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.
Czech That Film, an annual festival of contemporary Czech films, is currently underway across the United States and Canada. The largest Czech cultural event in North America offers both Czech expats and US film enthusiasts a chance to get acquainted with present-day Czech cinematography and meet some of the filmmakers in person.
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.
A bust of the late Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is due to be unveiled at Prague’s DOX gallery this coming Monday. The ceremony is part of an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Among the guests will be Liu Xiaobo’s widow and two of the former student leaders.
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.
By far the country’s swankiest annual literary event, the Magnesia Litera awards, covering nine categories, including prose, poetry, blogs and translations, were broadcast live on Czech TV on Sunday evening. Book of the Year award went to veteran author Radka Denemarková for her novel ‘Hours of Lead’ while the award for best work of prose went to rising literary star Pavla Horáková – a former colleague of ours at Radio Prague – for her novel ‘A Theory of Strangeness’.
A new guide to Prague, called Curator, attempts to show the city to locals and tourists in a different light. A group of three art historians have handpicked the best of Prague galleries, contemporary spaces, paintings and sculptures, art cafés and art in the streets and interviewed people who have something to say about them. Instead of the traditional sights and overpriced tourists traps, Curator invites its users to discover interesting, and lesser-known places lying off the beaten tourist track.