David Dorůžka is one of the Czech Republic’s best jazz musicians. The guitarist studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and later spent time in New York and Paris. A few months ago he released his latest album, Autumn Tales. Our tour of “David Dorůžka’s Prague” begins at the Branické skály, a rocky outcrop overlooking the Vltava close to where the 37-year-old was raised in a musical household: his grandfather was the jazz expert and writer Lubomír Dorůžka, while his father Petr is a well-known music journalist.
Academia Film Olomouc is one of the longest running film festivals in the Czech Republic. What is unique is that this festival, now in its 52nd year, focusses largely on science documentary films. The Future is Now is this year’s motto and it won’t be a surprise that films being screened examine both the promises but also potential risks in fields moving rapidly forward, such as robotics, bioengineering, nanotechnology and of course the big one - artificial intelligence.
Preparations are already in full swing for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which gets underway in the West Bohemian spa town in early July. Among the main guests at the 52nd edition of the event will be British director Ken Loach and US composer James Newton Howard, who wrote scores for countless Hollywood movies. I spoke to the festival’s programme coordinator Anna Purkrábková about this years’ programme and I first asked her about the festival’s special sections:
Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša was recently appointed one of the two principal guest conductors at London's Philharmonia Orchestra. Simultaneously, Jakub Hrůša is the Chief Conductor of Bamberg Symphony, Permanent Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. I contacted him by phone in Paris, where he is currently on tour and first asked him when he became involved with music:
This week sees the release of the first episode of Genius, a new National Geographic series on the life of Albert Einstein that was filmed here in the Czech Republc. The older Einstein is played by Geoffrey Rush, the Oscar-winning Australian actor known for movies such as Shine and The King’s Speech. While Rush was still in Prague he spoke exclusively to Petr Dudek of Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál on a host of subjects – including playing the famous Einstein.
One of the Czech Republic’s most popular band, Mňága & Žďorp, have recently released a new album marking thirty years on Czech music scene.. Founded in 1987 in Valašské Meziříčí, the alternative rock band shot to fame already with their first album called “Made in Valmez”, which was awarded Czech album of the 1990s. The band’s thirteenth album is called Třínohý pes or Three-legged dog and features a number of guest musicians, including autoharp and banjo player Fanda Holý and singer Nikola Mucha.
Twice a year Prague’s New Town Hall hosts the city’s biggest Antique Fair. This year´s spring edition of the traditional event, held from April 20 to April 23, presents antique jewels as well as gemstones and small collectors’ items, which are not only exceptional pieces of art but serve as a good investment. Many are antique family jewels with a long history that their owners were forced to sell after fleeing from wars or revolutions in their native country.
Jan Dismas Zelenka is considered one of the most significant baroque composers, yet his music had been largely forgotten after his death and was only rediscovered 150 years later by the composer Bedřich Smetana. Today, each new discovery of Zelenka’s previously unknown works is a sensation of its kind. His Easter Mass, or Missa Paschalis, composed in 1726, saw its modern-day premiere just a few years ago, when it was performed by Prague’s Ensemble Inégal.