The world lost one of its leading conductors and a great patron of Czech classical music on Wednesday with the passing of Sir Charles Mackerras, who has died of cancer at the age of 84. In a long career of many highlights, Sir Charles became a notable specialist on the Czech composer Leoš Janáček and played a major role in championing the work of other Czech classical masters, like Bohuslav Martinů and Antonín Dvořák. Christian Falvey looks back at his life.
This year’s Bohemia Jazz Fest got underway in Prague on Tuesday night with a concert featuring the great American bass player Stanley Clarke and three other artists. The annual event brings top class jazz musicians to the squares of a number of Czech towns and cities, for free. The man who set it up is New York based Czech musician Rudy Linka; earlier I asked him what was new this year.
Children of Stalinism is the title of a series of documentary films about the often harrowing experiences of daughters of political prisoners in 1950s Czechoslovakia. It has just been announced that four of those films will feature in the New York Independent Film Festival, which takes place later this month. To find out more, Radio Prague spoke to the project’s producer, Zuzana Dražilová.
The Czech Republic’s premier film showcase, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, came to an end on Saturday night. In its 45th year, Central Europe‘s biggest film event drew some 127,000 viewers with its selection of over 200 films, about a quarter of which were premieres. So who took home the Crystal Globes this year?
Over the last twenty years, Ron Yerxa has produced a number of films hits. Together with his business partner Albert Berger, he has put out audience favorites such as the drama Cold Mountain or the massively successful road movie comedy Little Miss Sunshine, which won two Oscars. This year, Ron Yerxa was invited to preside over the Grand Jury at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Just after the halfway point of the Czech Republic’s biggest film event, I asked him about his taste in movies, the festival as such and what the experience
A book entitled “Czech-Irish Cultural Relations 1900-1950” may sound a little obscure, but this slim volume published last year by the Centre for Irish Studies of Prague’s Charles University is anything but a dull, dry thesis. The book covers a hugely interesting and complex period, during which Ireland emerged from centuries of rule from London and Czechoslovakia arose from the ashes of the Habsburg Empire. David Vaughan picks up the story, in this week’s Czech Books.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicked off in the west Bohemian spa town for the 45th time on July 1st. And while the event itself is reaching middle age it is still displaying its power to pull in a remarkably young audience as the turnout in the crowded Hotel Thermal, the heart of the festival where most of the films are shown, testifies. Sarah Borufka was among the guests and reports on the festival’s special role.
One of the most significant composers of modern times, Gustav Mahler, was born on July 7, 1860, in a small village near the eastern town of Jihlava where he grew up. On Wednesday, both places staged a jubilee gala celebration on the composer’s 150th birthday anniversary, attended among others by the Czech president.
One of the sections of the official competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is East of the West – a showcase for films from Eastern and Central Europe. This year, it features ten different films from countries like Armenia, Slovenia and Azerbaijan. Sarah Borufka talked to Lenka Tyrpáková, who works for the festival’s program department, about what East of the West is all about and what we can expect from it this year.