Ondřej Soukup was born in 1951 in Prague and graduated from the Prague National Conservatory in 1975. He played in numerous jazz and pop groups (such as Pražský Bigband, Pražský výběr, Ladislav Štaidl Orchestra, Karel Gott Orchestra and with musician Jiří Stivín) and at the same time started composing and producing songs and creating soundtracks for films, beginning with short animated movies and later moving to feature films.
From 1980 he devoted himself to composing and producing, creating songs for different vocalists. He has composed soundtracks for many short Czech and Slovak animated movies, and has worked with several TV stations, such as ZDF, ORF, etc. He wrote the score for a BBC film about war pilots titled “The Forgotten Men.”
In 1983, Soukup worked on his first feature film project, “The Second Move with the Pawn”, a film about a struggle between Communist and imperialist spies. Since then he has written soundtracks for twenty feature films, including “Kolya,” a Jan Svěrák’s film that won an American Academy Award (Oscar) for the Best Foreign Film in 1997.
From 1994 to 1998, he worked with the Spanish production companies Tijuana and RTVE composing music for the Cuttlas Hero series.
In 1998 he, together with Jan Jirásek, received the Czech Lion Award for Best Film Composition for the movie “The Ambiguous Report about the End of the World”. Soukup also composed a score for Jan Svěrák's movie “Dark Blue World” and he received his second Czech Lion Award for the Best Soundtrack in 2001. In 2007, he wrote a score for another of Jan Svěrák's movies, “Returnable Bottles”, and in 2008 a score for the third season of the series “Hospital at the End of the City”.
For many years he worked with the celebrated Czech singer Lucie Bílá and composed four of her top selling albums: Missariel (1992), Lucie Bílá (1995), Jampadampa (2003) and Woman (2007). He produced her albums Hvězdy jako hvězdy (“Stars as Stars”) in 1997 and Bang-Bang in 2009. The album Missariel received seven Czech Grammy nominations and won five such awards in 1993.
One of Soukup's most interesting projects was the music for the ballet “Checkmate” (1989), that he remade in 2009 for a premiere in the restored theatre Hybernia, along with the music for the theatrical performance of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (1992), which was inspired by the life of Hieronymus Bosch.
His musical “Joan of Arc” premiered on March 30th 2000, with lyrics by Gabriela Osvaldová and the libretto by Jiří Hubač. Seen by over 400,000 people at its 1,100 performances. “Joan of Arc” was invited to Great Britain to perform at the First World Musical Festival in Cardiff. “Joan of Arc” also toured Spain in the autumn of 2006. The piece was lyricized in Spanish by Gabriel Sopena and three pilot recordings were sung by famous contemporary Spanish singers Carmen Paris and Nando.
Ondřej Soukup had worked with Gabriel Sopena on the Cuttlas Hero TV series and together they also wrote a tango “Canalla” for Lucia Šoralová’s album Púšť (“The Desert“, Warner Music 2005) which he produced.
The musical Láska je Láska (“Love is Love”) has been performed in Ta Fantastika Theatre in Prague since 2004, incorporating the songs written for Lucie Bílá by Gabriela Osvaldová and Soukup from 1992 – 2003. “Love is Love” is still on, and Lucie Bílá continues to star in it.
The musical Elixír života (“The Elixir of Life”) premiered at the same theatre on October 14th, 2005. This piece draws very non-traditionally from the life of Doctor Max Wolf.
Soukup is still married to Gabriela Osvaldová, a famous Czech actress and lyricist, with whom he closely cooperates on most of his projects. Together they have a son František who is also a celebrated musician. Ondřej and Gabriela were both judges in two series of the TV competition “Česko hledá Superstar” (the Czech version of Pop Idol), broadcast by TV NOVA in 2004 and 2005, and the TV competition Faktor X (“X Factor”), aired in 2008.
Since 2003, he has been living with the Slovak singer Lucia Šoralová, with whom he has two children.
A huge hobby of Ondřej‘s is flying planes - he has the PPL as well as the IFR licence and with his Piper 28 Warrior he has flown over the whole of Europe. His furthest flights so far have been to Gibralter and Casablanca.