September 8, 2009    
Contact: Sara R. Leonard
Concert and Production Manager

AMHERST, Mass. – The Music at Amherst Parallels Series will open its 2009-2010 season on Friday, Oct. 2, with a concert by Czech violinist and vocalist Iva Bittová at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College.

During the performance, Bittová will unite with bassist George Mraz to perform Moravian folk ballads with jazz inflections, drawing on the rich folk tradition of their home country.  The concert will also include original compositions and arrangements of music by renowned Czech composer Leos Janacek that the pair recorded for their recent CD release Moravian Gems.

Born in northern Moravia, Bittová grew up in a house of musicians to become an actress, singer for the avant-rock band Dunaj and finally an acclaimed solo artist, performing with musicians such as Tom Cora, the Skampa String Quartet, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Don Byron. National Public Radio’s All Things Considered described Bittová as “raw and refined, passionate and contained, she has the soul of a gypsy, the voice of a troubadour and the mind of a genius.”

Since emigrating to New York from the former Czechoslovakia in 1968, Mraz has established himself as one of the most sought after jazz bassists. He was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and the Stan Getz Quartet in the 1970s and 1980s, and has played with most of the top jazz players, including Walter Norris, Pepper Adams, Roland Hanna, Zoot Sims, Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, John Abercrombie, Carmen McRae, Jimmy Rowles, Stephane Grappelli and countless others.

Tickets are available are available for reservation beginning on Sept. 21 by calling 413/542-2195 or emailing Seats are $15 for the general public, $12 for senior citizens and Amherst College employees and $10 for students with valid ID.