Dvořák‘s Prague festival, dedicated to one of the country’s greatest
composers, opened at the Rudofinum concert hall on Sunday.
The opening concert, which this year falls on the day of Antonín Dvořák’s birth, featured Dvorak‘s Cello Concerto in B minor with Kian Soltani, one of the world’s most promising cellists of the younger generation, and Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony conducted by the world-famous conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
The festival, which closes on September 23,will showcase renowned soloists, such as violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Ivo Pogorelich, and some of the world’s leading orchestras.
The renowned Czech baritone Adam Plachetka launched his new CD on Wednesday. Called Winter Journey, the album contains his renditions of 24 poems set to music by Schubert. The opera singer also performed music from Don Giovanni to fully dressed people in bathtubs at the launch’s unusual venue – the rooftop of Prague’s Lucerna Palace. He explained all by phone.
A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a north Bohemian ghetto gets underway this Sunday. Organised by the Eternal Hope foundation and the Terezín Composers’ Institute, the aim is to celebrate the work of brilliant composers whose lives were cut tragically short.
Jan Špidlen is the fourth generation of his family to work as a master violin maker. What are some of the secrets to crafting top class violins? And how has the industry changed in the last few decades? I discussed those questions with Špidlen surrounded by an array of traditional tools at his Prague centre workshop. But I began by asking him about the first violin he ever produced?
Dr. Miloš Krajný is one of a number of people who have just received the Gratias Agit, the Czech Foreign Ministry’s award for those who have promoted the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. A highly successful expert on allergies and immunity in his professional life, he has also devoted a lot of energy to advancing Czech music in Canada, the country he has called home since 1968. Dr. Krajný was born in 1941 and when we spoke I first asked what, if any, were his recollections of the war.
A charity concert in support of the victims of the Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka will take place in Prague’s Hilton hotel on Saturday. The event, organised by the Czech Centres and the Catholic Charity, in cooperation with the Czech Foreign Ministry, will feature the Zlín Philharmonic Orchestra led by Prague-based Indian conductor Debashish Chaudhuri. The proceeds from the concert will go directly to the families affected by the attacks.
In keeping with tradition, the annual Prague Spring classical music festival kicked off on Sunday with a rendition of Bedřich Smetana’s epic cycle Má vlast, or My Country, which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s homeland. What makes this performance particularly poignant is that it was performed by a German orchestra formed by musicians expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII.