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The Graffe Quartet is 20 years old. The non-traditional music cycle VOX IMAGINIS, which combines chamber music, words and art opens with a concert entitled Brno Inspiration. There will be string quartets by Leoš Janáček, the poetry of Oldřich Mikulášek and Jan Skácel and the premiere of the string quartet Blízkost (Closeness) by Jiří Pavlica.
The theme of this year’s Moravian Autumn festival is Revolution – evolution… ®evolution…. And as in previous years there will in addition be another philharmonic festival, the Exposition of New Music. This has the theme NEW ®EVOLUTION. During Moravian Autumn there will be performances from Accademia Bizantina, the Ensemble Berlin Prague, and the pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Greilsammer and Steffen Schleiermacher. The loudest composition in the history of the world will be heard – the Symphony of Sirens by Arseny Avraamov, as well as the world premiere of the new composition by Marek Kopelent with his personal participation and concerts for children.
The second year of the multi-genre festival Brno Music Marathon is approaching. The biggest summer festival in Brno will welcome dozens of international participants. Space will be given to various musical genres within the festival, from Balkan Brass bands via classical chamber and orchestral, jazz, folk, world music, rock, groups for children all the way to off-street busking. The musical programme will be supplemented by three performances of the new circus Collectif Malunés, street theatre, a magician and an acrobatic helium balloon.
Brno said goodbye on Sunday to Marta Kubišová. This made it the first city in the Czech part of the Marta Naposledy (Marta One Last Time) tour. It will end in České Budějovice on her 75th birthday. The Sono Centre, full to bursting, could enjoy not only a cross-section of her musical career but also a tribute to American pop music, given in her latest album “Soul”. As it has been for the last nineteen years she was accompanied on her final tour by Petr Malásek (keyboard) and a band made up of Martin Lehký (double bass), Budy Zbořil (drums), Josef Štěpánek (guitar) and František Kop (saxophone).
The organisers of JazzFest Brno tried something with the Canadian singer and pianist Diana Krall that they have not managed so far with Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter or Bobby McFerrin – to fill Brno’s DRFG Arena (which used to be Rondo). I have no idea how sure Vilém Spilka and co were but the artists name together with well-targeted promotion bore fruit in the form of a virtually full ice-hockey hall. Viewers who aren’t used to going to sporting events and pop concerts might perhaps have been slightly put out by the uncomfortable seating, but otherwise it was really well managed on the technical side. The sound was great, and even those fans further from the stage praised its purity and clarity. Just as perfect was the image on the two large screens, thanks to which even those in the far corners of the hall could enjoy the visual experience.
From 16 September to 19 December the twelfth year of Jazz Brno will be taking place in the Stará Pekárna club in Brno. It will offer not only modern jazz but also fusion, funk and a solid chunk of blues. The festival opens on Saturday 16 September with a concert by the American blues musician Linwood Taylor, who will be performing in Brno as part of a larger Czech tour. We asked him a number of questions on the telephone.
At Folk Holidays 2017 in Náměšt nad Oslavou two significant groups from Denmark are appearing, among others. On Monday July 24 it will be the instrumental ensemble Dreamers’ Circus and on Thursday 27 July the quartet Nordens Tone. This is made up of three jazz musicians (piano, double bass and saxophone) and the singer Jullie Hjetland, who sings in eight different Nordic languages. And it was with her that we spoke by telephone.
After a gap of five years the lyricist and singer Lada Šimíčková and the composer and musician (or songwriter) Ivo Cicvárek have brought out their second joint album. Thus the collection Hotel v tiché ulici (Hotel in a Quiet Street) from 2012 has not remained a one-off project. Taking the second album as the proverbial touchstone, the duo has passed with flying colours. Five years is plenty of time for putting together new material and the songs that made their way into the final selection and now have a chance to become public despite the name of the album.
Birthdays, and not just those on stage, bring a need to look back. In the case of London’s Placebo this is the case twice over, because they returned in Brno to songs that they have long avoided playing live. They kept their promise and at the Brno Exhibition Centre they gave a two-hour cross-section show.
The brilliant Moravian cimbalom player Dalibor Štrunc (1966) came from a folk environment in Wallachia and after graduating from the Brno Conservatory had a number of musical engagements – from classical through folk to being a member for many years of Hana and Petr Ulrych’s group Javory. It is an unbelievable twenty-five years since he formed the group Cimbal Classic, in which he began to make use of his song-writing as well as musical skills. In that time Cimbal Classic has become a fixture on our folk scene. This year they are celebrating their anniversary with a new CD and a tour.
The unique event ZUŠ Open will present on Tuesday May 30 up to a thousand musical, dance, theatre and artistic performances in 280 Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian towns and cities. Brno also will have an exceptionally rich programme tomorrow, culminating in a joint vocal performance of children with Magdalena Kožená on Moravian Square and a celebratory concert of the Mozart’s Children Festival in Besední dům together with the Brno Philharmonic. The Brno event is part of Brno’s candidacy for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of music.