Waldemar MatuskaView In iTunes
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One of his nation's best-known pop singers from the 1960s, Waldemar Matuska was born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, on July 2, 1932. His peak in the music world would be matched by his work in theater and film during the same time period. Outside of his artistic endeavors, Matuska was perhaps just as well known for his decision to leave Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia in 1986 to be with his wife in Florida. Upon his departure, the powers that be decided to condemn Matuska as a "moral failure," and deleted his songs and scores from films, in addition to deleting his titles from record stores. Although his work had suddenly become very hard to obtain in Europe, Matuska continued to ply his trade stateside, performing for receptive audiences of Czech and Slovak expats. After the Cold War ended and Czechoslovakia experienced its "Velvet Revolution" in 1989, Matuska's work was once again made available — much to the pleasure and gratitude of a very receptive home audience. He continued to release works and perform for years afterward, and was still making appearances well into his seventies, in fact singing for the last time in Prague on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Long suffering from asthma, he died as a result of pneumonia and heart failure in Florida on May 30, 2009. Waldemar Matuska was 76 years old.