Interviews

Roman Dragoun, one of our best rock singers and keyboardists, will celebrate his 60th birthday on 8 April. On that occasion, he released a new album called Samota (Solitude), continuing his long-standing collaboration with lyricist Milan Princ. The solo CD is, however, only one of many current activities of the musician whose life took him from his hometown of Písek to Brno.  more

The Liška – Malina – Nejtek group caught the attention of the Artistic Director of the JazzFestBrno Festival Vilém Spilka as soon as he heard about it: "I actually bought a pig in a poke. I made arrangements with them a long time ago and I did not even know how they sounded. I did not care whether it would be bluegrass, or new age. "The debut album has already seen the light of day, and the visitors to this year's festival will also hear the trio live.  more

Find an unused, forgotten factory, write a concert customised to it and go elsewhere. The project Ztichlé budovy (Quiet Buildings) was founded by several students of art schools in Brno, the first year performed in the hall of the former MEZ factory in Židenice. This year, they will return once again, but next time they should be moving on. We talked to several members of the creative and organisational community in the Zastávka Café in Židenice about the beginnings, present and future of Ztichlé budovy. We got to talk to Anna Laborová, Petra Čtveráčková, Kristýna Uhrová, Magdalena Dostálová and Filip Dufka. This year, the MEZ building will be full of music on 28 April.  more

The string quartet Nostalgia Quartet was founded a quarter century ago by the players of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra but they focus on jazz. We talked about the history and present of the ensemble with its founding member, violoncellist Radan Vach. The current line-up consists of Jakub Výborný (first violin), Bohumír Strnad (second violin) and Otakar Salajka (viola).  more

Chris Corner released the album Metanoia within his solo project IAMX last autumn. On his tour, he will stop at the Fléda Club in Brno next week. We talked the day before the release of the new EP and video North Star.  more

He has been playing the violin since childhood, he toured the entire world with Ida Kelarová. Violinist Milan Horváth is in charge of the jazz band The Harmonic Play and a dulcimer band. With the first one, they will accompany the screening of the silent film Bewitching Eyes in the Moravian Library. And they will also release a new album in the Museum of Roma Culture on 7 April.  more

The ongoing Itch My Ha Ha Ha Festival focuses on music ranging from electronic experiments to rap and contemporary pop. The deformator of tape loops William Basinski, energetic Young Fathers and the lone singing preacher Richard Youngs found their place in the programme. The common denominator for the various performers could be that their performances resemble a musical ceremony. That may be another reason why the band Ospalý pohyb led by Slovak composer Martin Burlas fits so naturally into the festival programme. Their performance was part of an art birthday celebration on 17 January.  more

The Powder Her Face opera will premiere on Friday in the Brno Reduta Theatre. The love life and divorce of the Duchess of Argyll is, however, not the essential topic of the work by British composer Thomas Adès. Composer and chief conductor of the Janáček Opera Marko Ivanović is in charge of the musical arrangement of the first production of Adès' opera on the Czech scene. We talked not only about the work itself, but also about the music of Thomas Adès and performing contemporary operas on the Brno scene. And we also touched on the Excursions of Mr. Brouček directed by Jan Švankmajer.  more

Music accompanies people in the folk tradition from birth to death, in all ritual and personal contexts. An anthology of Moravian folk music started to be released four years ago. It was intended to provide a complete picture of folklore as it can be really experienced in Moravia. Two parts were added to the first five parts this autumn. Six of the current seven albums were compiled by music publicist Helena Bretfeldová.  more

We met with conductor Gabriela Tardonová in Kabinet Múz where the Ensemble Opera Diversa used to sometimes play in their nomadic times. However, we were not really discussing the history of one of her home ensembles. Rather, we talked about its near and more distant future. We started, of course, with Miloš Štědroň's opera Chameleon, the premiere of which is approaching. We did, however, not forget about the Young Symphony Orchestra of Brno led by Gabriela Tardonová or her own ambitions and wishes.  more

Astronautalis is almost at home both in Europe and the Czech Republic, with concert tours of the singer from Minneapolis coming to us very often. So far it does not seem that anyone would be tired of him, something unexpected can be expected on every album and at every concert. This Friday, Astronautalis will stop by at the Itch My Hahaha Festival, and then two days later in the Lucerna Music Bar in Prague.  more

The Israeli composer and double bassist Avishai Cohen is one of the jazz world's most popular musicians of today. He has stopped in the Czech Republic several times, twice at the JazzFestBrno and most recently at this year's Colours of Ostrava. At the end of November, he will perform in Brno again, but this time it is an exceptional event. The concert is part of Cohen's first tour with the symphony orchestra, so in addition to the usual trio the Brno Philharmonic will also be on the stage in Bobycentrum. Before the Brno performance, we managed to get a few modest answers to several immodest questions from Avishai Cohen.  more

The Vienna State Opera will present its first production of the Makropulos Affair. Not only that the opera of Leoš Janáček will be introduced to this famous opera house but Jakub Hrůša will conduct there for the first time as well. We met two days before the rehearsal started and apart from the upcoming production we talked about working in opera in general. But we also talked about the position of the principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, which Jakub Hrůša will occupy starting from next season, and about getting from Brno grammar school to a world famous career as a conductor and finally we talked a bit about dress coats and other clothes. We did not talk about the Sir Charles Mackerras Award, which Jakub Hrůša received from the Leoš Janáček Foundation, but we congratulate him nonetheless!  more

Zenový čaj is not a band in the traditional sense of the word, but is a changing project in which anyone can participate at any appropriate moment. Half of the permanent members consist of the multi-instrumentalist and didgeridoo player Dalibor Neuwirt and the first album First Flush was made along with several famous musicians on the Czech scene.  more

The debut of tenor Pavel Černoch in Brno was rather inconspicuous. A part of the children Kantilena is hardly remembered by the audience and the side roles in the Magic Flute are also not world shattering. But that was several years back, Pavel Černoch is a regular part of the world opera scene and he would like to conquer the Metropolitan Opera in major roles. This December he will return to Brno with his first great gala concert of his career.  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