The country’s leading orchestras came together on Tuesday this week to perform a charity concert in aid of the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The concert took place at Prague’s Rudolfinum. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, The Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia and the ensembles of the National Theater and the State Opera performed Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, under the baton of Tomáš Netopil, the guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.
Our Easter Sunday music show is dedicated to an album called Studánko Rubínko or Ruby Well by the band Hradišťan, one of the country’s most respected performers of folk music. The album, intended for children and their parents, includes songs, nursery rhymes, poems and carols, connected with spring time and Easter.
More than a hundred years after his death, fans of Antonín Dvořák have a chance to hear a new piece by one of the greatest Czech composers. An artificial intelligence programme called AIVA recently completed a fragment of his piano composition in E-minor. It was recorded by the acclaimed Czech pianist Ivo Kahánek.
Lazer Viking are very much the brainchild of Jakub Kaifosz, who also records with Wild Tides and is a Radio Wave DJ. Following Radical Karaoke (2015) and Flesh Cadillac (2016, in collaboration with Sabreheart), Lazer Viking have just released their wonderful third LP, Drag, on which Kaifosz is now backed by a band. The new collection again showcases the Prague musician’s topnotch songwriting, excellent vocals and guitar-playing and – with song titles such as Hum and Rattle and The Last Waltz – deep immersion in pop culture.
Thomas Zaruba, author of the best-selling jazz album Slow Down, is a pianist of Australian-Canadian-Czech origin living in France. Although he was born into a cosmopolitan family of musicians and started playing the piano at the age of two, he opted for a career in advertising and it was a tragic incident that made him turn his life around and devote himself exclusively to music. When Thomas visited Radio Prague this week I asked him what had prompted him to drop everything and pursue his life’s passion.
Long before the term world music became widely used the brother-and sister duo Petr and Hana Ulrychovi played Moravian folk songs with electric guitars. Later, in search of a more authentic sound, they introduced acoustic instruments as well. The band Javory, which they established 45 years ago, is still going strong largely because of their ability to merge different genres and present Moravian folk songs in a different light, making them attractive to a younger audience. This year Hana and Petr are celebrating 55 years on stage and more than 30
Věra Bílá died of a heart attack this week, days before her scheduled comeback tour. The Roma singer, who was widely regarded as a great talent and once sang to sold out audiences across the world, spent the last years of her life heavily in debt and living in a lodging house. Since her death, many have said that her songs will forever live on as exceptional examples of the world music genre.
The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel will come to Prague this weekend to take part in a three-day festival organised in his honour. The Czech-born musician, considered to be one of the world’s greatest living pianists, will present his books, give a master class and lecture on the art of playing Mozart. The event gets underway at Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall on Sunday.
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