Jan V. Matejcek, leading founder and first CEO of SOCAN, passes away at 90

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Jan V. Matejcek, the leading founder and first CEO of SOCAN, and a relentless champion of the performing rights of songwiters, composers, and music publishers, has passed away peacefully at the age of 90, surrounded by his family.

Matejcek led the way in merging the two former Canadian performing rights organizations – PROCAN and CAPAC (the Canadian Authors' and Publishers' Association of Canada) – into SOCAN in 1990. The merger was recognized by CISAC, the international umbrella group for music and authors’ rights organizations, as a “unique historic moment in the life of performing societies.”

In 1990, Matejcek was appointed the first CEO of the newly-created SOCAN, and after retiring in 1992, SOCAN recognized his enormous contribution to performing rights by creating the annual Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award, presented every year at our annual SOCAN Awards ceremonies in both Toronto and Montréal.

“SOCAN is now mourning the loss, and celebrating Jan's life," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "Jan was one of the greatest champions of music creators that the world has seen. As our first CEO, Matejcek set the extremely high standard to which SOCAN continues to strive to this day. We’re honoured that he served as our first leader, and we’re proud to continue to recognize him – as we have for the past 25 years – with our annual classical music award in his name.”

Before the advent of SOCAN, Matejcek became involved in performing rights when he joined CAPAC after immigrating to Canada from Europe. After seven years working on international copyright, he also joined PROCAN, as Assistant General Manager, and in 1984 became its President. He led PROCAN's work connecting with other performing rights organizations throughout the world, and oversaw a five-fold increase of royalties to music creators in only a decade. Under his leadership, PROCAN became one of the most efficient, fully computerized PROs in the world.

Over the course of his life Matejcek served as Managing Director of the Prague Symphony Orchestra; Foreign Relations Secretary of the Guild of Czechoslovak Composers; and CEO of Panton, the Guild's publishing house. He also worked with the prestigious German publisher Schott Soehne. In Canada, he worked with the Canadian Music Centre; became Executive Secretary of the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras; and helped to establish the Association of Symphony Orchestras, and the Ontario Choral Federation.

Matejcek is suvived by his wife Breda Mizerit; daughter Jana Gonda (and her husband Peter); son Jan Matejcek Jr. (and his wife Carolyn Cox); step-son Marko Mizerit (and his wife Susy); grandsons Christopher and Michael Gonda, and granddaughters Anna, Julia and Maya Matejcek; and great-grandchild Emma Gonda.

A celebration of Jan V. Matejcek’s life will be held at the Granite Club, 2350 Bayview Avenue, in Toronto, on Oct. 28, 2017, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. RSVPs are requested by Oct. 15, 2017, to mizbreda@hotmail.com. Condolences can be sent to janago1@hotmail.com and/or mizbreda@hotmail.com. In lieu of flowers, and to honour his love of music and longstanding advocacy for Canadian composers, the family asks that donations be made in Jan's name to the Canadian Music Centre (Legacy Fund), by calling (416) 961-6601, X-105, or e-mailing cminnes@musiccentre.ca.

On behalf of all SOCAN employees and members, we extend our sympathies to Jan Matejcek's family and friends at this sad time.

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