Interviews

 We talked with Jitka Šuranská about a new album full of music, where she is the bandleader, but as she points out herself, she is only one of three equal elements. The Jitka Šuranská Trio consists of her, cross-genre mandolinist Martin Krajíček and multi-instrumentalist (educated jazz bassist) Marian Friedl. The three musicians started the debut tour of the first album Divé husy symbolically on 1 October at the Goose Festival in Boskovice, two day later they launched it in the Stará Pekárna Club in Brno. Until mid-October, they will be touring clubs, cinemas and libraries in Náchod, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, Zlín and České Budějovice. Although the trio mentions folk songs as their inspiration, their author's coat is made of many musical styles, yet it is harmonious and interesting. And Jitka's own musician's path is important and inspirational for the final outcome.  more

The Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Karnéus is hosting in Radok's opera staging of Bluebeard's Castle / Expectation where she plays the role of the Woman. Katarina Karnéus is the winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera as Varvara in Janáček's Katya Kabanova. This season, she performs in the Stuttgart Staatstheatre, Theater Basel and in the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus. The premiere of the Bluebeard's Castle / Expectation is part of the programme of the 2016 Janáček Brno Festival.  more

Canadian director Robert Carsen is among today's elite directors in the world of opera. His productions have been in the repertoire of major opera houses, such as the La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England or the Royal Opera House Covent Garden for many years. His work is often referred to as the so-called regietheater because he usually stages operas at times and places different from the original score. Yet his productions excel in unique poetics, dramaturgical compactness and mainly in the fact that they are an emotional, lively and extremely impressive theatre. The 2016 Janáček Brno Festival will open with one of the most famous productions by Carsen, Janáček's Katya Kabanova. It will be performed by the ensemble of the Janáček Opera of the Brno National Theatre. The Brno theatre will be the first ensemble in the Czech Republic that has a production by Robert Carsen in their permanent repertoire.  more

A long Czech tour of the English blues guitarist Will Johns was taking place nearly all throughout September. A nephew of Eric Clapton and George Harrison and a son of famed producer Andy Johns (he worked with Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones) began touring in the early 1990s. His latest album is called Something Old, Something New... and Will Johns will also present it in Brno. His concert in the Stará Pekárna Music Club will take place on Tuesday, 13 September from 8:00 p.m. This interview with the guitarist was conducted by phone.  more

Dulcimer player from the Javory Band, bandleader and founder of the folk Cimbal Classic and music educator Dalibor Štrunc released his new record Malované na cimbál. Štrunc's instrumental songs on this album are played by his students from the Conservatory Anna Múčková, Kateřina Harnošová, and Barbora Jagošová. We talked to the dulcimer player and songwriter, who has just turned 50, about this piece of work and more.  more

Last year, soprano Martina Janková, baritone Tomáš Král and pianist Ivo Kahánek recorded an album of folk songs edited by Leoš Janáček. Visitors of the 2016 Janáček Brno Festival will also have the opportunity to experience its live performance. The only change is that Roman Hoza will perform instead of Tomáš Král at the concert in the Villa Tugendhat. Martina Janková talked about her journey from childhood with folk music to Janáček.  more

Songwriter and guitarist František Chaloupka switches between rock, contemporary and classical music and other genres. Besides that, he founded the Guitar Institute in 2014. We talked about guitar instruction tailored to students. And about the directions in which the Institute could develop further.  more

How does the Mozart effect work? Why does Mozart's music reduce epileptic discharges in the brain, while Haydn's does not? How do the brains of the audience without musical training and professional musicians perceive music? We were looking for answers with the head of the Centre for Neuroscience of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Professor Ivan Rektor.  more

25-year-old guitarist Jannis Moras is a rising star on the Brno scene. The songwriter with Greek roots works with his father Trifon Moras and his two brothers in the I Parea band. With the Anatoli band that plays traditional Greek music, he recently won the South Moravian round of the Porta competition. And he has his own original project Jannis Moras a band(a) that will perform on 4 June as part of the Greek Saturday at the Veveří Castle. We talk to Jannis Moras about music that he plays and about the Greek community in Brno.  more

Inconspicuous concerts in high-pitched frequencies go through the city. Their centre is an area called Rumiště, the producer and DJ Snediggen Snurssla stands behind them. This week, his AVA loft sessions are being held for the fifteenth time and they will head from Rumiště to Mosilana. Furthermore, we talked about adventurous music and listening to the city.  more

