The sixth year of the Letní Letná or Summer Letná festival of new circus and avant garde theatre has just got underway at Prague’s Letná Park. Until the end of August, colourful tents raised among the greenery not far from Prague Castle will host troupes and ensembles from the Czech Republic and abroad.
My guest today in One on One is concert pianist and director of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra Jan Simon. Simon has studied with some of the great pianists including compatriot Ivan Moravec in Prague and the Uruguayan-born Homero Francesch in Zurich. He also trained in Berlin before becoming the youngest ever soloist in residence of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1994. When I met him to bask in the sun on his balcony, Jan Simon started by telling me about his musical family background:
Every year, for those who simply don’t get enough of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, there is another important film event just around the corner in very same place. It’s called the Fresh Film Festival - a showcase of international student cinematography that has quickly risen to prominence in its six years of existence. This year’s main award went to the Swedish film “Scratches”, about bored youngsters yearning for love in an industrial zone. Not the merriest of topics, but a well-crafted look into young filmmaking - which is exactly
One of the things I find most refreshing about Iva Pekárková’s writing is that it is so untypical. Her books have taken us to New York, Nigeria, and now London and Senegal, breaking the stereotype of Czech literature as inward-looking and local. You may remember Iva talking in a past edition of this programme about her autobiographical novel “Dej mi ty prachy”, published in English as “Gimme the Money”, inspired by her experiences as a New York cab driver. After New York, Iva spent several years back in Prague and she also travelled widely in Africa,
This Saturday, the National Museum in Prague will open its newest building to the public, the former Prague bourse, former building of the Federal Parliament, and until only recently, the headquarters for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Located across from the neo-Renaissance National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square, the neighboring glass-and-steel building will house new exhibits starting this autumn.
“Path of Life” is the name of a new exhibition by the Jewish Museum in Prague marking 400 years since the death of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a 16th century scholar and teacher, the Chief Rabbi of Bohemia. Today, most Czechs remember him not only for being a wise man and a learned scholar, but primarily for being the legendary creator of the Golem, a mythical deed that earned him the status of a national hero.
Few rabbis and Jewish scholars became part of legends of non-Jewish people. But one, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who lived in Prague at the turn of the 17th century, has long been part of a Czech national legend which describes the creation of the mythical Golem. The Jewish Museum in Prague has staged an exhibition at Prague Castle to commemorate the life of the great rabbi.
Matthew Stillman is the boss of the Czech Republic’s biggest production company for foreign films, Stillking Films. It has produced some of the blockbusters that have tapped into Czech skills and locations over the last 15 years. At his main office in the heart of Prague’s Barrandov Studios, I asked Mr Stillman how he came to the Czech capital in the first place.
Iva Bittová is a phenomenon in contemporary Czech music – the avant-garde violinist, singer and composer has developed a music style all her own, blending the music of many cultures into what she terms her "personal folk music“ and drawing deeply on her emotions and the sounds of nature. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, moaning, yelps and deep throat noises that keep audiences mesmerized. Her style is not easily defined but perhaps one of the most accurate comments made about her is that she brings the human voice
Today in Mailbox: we find out the answer to the July competition question and announce its winners. We quote from the answers by the following listeners: Hans Verner Lollike, Colin Preston, Debakamal Hazarika, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Colin Law, Constantin Liviu Viorel, S. J. Agboola, Tracy Andreotti, Henrik Klemetz, David Eldridge, Charles Konecny.