Francis Ptacek (1831-1886), diplômé du Conservatoire de Prague, fut engagé en 1854 à Leicester, où il eut une carrière de chef d'orchestre, de compositeur, de critique musical et de pédagogue
Dans sa communication Masonic Music and Musicians of the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, le Frère W. J. Bunkey consacre au Frère F. Ptacek la présentation reproduite (avec sa traduction) au bas de la présente page, présentation qu'il illustre par la partition d'un Masonic Hymn.
ci-contre et ci-dessous : extraits du Leicester Journal le 19/12/1856 et en 1857.
à droite : sa tombe à Leicester
On peut lire sur cette page la biographie suivante :
Francis Ptacek (1831-1886), a member of the Prague Conservatoire, came to Leicester, on the invitation of Major Neal, whose wife was Czech, to take over the militia band in 1854. As well as his band and teaching commitments Ptacek also promoted concerts of popular music in the New Hall. He was also a composer and wrote such pieces as the overture Glengarrif and Sounds from Charnwood, a waltz that included the song Old John of Bradgate Park, which he dedicated to Mrs Thomas T. Paget. He also found time to be organist of St George's church.
In December 1867 the people of Leicester showed their esteem of Ptacek by giving him a benefit concert in the Temperance Hall. During the evening he was presented with a purse, made by Mrs Neal, containing 150 guineas as an acknowledgement of twelve years work in cultivating the musical taste of the town. The 200 performers included his band and the New Orpheus Society, of which he was conductor.
Francis Ptacek was also the Music critic of The Bee, a local weekly sports and entertainment magazine. It was in this publication that, in 1882, Ptacek stated that he thought Leicester should be able to support a band of about thirty to play every day in the newly-opened Abbey Park. The expenses of such a band, he contended, could be met by the sale of programmes and a subscription list. The band, Ptacek believed, could be run on the same lines as the Militia band with the Mayor being considered the Colonel and the Aldermen and Councillors the majors and captains. An idea which, needless to say, never caught on.
The news of Ptacek's death was received with great sadness in Leicester, especially as it was so unexpected. He had gone to Kent to spend Christmas with his friend Herr Sawerthal, Bandmaster of the Royal Engineers and, as he was preparing to come home, he suffered a fatal heart attack.