The great British rock guitar player Jeff Beck played a concert on the terrace of the Riding School of Prague Castle on Wednesday night. The eight-time Grammy winner, who is 70, performed a mainly instrumental set taking in a number of genres from blues to jazz fusion with a three-piece band. An estimated 1,200 fans attended the seated show at the sold-out venue, which started hosting occasional outdoor live music events last summer.
The 69th Prague Spring International Music Festival will come to a close on Tuesday night with a performance by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Smetana Hall of Prague’s Municipal House. The ensemble will play Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony and Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major featuring US soloist Hilary Hahn. This year the Prague Spring has featured more Czech compositions than usual as part of its involvement in the Year of Czech Music.
The popular Czech rock band Lucie have returned to the stage after a 10-year gap. The group played the first show of a reunion tour in front of 6,500 fans in the Slovak city of Košice on Monday night. Lucie – who were one of the country’s most popular bands in the 1990s – have sold over 100,000 tickets for the comeback tour. Two additional shows have been organised in Prague due to high demand.
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.
Director Tomáš Pilař is regarded as a coming man in the world of Czech opera. And the 25-year-old is already incredibly busy; this season he is working on more than a dozen different projects at opera houses in various corners of the country. When we met recently, we discussed the craft of opera direction, the state of the art form in the Czech Republic and his own ambitions. But I first asked Pilař – who is also a stage designer – whether he came from a musical family.
In this week’s show, we will listen to some music by a young singer named Debbi. She’s put out two albums before turning 20, and captured the attention of Czech, and even some international audiences with her husky voice and bubbly personality. Her music has given the Czech pop scene a bit more depth, a few more good songs in English and even a slightly retro dimension.
Monday’s opening of the 2014 Prague Spring music festival was dedicated to one of the greats of Czech music, conductor Rafael Kubelík, who was born 100 years ago this year. The honour was certainly merited; after all, not only did Kubelík help found the festival immediately after WWII, he helmed its first ever concert – and the first opening after the fall of communism.
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