The Czech Philharmonic launched its new season on Thursday night with a concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum featuring the world-renowned US violinist Joshua Bell, who performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. The orchestra, which is to perform the same concert again on Friday, has also marked the new season – its 121st – with the release of two special albums. I spoke with the head of Czech Philharmonic, David Mareček, about the plans for the upcoming season, but I started by asking how the cooperation with Joshua Bell came about:
This year’s George Theiner Prize, which honours people who have helped to promote Czech literature abroad, went to Markéta Goetz-Stankiewicz. At the University of British Columbia she has devoted decades to promoting, translating and writing about modern Czech literature. It was also thanks to Markéta that many Czech playwrights, banned back home, managed to have their work performed on stages in Canada during the 1970s and ‘80s. She has worked just as hard to promote interest in the rich legacy of German writing from what is now the Czech Republic.
The Stanislav Libenský Award, founded eight years ago, is an international competition recognizing outstanding works in glass by art college graduates. This year’s winners were announced just recently and their work (as well as that of other finalists) is on now on view in a must-see exhibition at Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.
One of the city’s most precious book collections is to be found in the Nostitz Palace Library in Prague’s Lesser Town. The Early Baroque building, former residence of the noble family of Nostitz-Rieneck, is now home to the Czech Ministry of Culture. The precious library within, which is only open to visitors on special occasions, is administered by the National Museum. I asked Richard Šípek who administers the priceless collection of ancient books to take me through the library and show me some of its treasures.
Gideon Klein has been known mainly as a Czech Jewish composer who was interned in Terezín and later died in Auschwitz. A new international performance, which has its Czech premiere at the Prague Conservatory on Tuesday evening, wants to present Klein in a new perspective: as a fascinating young individual who was very much part of the pre-war vibrant Prague music scene.
It was reported first by RFE/RL that the founder of the political street art group Voina, Oleg Vorotnikov, and his wife and fellow activist Natalia Sokol, along with their daughter, had been detained in Prague. Mr Vorotnikov left Russia in 2011 after running awry of the Putin regime for artistic events seen there as acts of hooliganism. It is not known whether Russia will seek his extradition.
In today’s edition of Sunday Music Show, we’ll be listening to the songs by David Koller, the legendary singer, drummer and frontman for the rock group Lucie, interpreted by a new generation of Czech musicians. David Koller, who this year won three Anděl awards for his most recent album ČeskosLOVEnsko, addressed musicians close to his heart, asking them to take a fresh approach to his old songs.
As one half of the award-winning duo Republic of Two and with his solo project Piano, Mikoláš Růžička is a well-known figure on the Prague music scene. A native of Bechyně in South Bohemia, the musician also has a day job teaching at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts. Our tour of “Mikoláš Růžička’s Prague” begins on Jiřího z Poděbrad square in front of Jože Plečnik’s modernist Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord.
Palác Akropolis, one of Prague’s most important arts venues, will celebrate a double anniversary this upcoming season: It is 90 years since its establishment and 20 years since it was reopened. A special series of events in different genres, including concerts and theatre performances, are scheduled to take place between September and June to mark the special occasion.
Why does the Czech army take part in foreign military missions? And why should Czechs appreciate their war veterans? This is the main theme of an exhibition which is currently underway at Prague Castle. Entitled Ten druhý život or That Other Life, it features large-format photos showing scenes encountered by Czech military missions abroad, captured by soldiers and journalists.