Brno is now one of the 180 cities from around the world that belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Only some three dozen of these are focused on music. After Prague it is the second city in the Czech Republic to be accepted into this network. The awarded title recognises the work of artists, people working in culture, the diversity of genres and cooperation with the surrounding region.
The label of UNESCO Creative City recognises the activities of Brno in the field of music, the exceptional diversity of the music on offer there and the plans to incorporate music in the development priorities of the city. “I am overjoyed and proud that after success in the Entente Florale Brno has managed to gain another international award. For everybody it is the best kind of feedback, bearing witness to how high the quality of life is in Brno as well as how much potential for the future is hidden in the city. I look forward to the opportunities that this will bring to the city, and not just in the field of music or even the creative and cultural industries,” stated Brno’s mayor, Petr Vokřál.
UNESCO also sees Brno’s links with the surrounding region as unique, which itself has an extraordinarily rich musical tradition that draws on folklore. After the inclusion of the Tugendhat House on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001 this is another award from this important international institution. Brno thus becomes part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, which links cities such as Berlin, Reykjavik or Shanghai. Each city applies in a specific area of culture which it indicates and in which it excels. Aside from music a city can apply in the fields of design, media, gastronomy folk art and crafts, film and literature.
The title of Creative City, which has been awarded since 2004, can be awarded in the fields of design, media, gastronomy folk art and crafts, film and literature, and is for an unlimited period. At present the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is made up of 180 cities from 72 states around the world. Brno is the second city in the Czech Republic that can boast of this title – the first was Prague in 2014 which of course profiled itself as a city of literature. Until now there were twenty Creative Cities focussing on music, with their ranks being swelled this year by another 11 from around the world (for example Portugal’s Amarante, New Zealand’s Auckland and Chile’s Frutillar).
Brno was a candidate this year for the second time. Brno was invited to submit a repeat application by UNESCO, which stated that most cities gain the title only after resubmitting their application. The patroness and active supporter of Brno’s candidacy was the world-famous mezzosoprano Magdalena Kožená. “For Brno it is truly a historic moment and I am overjoyed that it was recognised as a music city. I am absolutely convinced that few European cities have such a high quality and at the same time interesting and diverse range of music on offer, untroubled by superfluous metropolitan bad habits and at the same time driven by unbelievably inspirational and progressive musical personalities. I firmly believe that the inclusion of Brno among the world’s musical cities will help the further development of the city in the area of music and will fundamentally speed up the completion of the new concert hall that we have all looked forward to for so long!” said Kožená.
Membership of the Creative Cities Network is for an unlimited period. Its benefits lie in the setting up of international cooperation with other linked cities, in new ways of promoting the city and increasing its attractiveness as a tourist destination. With the title the city takes on an obligation to promote culture as part of its development strategy and to not only improve the quality of the range of culture on offer but also its accessibility.
Brno has long been seen as a musical city. Already in 2002 there was the project Brno – Music City, at the inception of which stood David Dittrich, at present the main coordinator of the candidacy of Brno for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The acceptance by UNESCO was recognition for everyone here involved in culture and especially music. The award of the title is also a source of joy and enormous satisfaction for the entire preparatory team. Brno has thus gained a unique opportunity to get onto the world’s musical map and initiate quality and inspirational international cooperation with other creative cities,” Dittrich noted.
From the very beginning a number of Brno’s musical institutions were involved in the project Brno – Music City and others then joined in. The first significant initiative was the creation of the portal www.mestohudby.cz, for the operation of which funds were obtained in 2009 from ROP South-East, which helped the portal to be intensively developed. In 2015 the efforts of the organisers led to the first candidacy of the city and this year to its acceptance into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.