The 1999 movie Pelíšky (Cosy Dens) is a bittersweet drama set in the period leading up the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia August 1968. Chock-full of names like Václav Neckář, Blue Effect, Waldemar Matuška, The Matadors, Hana Hegerová and Petr Novák, its soundtrack is an excellent primer to the Czechoslovak music of that era and a brilliant compilation by any standards.
The great American conductor Lorin Maazel helmed the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at a sold-out Smetana Hall of Prague’s Obecni Dum on Friday night in what was his first appearance at the Prague Spring international music festival for 43 years. Maazel, who is 83, has been one of the world’s leading conductors for the last five decades. This year’s Prague Spring features more than 30 concerts and three opera performances. It runs until June 2.
Organized by the International Dvorak Society, the American Spring music festival (April 8th to July 4th) annually brings internationally renowned soloists and music ensembles to a broad audience in the Czech Republic, with concerts and master classes taking place in dozens of towns and villages around the country. Among this year’s performers is pianist Diana Fanning from Middlebury College, Vermont whose recent piano recital featured music by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. When she visited Radio Prague’s studio shortly after the recital we talked
The 68th annual Prague Spring International Music Festival began on Sunday with Bedřich Smetana’s Má Vlast (My Country) at Prague’s Municipal House and is continuing with high-profile events until the beginning of June. This week alone visitors will be able to attend the finale of the Prague Spring International Music Competition, The Giacomo Variations featuring American actor John Malkovich and a performance by Czech violin virtuoso Josef Špaček to name only a few of the many events.
President Miloš Zeman is back at work after suffering from a viral infection, the president’s office has said, stressing he will spend most of the workweek at his desk to further aid his recovery. Mr Zeman attended the opening of the Prague Spring Music Festival on Sunday but was visibly unwell only a few days ago at a ceremony of bringing the crown jewels out of storage. During the official ceremony, the president, who is 69, had to prop himself against a wall to keep from swaying, sparking broad speculation over the cause of the problem.
A commemorative act at the graveside of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana officially opened the 68th annual Prague Spring Music Festival on Sunday. The prestigious festival traditionally begins with a rendition of Smetana’s cycle of symphonic poems My Country; this year it will be performed by the French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the next three weeks music lovers will be able to take their pick from 45 concerts, presenting leading international orchestras and soloists as well as six opera performances at different venues in the Czech capital.
Members of the legendary Czech rock band Olympic have announced the band will continue to play despite the death of their drummer. In a statement released on Facebook on Wednesday, Olympic said they would continue with three members while the drummer will be filled by various musicians. Olympic formed in the late 1960s, and has since released nearly 20 albums. Drummer Milan Peroutka, who joined the band in 1986, died on Sunday at the age of 49.
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