Articles

The area of the so called “Great” Brno emerged when the city centre and the surrounding villages merged together, which contributes to its specific nature. You can merely stretch out your hand, take a few steps and you find yourself in the countryside. Folk traditions are so close to the city centre that they actually feel like home there.  more

There are singers who have been connected with Brno for their entire career. Vladimír Tomš sang here during the first performance of the opera by Otakar Ostrčil, Honza's Kingdom, which was a major event in 1934, and then he just came back here to die. His artistic triumph and end shook hands in Brno.  more

Let us sing together, but let us sing properly and without mistakes. If Brno and Moravia owes someone for its choir tradition and reputation, then it is Ferdinand Vach.  more

She began to compose music already as a child, she had undeniable talent, during her short life, she won the acclaim of audiences and official recognition. The diminutive name Vitulka contradicts rather than resonates with confident orchestral compositions.  more

Of all the Christian holidays, Christmas is the musically richest and it is usually hard on musicians. They are, however, not angry about it ; besides a certain extra income, Christmas music brings them an indefinable feeling of Christmas which takes them back to their childhood and can be experienced just once a year. Even the Bolshevik failed to eradicate this, no matter how hard he tried. Once, when there were comments from the region that members of the philharmonic organisation attend Christian churches during the holiday and serve black clericalism, the philharmonic officers voted (with calendars already full of Christmas ceremonies) that they will not even step inside a church this time – and then they watched, clenching their teeth, how their warm seats in the choir stalls were occupied by their colleagues from the opera where they did not take servility so seriously.  more

Jan Skácel would most resolutely protest against the presence of his person in the gallery of musical figures from Brno which this commemorative series is supposed to be. Although raised in a family of teachers in Moravian Slovakia, he had a clear idea of his (non)musicality. You cannot talk about music to me, I have no ear for music, I do not listen to music and I do not understand it. Already in kindergarten in Poštorná, he stubbornly refused to sing with the other children and looked as obstinate then as he did his whole life (Janek will have a hard life, Mrs. Skácelová used to say about her elder son, he will not know how to deal with people as well as Petr). And at the time when he was thinking about a university career as an assistant at the newly-established faculty of education, he talked about musicological education with much scornfulness.  more

“Mario’s” or “Ander’s” were not only visited by Brno cultural bohemians, poets; writers, painters, actors, but also by important figures from all other possible fields. In 1960 and 1970 it was almost a cult place, whose importance still awaits acknowledgement, contemporaries quickly leave this world.  more

On Saturday 21 March 1953 a group of players of the then Symphonic Orchestra of the Brno region with the conductor Waldhans set off to their traditional first spring walk after one of the rehearsals; they spent afternoon in the hills overlooking Královo Pole and were on their way back to Černá Pole, they made a lot of stops and tried to say goodbye many times but unsuccessfully. Finally, one of them remembered that two of their colleagues were playing in a home quartet at the Hrubeš family that evening; we rang the doorbell of their basement flat in Helfertova street before midnight and started to congratulate the famous opera singer on the first spring night. The quartet was on their way home with their instruments but Eduard found other instruments in his collection, distributed them among the new guests (Waldhans was given a wooden spoon) and he made the ensemble play the whole Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart.  more

The holiday series of Leoš Janáček’s texts Něco o hudbě brněnské (Something about music in Brno) will be concluded by his confession to the city where he spent the majority of his life. It is the year 1866 and Brno is occupied by the Prussian army...

Another part of the series of articles by Leoš Janáček about Brno singer associations is dedicated to the Slavonic singer association of Brno technicians “Zora”.  more

I used to listen to Vilém Přibyl in the Janáček Theatre as a kid and he was one of the few singers who stayed in my memory into the future. He stayed in my head despite several years of a teenage break when opera completly left my life. I am not saying that I recognised his extraordinary abilities already as a child but I did not remember him due to an unusual costume or a non-musical event, so there must have been something about him.  more

This November it will have been ninety years since the composition of the first of the two string quartets by Leoš Janáček. The composition, which is today a natural part of the international quartet repertoire, has a subtitle which is understood only by a few at first sight: Motivated by the Kreutzer Sonata by L. N. Tolstoy. The name of the Belgian violin virtuoso Rodolphe Kreutzer lives today in the collection of great etudes, which must be mastered by every professional violinist, and then in the said sonata, which however was not written by him, but by Beethoven – he dedicated it to him. Another Kreutzer Sonata was written by Tolstoy, not as a sonata but as a more extensive novel: In that, Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata is the literary motif of one of the characters in a love triangle, a demonic violinist, who charms a young lady, the wife of the narrator, who eventually becomes her murderer.  more