The Brno Contemporary Orchestra was founded five years ago by conductor Pavel Šnajdr. Music by contemporary composers is nothing unusual to him, he considers it an everyday matter of course. And that is how he wants to bring it closer to the audience. The upcoming concert in Hall A at the Brno Exhibition Centre was one of the reasons for this interview about the creation of the orchestra and their plans. And about contemporary music in general.  more

The fates of unfortunate Queen Dido and the hero Gilgamesh will be combined in the joint performance of works by Henry Purcell and Bohuslav Martinů. The Janáček Opera is preparing the combination of the Baroque opera with music of the 20th century as the last premiere of the season. We talk to Václav Luks, a renowned interpreter of early music, the founder and conductor of Collegium 1704, mainly about the Baroque part of the performance.  more

Yoga became commonplace in Europe and America a long time ago and has become part of the Western world. For some, it is one of the common exercises, for others it is mainly a path to knowledge. The Wonderpark Festival strives to combine yoga and contemporary music. We talked about it with its organiser Naděžda Brzobohatá in her yoga studio. And we started with a tea.  more

International success and Czech quartet tradition – both refer to the ensemble that was named after composer Pavel Haas. The Pavel Haas Quartet received its first BBC Music Magazine Award a few days ago for a recording of quartets by Bedřich Smetana, and it collects awards of the Gramophone Magazine almost systematically. The Concentus Moraviae Festival was also an important topic of the interview. This year, it was thematically devoted primarily to the string quartet and Beethoven, and the Pavel Haas Quartet is the residential ensemble this year.  more

The band Minach with actress and chanson singer Mariana Chmelařová. Album Out Of The Blue(s) with the Indigo String Quartet. Cooperation with another singer-actress Andrea Buršová. Songs for theatrical performances. New acoustic music for the KK Band (with mandolin player Martin Krajíček). Albums of folk and "speech therapy" songs for children. The book Drakouni. The TV show Hýbánky. Albums for piano solos. This is – by no means exhaustive – a list of activities of the pianist and composer Zdeněk Král from Brno. We met on the occasion of the release of his new piano album, Nahá, but we obviously did not stop there.  more

The Brno group Hrozně slowly approach forty years of age – they started to give concerts in 1982. After several cassettes and unofficial recordings, they released a CD with their debut album Už není čas [There Is No Time Left] in 2013. Their new album named Ticho [Silence], which the band was working on over the last two years in the Indies studio, brings a surprise with its cleaner sound and clearly audible tension in the structure of the songs.  more

Over the four years that divide the release of the first album Záhir, and the second one entitled O Písni [About the Song], Lee Band virtually moved on (previously they stated Adamov as their domicile, now it is Jedovnice), they got on a "wild card" to the Porta festival semifinals in Řevnice, and above all, they advanced slightly in their musical style. While the debut album was more about a folk-rock mainstream, benefiting from the sound of an electric guitar, the new album is dominated by acoustic guitars, often in combination with mandolin and other acoustic instruments.  more

As part of this year’s European Tour, Bobby McFerrin visited Brno’s Sono Centre, where he managed to perfectly use the brilliant acoustics and the close contact with the audience. The legend is back. Indeed, he comes back regularly, and not just to Brno.  more

This year’s eighteenth JazzFest Brno will exceptionally not close with a concert, but rather a unique (though not unusual for world festivals) series of musical and dance workshops, centred on children. On Saturday 4 May, in the pleasant environment of Café Práh, near Vaňkovka, the children students will be taken on board by the significant young personalities of the jazz scene: Beata Hlavenková (pianist and composition lecturer), Dano Šoltis (leader of the drum class) and the multi-instrumentalists Jiří Slavík and Marian Friedl (conductors of Wandering on Jazz Paths), who will be accompanied by Kateřina Hanzlíková with the Tancohraní lectures. With the exception of composition, where it is necessary for the participants to be older than twelve, all the other “classes” are open to everyone, including the youngest. We asked the co-author of the idea of the children’s workshop and director of JazzFest Brno, Vilém Spilka, for further information.  more

The musical Nine, based on the legendary film 8½ by director Frederico Fellini, was prepared under director Stanislav Moša as the penultimate premiere of the season at the Brno City Theatre. They prepared an at places almost erotic show, led by interesting scenography, well-made costumes, brilliant musical preparation and the energy of the female acting. The sensuality of some of the dance parts thankfully did not overshadow the central theme of the hero’s crises: mid-life, art and relationship.  more

