After years of speculation regarding its future, the famous Werich Villa on Prague’s Kampa, once the home of the famous Czech actor Jan Werich, is set to get a new tenant. The Prague authorities have just decided to rent the historical building to the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, which will turn it into the Voskovec and Werich Arts and Social Centre in honour of the great Czech acting duo.
Novelist Alex Vella Gera made headlines in his native Malta in 2009 when he found himself in court over a short story deemed obscene by the authorities. The piece had been written several years earlier, during a spell the writer – then in his 20s – spent living in Prague in the second half of the 1990s. Vella Gera has just been back in the Czech capital for the first time since then for a short visit. When he came into our studios, I asked what for him had been the appeal of ‘90s Prague.
Mezi Lopatky, the third LP from Prague group Kieslowski, was one of the most acclaimed local indie releases of 2014. Duo Marie Kieslowski and David Pomahač describe themselves as “urban folk” and “amplified acoustic”, though their downtempo sound and intimate, relationship-exploring lyrics will no doubt put some in mind of England’s the XX.
Most dedicated listeners but also more casual fans of classical music have at some point wondered about the sound of early musical instruments once played by the great composers. The question of how historic instruments might have sounded veritably haunted Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein, who lamented that while some instruments that had survived in museums they had long lost their original colour and tone. The result was that nobody really knew any longer which techniques had been used in their production, or what their exact sound was like. That
This Saturday, Pilsen will officially become 2015 European City of Culture. The project will kick off with a grand opening ceremony, featuring more than 150 artists from the Czech Republic and abroad, the largest video mapping in the country and the sound of new bells from the local cathedral. I spoke to Jiří Sulženko, the head of the project's Programme Department, and started by asking about the spectacular opening event.
This week’s edition of the Sunday Music Show focuses on an up-and-coming Czech band called Wild Tides. The surf-punk trio from Prague is the fresh winner of Czeching, a competition for promising Czech musicians organized by Czech Radio. Its aim is to launch one talented Czech band a year onto the world.
Czech author Miloš Urban has written such novels as The Seven Churches and Lord Mord. His works have been translated into a variety of languages asides from Czech, including English, Polish, Spanish and Hungarian. He is also a prolific short story writer, and has translated books by such authors as Julian Barnes, Graham Masterton and Rose Tremain into Czech. He also works at the Czech publishing house Argo.
The Prague Symphony Orchestra is celebrating 80 years of existence. The renowned orchestra was founded in the 1930s and to this day is abbreviated as F.O.K. which stands for film, opera and concert, in Czech. In the early days, its members made a living by performances for radio and recording music for film.
Míla Fürstová is currently enjoying a level of exposure that most artists can only dream of. The Czech’s exquisite etching of angel’s wings against the background of a starry sea appears on the cover of Ghost Stories, the hit new LP by one of the planet’s biggest rock bands, Coldplay. Indeed, her intricate illustrations are at present central to the group’s visuals, also appearing on single sleeves and merchandising.