. Of course, that would not have sufficed for them to make it to the prestigious orchestra. The siblings from the Eastern Bohemian village of Bezděkov nad Metují started to play the violin at preschool age, quite naturally since both of their parents are teachers at a local art school. As a result, it quickly became obvious that the boys were extraordinarily talented. “Talent is something that doesn’t exist without work, though,” Šimon notes. “The learning process was certainly quicker and easier for us thanks to the talent, but talent means nothing without hard work.”

Autor | Filip Saiver


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