113. Mathematical Colloquium

Christian Krattenthaler and Emil Viklický

Universität Wien


Tuesday December 12, 2019, 16:00
aula (refektar), 1st floor
MFF UK, Malostranské nám. 25, Praha 1


”Music and Mathematics, they are so close to each other!” I hear this frequently — as university professor of mathematics and concert pianist (in a previous life) — in conversations. Obvious, isn’t it?

I shall address this question from my very personal point of view. The lecture will also be accompanied by ”demonstrations” at the piano. It will neither be necessary to have deeper knowledge of mathematics nor of music.

About the speakers

Christian Friedrich Krattenthaler (born 8 October 1958 in Vienna) is an Austrian mathematician. He is a professor of discrete mathematics (with a focus on combinatorics) and the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Vienna.

He received his doctoral degree sub auspiciis Praesidentis rei publicae at the University of Vienna in 1983 under Johann Cigler with the dissertation Lagrangeformel und inverse Relationen (Lagrangian formula and inverse relations). Krattenthaler worked at various universities, including the University of California, San Diego, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California, the University of Strasbourg, and the Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 before being appointed to a professorship at the University of Vienna.

His area of specialization is the problems of combinatorial enumeration, such as those in algebra, algebraic geometry, number theory, computer science, or statistical physics.

Krattenthaler won in 1990 the Prize of the Austrian Mathematical Society and in 2007 the Wittgenstein Award of the Austrian Science Fund. He was elected in 2005 a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in 2011 a full member of the Academia Europaea, and in 2012 a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Krattenthaler is also a trained concert pianist, but had to abandon his musical career because of repetitive strain injury in his hands.


Emil Viklický, born November 23, 1948 studied and graduated in mathematics at Palacký University in Olomouc. Almost immediately after his Prague debut in Ludek Hulan’s Jazz Sanatorium in the early 1970s, Viklický became a key player on the Czech jazz scene. He also worked with Karel Velebný’s SHQ, the Prague Big Band, the Czech Radio Jazz Orchestra and the Super Quartet. Emil Viklický earned significant acclaim with his very first recording ”In Olomouc Town” in 1977, presenting a remarkable synthesis of modal jazz concepts, Moravian folklore and references to the legacy of Leoš Janáček. In the 1977–78 Emil studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston with Herb Pomeroy. Very famous are recordings with Emil’s arrangements of Moravian folk and L. Janáček themes: Morava, Moravian Gems, Sinfonietta, Kafka on the Shore with George Mraz,  Billy Hart, Lewis Nash, Iva Bittová, Zuzana Lapčíková and Jiří Pavlica. Throughout the 1990s he devoted increasing amount of time to the composition of contemporary classical music for a great variety of instrumental combinations ranging from small chamber ensembles and electronic instruments to symphony orchestras and two operas. Viklický’s work has gained him a number of awards. These include second prize in the 1985 Monaco jazz composition competition (for ”Cacharel”), the 1991 Film and Television Association prize for music for animated film, second prize at the 1994 Marimolin contemporary music competition in Boston (for ”Tristana”), a 1996 Prague award for electroacoustic music (for ”Paradise Park”), a 1996 Czech Music Fund prize for use of folk music in art music, and first prize in a 2000 international composition competition in Prague (for the opera Phaedra).