Skip to main content

Ottokar T. Cadek papers

Identifier: MSS-0253

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, diaries, genealogies, and various other documents relating to the life of violinist, conductor, and teacher, Ottokar Cadek.


  • unknown


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

Violinist, conductor, and teacher Ottokar Cadek (1897-1956) contributed significantly to promoting the importance of classical music in Alabama. Between 1933 to 1956, he was a performer with the Birmingham Civic Symphony Orchestra and a distinguished member of the music department at the University of Alabama. He was from a long-established musical family whose members continue to hold prominent positions in the classical music world.

Cadek (pronounced Cha-dek) was born on 20 February 1897, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the second of four children of Marguerite Guirard and Joseph Cadek, of Swiss and Bohemian heritage, respectively. Joseph Cadek (1868-1927), a prominent European violinist, emigrated from Bohemia's capital of Prague (now in the Czech Republic) and settled in Chattanooga in 1892.

Cadek married Nashville native Sara Hitchcock in 1924, and in 1930 their daughter Marie was born. During the Great Depression, the quartet's performance schedule slowed, and Cadek was faced with difficulties in supporting his family. He left the quartet in 1933, after a final performance in Birmingham, and later that year, he joined the Birmingham Civic Symphony Orchestra (present-day Alabama Symphony Orchestra) first as its concertmaster and then as conductor. After the war broke out, the orchestra shut down, and in 1943, Cadek and his family moved to Tuscaloosa. The following year, he took up his duties developing the string program at the University of Alabama. On 25 July 1956, Cadek was a member of a quartet performing one of Johannes Brahms's quartets when he collapsed on stage and died of a heart attack. He was buried in Nashville's Mount Olivet Cemetery.


6.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence, diaries, genealogies, and various other documents relating to the life of this violinist, conductor, and teacher.


Gift of Jerri C. Luckterberg, 1986


To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.

Processed by

S. Braden, 2009; updated by Martha Bace, 2012
Guide to the Ottokar Cadek papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266