The Bakalas were an unusual couple. He looked at every moment – perhaps even at home in his pyjamas – like the chief conductor of a large orchestra, especially when his hair began to create a distinctive silver aureole in his mature years; he maintained his aristocratic restraint not only as a conductor but also in social and personal contact, he did not move rapidly, he did not raise his voice; we also never heard of him being on first-name terms with anyone and even musicians who had played under him for fifteen years were not sure if he knew their names. No so Mrs. Marie; wherever she came, she was just everywhere, she had something to talk about with everyone and – what was important – one felt that her warmth was genuine. She did not hide her love and admiration for her husband even though she, as a Brno native, referred to him as that boss of yours; it was characteristic that the orchestra referred to him exclusively as Bakala, while to her as Mařenka.  more

In the first post war year, my older colleague from the student quartet and I came from Kroměříž to Brno very briefly: he was trying for admission to the conservatory and I quietly envied him. Back then, the conservatory was already housed in its current building, a former German Teachers Institute; Ferda left me waiting in front of it and went in for information with some papers. After a while, he appeared in the company of a dignified-looking man in glasses, to whom he was saying something vehemently; without them noticing me, like peripatetic philosophers they headed towards Lužánky and disappeared around the corner. Ferda returned just in time when I was already determined to go to catch a train back to Kroměříž. He looked a little distracted.  more

As part of the Ibérica Festival, Catalan singer-songwriter Magalí Sare performed with guitarist Sebastià Gris from Mallorca on 17 June 2022 in Brno. The following interview was conducted immediately after the concert.  more

Last year they were the stars of Brasil Fest Brno. This year they will be welcomed to Náměšt’ nad Oslavou, where they will perform on 25 July at the Folk Holidays as part of an evening called Poetry in Every Song. In the meantime, they have played at the WOMEX world music fair in Portugal and the sold-out spring festival Budapest Ritmo. Above all, they were awarded the prestigious prize of Songlines magazine, today’s most respected periodical in world music. They call themselves Ayom, and alongside Brazilian singer Jabu Morales, they are made up of musicians from Angola, Greece, and Italy. Our questions were answered by accordionist and composer Alberto Becucci, guitarist Pedro Bastos João, and of course the charismatic singer and drummer.  more

On Friday, 29 July, at the Folk Holidays in Náměšt’ nad Oslavou, the group L’Alba from Corsica will perform, combining traditional Mediterranean polyphony with the music of many nations, not only from southern Europe. Its album A Principiu, released last March, was voted by the World Music Charts Europe jury as the sixth best album from around the world in 2021. guitarist and vocalist Ghjuvanfrancescu Mattei answers our questions on behalf of L’Alba.  more

This year’s 27th edition of the Concentus Moraviae Festival is history after almost a month of music. The gala closing concert at the Zlín Congress Centre presented a program of songs by Ernest Chausson, Igor Stravinsky, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, Leoš Janáček and Antonín Dvořák. Magdalena Kožená, mezzo-soprano and patron of the show, performed as a soloist. She was joined by pianist and conductor Sir Simon Rattle, flutist and this year’s Artist in Residence Kaspar Zehnder, violinist Giovanni Guzzo, violinist Rahel Maria Rilling, violist Amihai Grosz, cellist Dávid Adorján, and clarinettist Christopher Richards. Dvořák’s songs were specially arranged for this ensemble by the English composer and conductor Duncan Ward.  more

This year's 27th edition of the Concentus Moraviae Music Festival is slowly coming to a grand finale as a joint concert by flutist and artist in residence Kaspar Zehnder, mezzo-soprano and patron of the festival Magdalena Kožená, and her husband, pianist and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. On Friday 24 June, at one of the last concerts of the culminating festival, artist-in-residence Kaspar Zehnder, together with his friends Giovanni Guzzo (violin), Rahel Maria Rilling (violin), Amihai Grosz (viola), Dávid Adorján (cello), Wolfgang Klinser (clarinet), and Anaïs Gaudemard (harp), prepared the dramaturgy of Friday's chamber concert in the library of the Náměšť Castle.  more