This year's JazzFestBrno festival had several highlights – of course, it depended on each visitor's personal taste, their expectations, and of course on how many shows they managed to visit. For the author of this article, one of the highlights the evening with bassist Stanley Clark on 23 April, varied in genre and arrangement,  as well as the last but one concert of the festival, the performance of "the other" Avishai Cohen in the Husa na provázku Theatre on 28 April. It was a musically pure essence of jazz with a message – imperative, heartbreaking and poetic.  more

One of the musical highlights of last week was the concert of the Malina Brothers with two unique guest musicians, Kateřina García and Charlie McCoy in the Sono Centre in Brno. And because the performance was recorded on a professional video for the band’s first live DVD, the evening itself was extraordinary both in its length and quality.  more

Letošní ročník festivalu Jazzfest Brno nabízí nepřeberné množství rozmanitých crossoverů , žánrových směsic a fúzí. V duchu tohoto stylového spektra v rekonstruovaném (akusticky významně vylepšeném) sále Janáčkova divadla nabídl svůj vyhlášený osobitý nadžánrový sound klasik jazz fusion a britský kytarista John McLaughlin se svou formací The 4th Dimension. V Brně se představil vůbec poprvé.  more

On Palm Sunday a concert with the subtitle Nova et Vetera opened the 28th Easter Festival of Sacred Music with the theme Ceremony/It is Good to Celebrate the Lord. Aside from Gregorian Chant for Holy Week performed by the ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, which opened yesterday’s concert, there was also the world premiere of So Shall He Descend by the Estonian composer Toivo Tulev as performed by the soprano Ivana Rusko, the mezzosoprano Bettina Schneebeli, tenor Jaroslav Březina, baritone Jiří Hájek, choristers Aneta Bendová Podracka, Jana Vondrů and Pavla Radostová, the choir Ars Brunensis under choirmaster Dan Kalousek and the Brno Philharmonic under the baton of its principal conductor Denis Russell Davies. The work was written to a commission from the festival and was intended for the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.  more

This year, the JazzFestBrno festival has expanded its offer to include an "electronic" programme line named Tension. Within that series, the bands Zabelov Group and HRTL Spaghetti Ensemble appeared  in the Praha space in Brno on 28 March. However, the two-hour concert, which took place on 5 April in the sold-out Sono Centre, was also ideologically close to this new series. The Manchester-based trio GoGo Penguin perhaps uses an instrumental layout of a jazz piano trio vetted by decades, but still oscillates around electronic music as a starting point in its albums and concerts.   more

Even though the audience's attention is generally focused on music ensembles that have already been vetted by time, yesterday's concert of the newly formed Camerata Brunensis ensemble in the Historical Hall of the Brno Bishop's Court proved that even young blood can offer a remarkable artistic experience. The concert was programmed  in cooperation with the Moravian Regional Museum and the Academy of Early Music at Masaryk University, which the Camerata Brunensis‘ artists attend. The ensemble consists of soprano Veronika Vojířová, who performed for example with ensembles like Collegium Marianum, Collegium Floreum, Capella Regia Prague or Cappella Mariana, and the flutist Michaela Durajová, who could be listened to by audiences with the Orchestral Academy of the Brno Philharmonic, the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc, the Czech Virtuosi orchestra or with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, the double bassist and violonist  Matyáš Berdych regularly appears with important music ensembles such as Musica Florea, Collegium Marianum and Czech Ensemble Baroque. The backbone of the ensemble is formed by the harpsichordist Jan Hajič, who works as a répétiteur for the Prague choir Vagantes, accompanies concerts and master classes at the Prague Conservatory, and works as a backup organist at the Prague Academic Parish under the guidance of Robert Hugo.  more

Filip Míšek and Ema Brabcová have worked together for as many as twenty years already. They met each other back in 1999 in the group Roe-Deer, as part of which they created their own project called Khoiba. Under this name they released their albums Nice Traps (2004) and Mellow Drama (2007), shone on the domestic scene and drew attention to themselves in neighbouring Germany, but then each of the protagonists set out on their own paths – Filip came up with the solo project Dikolson and Ema was active first in the group Luno and later became part of The Antagonists under the leadership of Jan P. Muchow. Only in January 2019 did the resurrected Khoiba draw attention to itself – first with the single Log and two months later with the album Khoiba. As part of an intensive spring concert the duo is also coming to perform in Brno. The concert will take place in Kabinet múz on 24 April and supporting Khoiba will be Jan Boroš with Čáry života [Life Lines], this year’s winner of the Apollo award.  more

Each premiere from the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble is an event that sparks great interest from folk fans. It was no different on Thursday in the slightly cramped quarters of the Divadlo Bolka Polívky theatre. The concert carrying the title Through the Landscape of Time had already been sold out a month ahead.  more

