Tenth International Organ Festival resounds around Prague


The 10th International Organ festival is now underway in Prague. This event has become a major attraction for organ lovers everywhere, presenting a series of concerts by well-known organ virtuosos from all over the world.

As part of the event, a number of renowned organists such as Belgian Kristiaan Seynhaave will be giving concerts in Prague. During the festival, audiences will be treated to recitals of music by major organ composers such as Bach and Dupre.

The festival is organised by Irena Chribkova, who is herself a very accomplished organist. She says it is not just the festival's star-studded line-up that draws audiences, but the venue where the concerts are held - the stunning baroque St. James Basilica right beside Prague's Old Town square:

"Audiences are also attracted by the space where the recitals are held, which is St. James' Basilica. This is a unique place in terms of both acoustics and architectural design. Any listener who sits in the basilica will find himself surrounded by architecture, music and the overall sense of spirituality that is found here. It makes an overwhelming impression."

"In the 1940s and 50s, Bedøich Antonín Wiedermann played here, who was a famous organ virtuoso and an excellent organ teacher. The last organist and composer who worked here until 1995 was the recently deceased Jiøí Ropek. He's also very well known abroad and a lot of his compositions were published in Britain. The world-famous composer Petr Eben is also spiritually associated with this church, because he comes here very often and his work has been heard here many times. Practically all of the organists I have been in contact with have his work in their repertoire, which is very gratifying for Czech music."

After starting off as a small series of concerts ten years ago, the Prague International Organ Festival has since become a major event, attracting leading international organists from all over the world. It is now ranked as one of the city's "A-list" events and is already booked out until 2008. Irena Chribkova says that the festival has also been attracting hordes of organ aficionados from many other countries:

"I can say that we often see plenty of familiar faces who come year in year out. Naturally, we also get students of the organ and of music in general. There are also a number of foreign people interested in the festival who come exclusively for the organ music. They don't just pop in to the concerts like tourists sometimes do to take a break from sightseeing or something. This is a group of people who come with the intention of seeing an organ recital"

The International Organ Festival runs until 22 September and anyone interested can get further information at www.auditeorganum.cz