Nikol Bóková, a native of Ostrava, has long been considered a unique talent in the field of classical music. At the age of nine, she played as a solo pianist with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, and studying at the conservatory and then at the JAMU was a matter of course. But already during her studies of classical music, another of her talents, that of composition, took shape and gradually manifested itself. Together with her trio (Nikol Bóková-piano, Martin Kocián-contrabass, Michal Wierzgoń-drums), she recorded her debut album Inner Place in 2019 and immediately established herself among the Czech (and indeed European) jazz elite. Two more projects followed during the cover – Unravel (2020) for the same named line-up and last year’s Prometheus, recorded with extraordinary commitment by a remarkable studio line-up. Out of this and several subsequent concerts (among others during JazzFest Brno last autumn) crystallized also the quite logical expansion of her trio with the versatile and empathetic guitarist David Dorůžka, the Nikol Bóková Quartet. This line-up was also the birthplace of the latest album Elements, with which a new creative phase opens for Nikol and her partner and co-creator Jan Vala.  more

On 22 June, the Ensemble Opera Diversa visited the atrium of the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University on Arne Novák Street with the program Dances in the Gardens, which continued the series of outdoor projects started last year. Bassoonist Pavel Horák and marimba player Martin Švec performed as soloists. The concert was conducted by conductor Patrik Červák, who stood in front of the Ensemble Opera Diversa string orchestra for the very first time.  more

The abbey in old Brno where Gregor Johann Mendel worked until his death hides several beautiful areas behind its walls. One of them is the Paradise Court, which is entered through an inconspicuous entrance next to the Basilica of the Assumption. On Thursday 16 June, the stone walls of this ancient space hosted the opening concert of the Brno and its churches project.  more

On Friday 17 June, Catalan singer-songwriter Magalí Sare will perform in Brno as part of the Ibérica festival. Her current album Eponja reached number six on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe in June 2022, compiled by 45 European radio publicists from albums around the world. As an invitation to the concert, we bring you a review of this album.  more

After the first successful concert of the Concentus Moraviae festival’s resident ensemble at the castle in Slavkov, the ensemble led by violinist Pavel Fischer expanded to include pianist Katya Apekisheva and on Sunday, 12 June, in the Great Hall of Mikulov Castle, presented an unknown face of the musical language of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók with his Piano Quintet in C Major. Along with Fischer and Apekisheva, the concert also featured violinist Markéta Janoušková, violist Diede Verpoest, and cellist Erich Oskar Hüttermore

Last year’s 100th anniversary of Gustav Brom’s birth still resonates on the domestic jazz scene. At the very end of 2021, a 4-CD set entitled “Gustav Brom – 100 Years” was released, offering a cross-section of the orchestra’s repertoire, from songwriting to jazz to intersections with contemporary classical music. Alongside this, an album charting the Brom Orchestra’s long-standing collaboration with Karel Velebný has also appeared on the same label (Indies Happy Trails). Radio editor, jazz musician, and teacher Jan Dalecký was one of the producers of both albums.  more

In its twenty-seven years of existence, the Concentus Moraviae International Music Festival has been held in a number of unusual and unique places. Sunday's program Homo Sapiens – The Story of Rhythm in Velké Meziříčí has the potential to be one of the most memorable concerts of the festival. On June 5, OK Percussion Duo musicians Martin Opršál and Martin Kleibl, together with guests and students Tomáš Javora and Kryštof Vašíček performed in the normally inaccessible premises of the New Synagogue, which has served as a center of affordable shopping for years. The concert was held in cooperation with the European Festival of Philosophy, the Jewish Community of Brno, and the town of Velké Meziříčí. At the same time, it was part of the project From the Shopping Center to the Cultural Communitymore

This year’s 27th edition of the international music festival Concentus Moraviae is still at the beginning of its almost month-long program, yet in terms of dramaturgy it is not holding back at all. After the opening featuring Argentinian and Uruguayan tango in Boskovice and Balkan music in Ivančice, the festival brought the Arcadia String Quartet to the atrium of the town hall in Kyjov on Thursday 2 June, where they performed the String Octet in C Major by Romanian composer George Enescu together with their friends from the Transylvanian Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to the members of the quartet (violinists Ana TörökRăsvan Dumitru, violist Traian Boală and cellist Zsolt Török), there were also violinists Vlad RăceuValentin Șerban, violist Mihai Oșvat and cellist Ștefan Cazacu. The concert was held under the auspices of the Ambassador of Romania to the Czech Republic, H.E. Antoaneta Barta.  more

