Lubomír Dorůžka first began writing about music seven decades ago when, during WWII, he produced a clandestine magazine on his greatest passion, jazz. The quintessential American art form was frowned upon by the Communists after their 1948 takeover of Czechoslovakia. However, in the relatively liberal 1960s Mr. Dorůžka was able to edit music magazines and play a very active role in international jazz organisations. As well as being a music journalist, he is also a renowned translator of American and British writers – and as a young man did many
Prague’s Antonín Dvořák Museum recently reopened after renovation with a new programme dedicated to the life and work of the famous composer. Entitled The journeys of Antonín Dvořák, it offers a new look at the composer’s stays abroad. It also features an exhibition on Dvořák’s Czech-American friend and collaborator, Josef Jan Kovařík, who worked with Dvořák during his stay in New York.
The 1960s had seen a thriving musical scene in Czechoslovakia, which had been broadly tolerated by the regime, especially during the 1968 Prague Spring. With the political clampdown of the early 70s, rock and pop music were also to suffer. But this was a gradual process, and, initially at least, the communist authorities were careful not to go too far to alienate young people.
In this week’s Arts my guest is Canadian opera singer Melanie Gall – a soprano who has performed around the world including in Israel, Italy, France and the Czech Republic. This week she dropped by Radio Prague’s studio to discuss upcoming performances at this year’s American Spring Festival. She’s is a charming guest with a great sense of humour and Melanie talks not only about what she’ll be performing while in Prague but also about opera in general.
It was another cold, grey morning for the thousands of commuters who passed through the city’s crowded metro stations making their way to work on Wednesday morning. But on this particular day the mood in Prague’s busy subway was different. An all-day musical happening put a smile on people’s faces and many stopped to listen, even if it meant missing their regular train connection.
On Wednesday night, The Shape of Blue, a painting by abstract artist František Kupka, sold for 55.75 million crowns at auction – setting a new Czech art auction record. The impressive final sum came as a surprise even to the director of Adolf Loos Aprtment & Gallery, which organized the auction. What significance does this latest record have for the domestic art market, and what makes this work of Kupka’s special? We spoke to Jan Skřivánek, the editor-in-chief of art + antiques.
Undoubtedly the most famous guest at this year’s Prague Writers’ Festival, the British novelist, screenwriter and playwright Hanif Kureishi rose to international fame in 1985, with his screenplay for the film “My Beautiful Laundrette”. Since then, he published the novel “The Buddha of Suburbia” to great acclaim and continues to write extensively, both for the screen and works of fiction. Ahead of his first reading at the festival, I asked him about his work, why he enjoys the short story form and if he had previously visited Prague.
Amongst intellectuals in Turkey, the psychologist and author Gündüz Vassaf is a bit of a rock-star. He writes a weekly column for the newspaper radical, was a founding member of the Istanbul chapter of Amnesty International and resigned from his post as university professor in protest of the 1980 military coup. Born and educated in America, Vassaf is regarded as one of the most important critical voices in Turkey. Currently, he is in town for the Prague Writers’ Festival, and we spoke to him ahead of the gala opening. The interview opens with the