Through a modern day partnership with the Girls Preparatory School, Cadek explores the boundaries of music education, performance, and appreciation. Our history overlaps with the history of GPS: The founders of both schools shared a commitment to music education and furthering the arts in the great Chattanooga community—a belief that lives on today. Cadek at GPS strives to blend the conservatory’s rich history of music education and performance in concert with the school’s legacy of increasing accessibility to the best available education.
Founded by Joseph Ottokar Cadek,
a violinist originally from Prague, Cadek brought the highest quality of musical study and performance to Chattanooga. According to Chattanooga historian and former Cadek instructor Deanne Werner Irvine, Joseph Cadek established the Cadek Subscription Concert Series to bring established artists to perform in Chattanooga. Two years later, three women founded Girls Preparatory School down the street from Cadek’s original school on McCallie Avenue. Tommie Payne Duffy, Eula Lea Jarnigan, and Grace McCallie resolved to change history for girls. These institutions ran parallel to each other, in mission and physical location, for more than a century before converging on the GPS campus in 2017.
By 1927, Cadek’s ideals in teaching and his courageous efforts in developing the community’s interest in music had resulted in a level of artistic growth not yet achieved in the South at the time. The Conservatory became affiliated with the University of Chattanooga in 1935, forming the university’s music department and establishing the degrees of bachelor of music and bachelor of arts with a music major. In 1945, Harold J. Cadek was appointed director of the Conservatory as chair of the University of Chattanooga Music Department. After more than 90 years on the UTC campus, Cadek in 2017 began a new era through a partnership with Girls Preparatory School, where its esteemed instructors continue to provide a robust program of musical instruction to all members of the community.