Though not as well-known as many of his peers, pianist Josef Bulva is considered a technically disciplined, yet virtuosic and insightful musician. After several nearly career-ending injuries, he has successfully returned to the concert stage and recording studio.
Bulva was born on January 9, 1943, in Brno, Moravia (now the Czech Republic). Disciplined even as a young student, Bulva was playing Mozart concertos and Liszt preludes at his first public performances at the age of 13. His teenage years were spent at conservatories as a state-sponsored student, resulting in Bulva being named a state soloist by the Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic and used somewhat as an advertisement for the country's culture through performances and recordings. In 1971, Bulva's career was interrupted by an accident that left him hospitalized for nearly a year. Afterward, while on his first tour outside of Czechoslovakia, he decided to emigrate to the West. He became a citizen of Luxembourg, living in Munich as a second home. His repertoire includes the Romantic standards -- Liszt, Brahms, Chopin -- and Russian masterworks. However, his profile as an active musician was never as great as other performers, and over time, his concertizing grew less frequent. Another accident in 1996 damaged Bulva's left hand to the point where everyone believed his career was over. Yet, in 2009, he returned to the stage and studio and found a new audience, curious about this talented but seemingly unknown performer.
Bulva was able to expand his audience through concert and radio appearances and recordings on several labels, including Menuetto Classics, RCA, and Madacy. In 2020, Bulva released an album of music by Beethoven, Scriabin, and Martinu, on RCA.