Just a week to go and the 65th International Prague Spring Music Festival takes to the many stages of the Czech capital. This year will see more than 60 concerts, theatre performances and other events and bring some of the world’s best composers and musicians to Prague. And what’s more, young performers will also about at this, one of Europe’s most important music festivals.
This week in Mailbox we reveal the identity of last month's mystery man, quote from your correct answers and announce the name of the lucky winner. Listeners quoted: Ian Morrison, Charlie Cockey, Andrea Burns, David Eldridge, Constantin Liviu Viorel, S. J. Agboola, Aaron Tiu, Mick Edwards, Colin Law, Charles Konecny.
The renowned Australian-born conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras received the Artis Bohemiae Amici Award from the Czech Culture Ministry on Tuesday, for promoting Czech music abroad. A champion of Czech classical music, Sir Charles has conducted the works of Leoš Janáček, Antonín Dvořák and other Czech composers throughout his career spanning over five decades.
Czech popular music prizes, the Ceny Anděl 2009, were dominated by the group Charlie Straight on Saturday night. The group was awarded the prize for discovery of the year, album of the year and video clip of the year. The prize for male singer went to Tomáš Klus and 16 year old Ewa Farna was chosen as female signer of the year. Group of the year was the already established Monkey Business.
Czech popular music prizes, the Ceny Anděl 2009, were due to be awarded at Prague’s exhibition grounds on Saturday evening. The main categories for the prizes include best male and female singer, best group, best album and discovery of the year. The two-hour event will be broadcast live on commercial broadcaster Nova TV. The awards are regarded as among the highest in Czech pop music.
The legendary Big Band of Czech Radio is celebrating 50 years of its existence. The history of the band goes back to the 1960s, when it was called the Czechoslovak Radio Orchestra. Over the years, the band cooperated with most of the country’s best known jazz and pop musicians. On Wednesday it will celebrate its anniversary with a concert at Národní Dům in Prague.
Joe Karafiát is a songwriter and guitarist with the legendary Czech underground rock band the Plastic People of the Universe. Karafiát, who has also played with groups like Garage and his own Joe Carnation Band, had first met the Plastic People’s Vratislav Brabenec in the 1980s when the two were living in exile in Canada, but didn’t become a member himself until 1997. When I met Joe Karafiát (53) in Prague last week, we first discussed his beginnings as a musician.
A special concert marking 50 years since the era of Czechoslovak 1960s pop music known as bigbít (big beat) will be held at Prague’s O2 Arena in October. Nine groups will take part in the four-hour show, among them Pavel Sedláček & Cadillac, Olympic, Blue Effect and Matadors; the bill will also feature some contemporary bands.
The first-ever tap-dance festival opened in the Moravian city of Brno on Monday. The week-long event organized by the step-dance studio No Feet includes a seminar with foreign instructors, an exhibition on the history of step-dancing and a gala show featuring the brothers Costel and Dorel Surbeck from Switzerland who are world champions in step-dancing.
A few weeks ago, the world celebrated the 200th birthday of one of the great composers of all time, Frederic Chopin, who was born just outside Warsaw in 1810. As elsewhere, Chopin’s anniversary year is being celebrated in the Czech Republic – and with good reason. Although in the course of his short life Chopin spent just a few weeks in Bohemia, his links to the Czechs are far from superficial. When he was a child, his first piano teacher was the Czech, Vojtěch Živný; many years later Chopin spent some of the happiest days of his life in the West
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