The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading ensembles in the country, has embarked on their 12th tour of Japan, where they are scheduled to play over a dozen concerts. Just a few days before they set off on their journey, I caught up with the orchestra’s head Jakub Čížek and asked him for more details about the tour:
Lake Malawi are an indie-pop band formed in 2013 by the charismatic front man Albert Černý. The group further consists of bass player Jeroným Šubrt and drummer Antonín Hrabal. Among many other highlights, Lake Malawi played at major festivals in the Czech Republic, including Colours of Ostrava and supported Thirty Seconds to Mars and Mika at their Prague shows. In 2017, Lake Malawi released their debut album called "Surrounded by Light" and subsequently went on tour in the UK and in the Czech Republic.
An annual international opera festival celebrating the works of Bedřich Smetana – perhaps the most famous Czech composers of all time – kicks off on Thursday in the eastern Bohemian town of his birth. Now in its 60th year, the "Smetana’s Litomyšl" festival is a paradise for classical music lovers but also features everything from jazz to folk.
The first reunion of the classic lineup of The Velvet Underground took place in Paris in 1990, at a show also featuring the Czech band Půlnoc. Believe it or not, the VU performed for the first time in 22 years in large part due to a Prague rumour linked to Půlnoc that took on a life of its own. A recording of that concert – which took place 28 years ago this week – has now been printed up on vinyl by Ivo Pospíšil, who was closely involved in the events in question.
In the last edition of Czech Books we featured an interview with Zuzana Justman, who with her older brother and mother survived the wartime Terezín ghetto. Her brother Jiří Robert Pick later wrote a remarkable novel set in the ghetto, under the title “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals”. The book draws richly from his own memories; with an unexpected lightness and humour it tells the story of a teenage boy and the people around him – his friends and the older men sharing a ward with him in the ghetto infirmary. Thanks to Zuzana Justman
For the third year now, the Moravian capital Brno is hosting an international event that brings together representatives of various nationalities, cultures and faiths. The festival titled Meeting Brno features discussions, exhibitions, concerts, walks, screenings and much more, in an effort to prove that the city whose multicultural history was severed by the horrors and aftermaths of WWII is embracing its past and looking forward into the future.
The just-announced main competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature two Czech films: Adam Sedlák’s Domestique, and Winter Flies by Slovenian-born director Olmo Omerzu. To get a flavour of this year’s local contenders for Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe, I spoke to the festival’s artistic director, Karel Och.
A group of right-wing protestors who over the weekend disrupted a theatre performance of the controversial play by Croatian director Oliver Frljić have filed a criminal complaint against one of the lead actors as well as the director of the National Theatre in Brno for propagating religious intolerance and defamation of a state symbol. Two other complaints are also pending.
“Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” is a remarkable book by many standards. It is a comic novel set in the wartime Jewish ghetto in Terezín, written by the Czech satirist Jiří Robert Pick some twenty years after he survived the ghetto. The book is a classic, sparkling with life and humour, in defiance of the dehumanizing environment in which it was written. Thanks to J. R. Pick’s sister, the award-winning documentary film-maker Zuzana Justman, the book has just been published in English translation. In a two-part special, Zuzana talks