In 2004, the Czech Republic commemorates as many as 60 anniversaries of important composers, musicians and music organisations. That's why this year 2004 has been designated as the Year of Czech Music and will be marked with concerts, exhibitions, and discussions around the country. One of the many anniversaries falls on Tuesday, March 2. It is the 180th anniversary of one of the most important Czech composers of the Romantic era, Bedrich Smetana.
As part of the Year of Czech Music project a number of events and programmes will be held to commemorate both the 180th anniversary of Bedrich Smetana's birth and the 120th anniversary of his death, on the 12th of May. The Bedrich Smetana Museum in Prague is putting up an exhibition which presents Bedrich Smetana in an unusual way. Olga Mojzisova is the head of the museum.
"On the 2nd of March this year, we are opening a new exhibition. Its name is "Images of Bedrich Smetana". It will present different iconographic materials from original photographs from the time of Smetana's life to contemporary art; paintings, graphics, sculptures and so on. Because Smetana was very often presented on such materials many years, from the time of his life until the present day."
Bedrich Smetana was born on the 2nd of March, 1824 to a family of a brewer in the eastern town of Litomysl as the eleventh child of eighteen. From an early age, Bedrich showed great interest in music. As a self-taught pianist he started composing in 1840 and against his father's wishes chose to pursue the career of a musician.
Bedrich Smetana composed a number of operas, orchestral works, vocal and chamber compositions and also several pieces for the piano. In 1874, as a result of a long illness, Smetana went completely deaf. Despite that he continued composing. The result was the cycle of symphonic poems "Ma vlast" or "My Country". Towards the end of his life, Bedrich Smetana composed another great string of operas. He died on May 12, 1884.
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