We met violinist Pavel Fischer at the Budějovická metro station in Prague, and on the way to the Dobeška Theater we managed to discuss his holiday in Italy. At the time, we were already working out the subtitle of this year's Concentus Moraviae festival “From Roots to the Future”. Next to Dobeška, where the Sklep Theater plays, is what we call the “woodshed”, where the Škampa Quartet has been rehearsing for thirty-five years. Pavel Fischer was a founding member of the ensemble which he left at a time when it was enjoying one international success after another. As he says, he was attracted by greater musical freedom and a quieter life. At Dobeška, after our interview, he had a concert with cellist Olin Nejezchleba and guitarist Norbi Kovács. We started with him, although our main topic was Fischer's residency at this year's Concentus Moraviae.  more

Another in a series of themed “anniversary” orchestral concepts by Jiří Kotača for his big band, this one commemorates the centenary of the birth of Canadian-American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and above all, genius arranger Gil Evans and his successful collaboration with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis in the late 1950s.  more

Editorial

As part of the bicentenary celebrations of Gregor Mendel’s birth in July, the Brno Contemporary Orchestra will also join in the congratulations. On Wednesday at St. Augustine’s Church, the orchestra will play several pieces by composers whose initials of their names have been transformed into a secret cipher. The concert will be conducted by Pavel Šnajdr.  more

The Olomouc Baroque Festival will offer a program full of music from the Baroque to early Romantic. It includes 11 unique projects that will take place throughout Olomouc. The festival will also visit the pilgrimage church in Dub nad Moravou. The festival’s resident ensemble this year is the Volantes Orchestra. Musica Figuralis, Societas Incognitorum, Musica Florea, Arte dei Suonatori, and others will also perform.  more

Tomorrow, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra is already looking forward to an extraordinary concert – both in terms of its program and the many ways it can reach the audience. As part of the Mendel 2022 festival, the orchestra will play Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass and, in a world premiere, present a piece that Armenian composer Tigran Mansuryan composed on commission for the Philharmonic and the festival. Mansurjan will be present in person for the first performance of his work entitled Orhnerg – Navapet Bari (Hymn – The Good Captain).  more

The Brno Ensemble Opera Diversa will perform two chamber operas by Miloš Štědron this afternoon. Magnum mysterium will be performed in its world premiere, and Palackého truchlivý konec will be performed in a revival (it was premiered in 2013). The ensemble will perform both works in the Old Brno Monastery on Mendel Square as part of the Mendel 2022 Festival. The performance will be directed by Gabriela Tardonová.  more

The Brno part of the international art workshop festival will take place in the Vice-Governor’s Palace and Villa Löw-Beer. The motto of this year’s edition is “Coming closer to yourself and others through the art of perception”.  more

The Vaňkovka Fest is a multi-genre festival that traditionally takes place in the former crane track between the Vaňkovka Gallery and Fait Gallery. The summer festival this year attracts concerts by artists such as Lenka Dusilová featuring Květy, Mucha, Budoár staré dámy, and Dan Bárta and Illustratosphere. There will also be an evening of stand-up comedy.  more

The Mendel22 Festival will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Gregor Mendel’s birth. And since music was important for Abbot Mendel himself, and for the entire Augustinian Order, it will also play a crucial role in the festival program. Music will be performed in several places that are inextricably linked to Mendel and the Augustinians in Brno. The Brno Contemporary Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir under the direction of chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies, Ensemble Opera Diversa and Musica Figuralis will all perform. The festival will also include the premiere of Mendel’s opera Magnum Mystérium by Miloš Štědroň.  more

The I. V. Psota Ballet School is opening registration for children’s courses for the school year 2022/2023. Talent tests will cover all the ballet school’s courses for children and will take place in early September 2022.  more

Guitarist David Dorůžka, Polish pianist Piotr Wyleżoł, and American drummer Jeff Ballard have known each other for years, but it wasn’t until last spring that they came together for the first time to record a new album. The band’s sound relies primarily on analogue electronic instruments, simple melodies, and complex grooves. The album launch, entitled Andromeda’s Mystery, will take place at the Husa na provázku Theater in Brno at the Syncopation Festival.  more

The Znojmo Music Festival has more than thirty concerts and accompanying events on its program, and this year it takes place for the eighteenth time. This year’s edition, subtitled Guardian Angels and Homecomings, will take place at various locations in Znojmo and in its surroundings – in the countryside and in castles and churches. The festival will present the premiere of a stage production of Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Return of Tobias in its own production. Adam Plachetka will perform the title role.  more