1928 - 1974
Anka-Marie Moravek was a gifted violinist who became musician of note in France as well as the U.S. She was a member of the Paul Kuentz Paris Chamber Orchestra in the 1960s and 1970s and traveled extensively with them around the world.
Anka-Marie was born in Pennsylvania, one of two children and the only daughter born to Susanna Haynal and Stephan Moravek, both of whom had immigrated to the U.S. from Yugoslavia. Although born in the East, she spent most of her childhood in College Place, Washington. Her mother, a cellist who recognized her child's musical talent, made arrangements for her to study violin, starting at age five, with Esther Sundquist Bowers, concertmaster of the Walla Walla Symphony.
Moravek studied with Bowers, who was in charge of string instruction at the Whitman Conservatory of Music, throughout her teenage years. She attended Walla Walla College for a year and then transferred to the University of Washington, where she completed a degree in violin performance with honors in 1949. She was a member of the first violin section of the Seattle Symphony and concertmaster of the university orchestra all during her undergraduate study and another year of graduate study with violinist Emanuel Zetlin, funded by a scholarship.
In 1950 Moravek received a Fullbright Scholarship for a year of study in France, the only American violinist to be awarded an FS for study in France that year. She returned to the U.S. to study at the Juilliard School of Music and then returned in 1952 to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. During this time she met and married Gaston Valentiny, a cellist and dentist.
She gained recognition in France for her violin and viola playing, giving recitals, participating in chamber music groups with her husband, and playing in larger well-known ensembles such as the Israeli Orchestra of Paris and the Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra, a group internationally recognized as an elite ensemble.
On one of their tours in 1966, the Kuentz orchestra played in Walla Walla as part of a local chamber music series, with Moravek playing viola in the group. It was a gala homecoming with receptions and reunions, including one hosted by Helen Evans, a faculty member at Walla Walla College.
The following year, Moravek was awarded the decoration of Civil Merit from the French Academy for her playing on behalf of philanthropic causes. The most recent of these performances had been a series of concerts in Indo-China. She died suddenly seven years later, at age 46, while giving a recital.
Sources: Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 28 January 1948; 3 July 1949; 12 September 1950; 23 January 1966; 30 June 1966; 1930 census records; IAMA biography for Susanna Haynal Moravek; 1966-67 Paul Kuentz Paris Chamber Orchestra tour program