Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša has made a dream come true after being been appointed one of the two principal guest conductors at the London Philharmonia Orchestra. Hrůša, along with Santtu-Matias Rouvali from Finland, will take up their shared roles at the start of the upcoming season. They will be the first conductors to hold the post since the death of Sir Charles Mackerras in 2010.
Lubomír Brabec is one of the country’s most brilliant guitarists and many rank him among the best guitar plyers in the world. In a career spanning over four decades he has captivated audiences at home and abroad, and recorded around 30 CDs. Critics have high praise for his immaculate technique as well as his inventive and original approach to music. Lubomír Brabec's many recordings include works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Janáček and Prokofiev, but also Spanish music and hits by McCartney. In 1997 he became the first musician in the world to perform
Next week, books in the Czech Republic will have their moment in the media limelight. Czech Television will be screening a glitzy awards ceremony for this country’s best-known literary awards, the Magnesia Litera. Over the last sixteen years the awards have helped to draw attention to writers, poets, translators and publishers. There are no less than nine different categories, helping to give the awards ceremony a flavour of the Oscars – a deliberate strategy of Magnesia Litera’s media-savvy founder, Pavel Mandys. He came into the studio to talk
Exactly 20 years have passed since the independent Czech Republic celebrated its first ever Oscar win for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie was Kolya, a surprise global critical hit directed by Jan Svěrák, which tells the story of a Czech cellist, played by Jan's father Zdeněk, who is left to raise a young Russian boy after his mother abandons him.
Among an impressive range of new exhibitions at the Czech National Gallery’s Trade Fair Palace is an installation by the UK artist and musician Brian Eno. Though Eno is known to many for his work with U2 and David Bowie, the immersive work The Ship builds on his status as the inventor of ambient music.
Petr Janyška is the head of the Czech Literary Centre, a recently created state agency that aims to promote the country’s writers internationally. Originally a translator, Janyška was one of the founders of the weekly Respekt before working for many years as a diplomat. Before getting on to his plans for the Czech Literary Centre, I asked him during a recent meeting about his own connection to books and writing.
Czech organist and jazz musician Ondřej Pivec features on this year’s Grammy Award-winning album Take Me to the Alley by Gregory Porter. The Czech musician, who currently works and resides in New York, has recorded five albums under his own name and appeared on more than thirty as an accompanist. He currently leads an r&b-jazz-pop band called Kennedy Administration and plays the organ in a gospel church choir in Brooklyn.
A major new exhibition by the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei opens in Prague on Thursday evening. The show is centred around an enormous recreation of a lifeboat highlighting the plight of refugees – and Ai told reporters that Europe’s handling of the crisis raised major questions surrounding its values.