The popular Czech composer and singer Petr Hapka has died at the age of 70. Hapka co-wrote a series of hits with lyricist Michal Horáček and other collaborators for artists such as Hana Hegerová, Karel Gott, Lucie Bilá, Michal Kocáb and Jana Kirschner. His own distinctive voice appeared on solo recordings and duets, while he also composed music for a great number of films, TV series and theatre productions.
The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, celebrated earlier this week, was marked not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. On Sunday, for example, the Czech Philharmonic headed by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, played its final North American date in New York at none other than Carnegie Hall, performing Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, written during his stay in America.
Some 20,000 people attended a concert on Wenceslas Square on Monday, organized by Czech Radio, marking the 25th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. Performers included notable personalities who figured in the 1989 revolution such as Michal Prokop and Jaroslav Hutka. During the evening, many lit candles at the memorial to Jan Palach and at the statue of St. Wenceslas, while some held signs echoing discontent from earlier in the day with the country’s president.
For Semafor is a unique album initiated by the Czech music journalist Pavel Klusák on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Semafor Theatre in 2009. It features 20 cover versions of the most famous hits by Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr interpreted by some of the best known Czech indie bands, such as Květy, OTK or Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
The American Kronos Quartet is set to perform on Thursday in Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall. The concert will mark the 40th anniversary of the legendary string quartet. Kronos specializes in contemporary classical music and has cooperated with many minimalist composers including Arvo Part, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The Kronos Quartet has collected a series of awards, including the Grammy.
Never Sol is essentially the solo project of Sára Vondrášková, a songwriter and keyboardist whose rich, smoky voice belies her tender years. Her Jan P. Muchow-produced debut LP Under Quiet – which occasionally brings to mind the likes of Portishead or Muchow’s The Ecstasy of St. Theresa – has been nominated for Best New Act and Best Female Act in the Czech music industry’s Anděl music awards.
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