Yesterday’s concert from the Principal Conductor’s series of the Brno Philharmonic presented Yumi Hwang-Williams, concertmaster of the Colorado Symphonic Orchestra, in an intimately conceived programme. Together with the principal conductor of the Brno philharmonic, Dennis Russel Davies, she performed several classical and contemporary works composed for violin and piano. In this, the Brno audience had a chance to see the soloist before she plays tomorrow together with the Brno Philharmonic.  more

In an almost four-hour long programme, both audience and performers celebrated the 80th birthday of Horňácko folk legend Martin Hrbáč in Veselí nad Moravou. The concert that took place on Sunday 24 March, and was not only historic in its length but more importantly in the range of folk legends appearing on stage.  more

Editorial

Greek Saturday at Veveří Castle enters its 9th season. The music scene will be represented by Musica Balkanika, Mydros, Martha and Tena Elefteriadu or Prometheus. In addition, there will be costume dance shows, dance workshops, an exhibition named "The Greeks in the Area of the Danube Monarchy", a theatrical performance and a programme for children. Through this event, the organizers want to convey to the public the cultural traditions and historical ties between Moravia and Greece.  more

As part of the final concert of the Bach on Mozart! cycle we will hear Baroque music by F. X. Richter in the St. Johns' Church. The Czech Ensemble Baroque will end the 7th season of the cycle with three rediscovered compositions by this distinguished Baroque composer, which have never been played over the last twenty five years. The concert will be conducted by the founder of the ensemble, Roman Válek.  more

The festival "with no fences and no admission fees" will be held in the Brno Lužánky Park this year as well. Over fifty events will take place on total of five The Stage s over the weekend. The programme includes musical performances, theatrical shows, film screenings, workshops and author readings. The music scene is represented by names such as Arve Henriksen and David Kollar, Dorota Barová and Jiří Šimek, The BladderStones, Brünnwerk or Songs From Utopia.  more

420 primary artistic schools got involved in this year's ZUŠ Open nationwide happening organized by the Magdalena Kožená Endowment. Children and young artists will spread music, dance, theatre and fine arts in public space. In several places of the Czech Republic, they will also head to retirement homes or nursery and primary schools. The Brno part of this event will be launched by the announcement of the results of the Brno-wide competition This Is a Talent on Dominikánské Square. It will be followed by performances of  sixteen primary artistic schools of the city of Brno. The meeting in Brno will be concluded by a performance of the biggest Brno choir, which will be formed for this particular occasion and will sing together  Proč bychom se netěšili [Why Should We Not Rejoice], a choral piece from the opera The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana.  more

The Ibérica Festival of Ibero-American Culture released its programme today. It is traditionally full of music, dance and gastronomy. Cristina Aguilera and Diego Guerrero will perform during the gala concert.  more

For the upcoming summer, the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble is preparing a charity cycle called Evenings with Ondráš. Two evenings at Špilberk Castle will bring a repeated run of their new show, Krajinou času a Ondrášovské putování [Through the Landscape of Time and Wandering with Ondráš] in which the whole ensemble performs. The programme also includes a fairy-tale show for children.  more

Czech Radio Brno will celebrate its 95th anniversary with a great concert at the Brno Water Reservoir. In the concert will appear bands such as Moravia Brass Band, Gustav Brom's Radio Big Band led by Vlado Valovič, Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý and a number of others.   more

For the first time ever, the artistic ensemble Kafka Band will bring its music and literature performance entitled Amerika to Brno. The project has been inspired by fragments of the unfinished novel of the same name by Franz Kafka. The seven-member line-up of the ensemble, headed by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír Švejdík, will also present twelve brand new compositions in  the Fléda music club.  more

The Schola Artist dance school offers dance classes of various styles under the guidance of professional dancers, champions of the world and of the Czech Republic and certified tutors. Their roster features pole dance, classical ballet, contemporary dance and more. This year, the school will be celebrating its 2nd birthday with a gala evening in the studio on Hybešova Street.  more

Free Radicals (Böse Zellen) is the title of a piano concerto by Thomas Larcher (1963), which will be played next week in Besední dům in Czech premiere. When composing it, the author was inspired by a film of the same name by the Austrian director Barbara Albert. The concert is conducted by Nicholas Milton. The work of Thomas Larcher will be heard twice, and a meeting with the dramaturge Vítězslav Mikeš will take place before both concerts, introducing the audience to the world of the upcoming compositions.  more