The Janáček Theatre will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary on Friday by performing the premiere of Leoš Janáček’s opera Jenufa. The director of the performance is the current director of the National Theatre Brno – Martin Glaser. We spoke together about his production as well as the changes the theatre has gone through under his management and where the festivals Theatre World and Janáček Brno were heading.  more

The need for a new symphonic and cantate concert hall in Brno is first mentioned in a dictionary of music by Pazdírek in 1929. Since that time this issue has come to the surface in more frequent intervals, fuelled by the existence and needs of the philharmonic orchestra, by the growth and requirements of the symphonic audience and also by the expectations of foreign visitors of Janáček’s city. There were different stages of realization of projects at Žerotínovo square (currently Bílý dům), Joliot Curie square (what is now the last section of Šumavská street with the commercial high rises), Obránců míru street (currently the ombudsman’s palace on Údolní street) and – at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s – the undeveloped area between Besední and Veselá street. The quiet struggle, which has taken place for this especially lucrative and exceptionally advantageous place for a philharmonic orchestra, has recently come to a promising outcome.  more

Looking at the daily schedule of Zdeněk Pololáník, one cannot tell that he will be eighty in October. Just last Sunday, he performed at a mass in the morning, inspected the performance of his opera Noc plná světla: transparent none repeat scroll in Olomouc in the afternoon and played at a concert in Besední dům in Brno in the evening. His music is well known to concert visitors and movie fans; some of his songs are sung at churches. This year’s Brno Organ Festival is devoted to his jubilee. We met in the village of Ostrovačice where he works and plays the organ at the local church.  more

Talking to music veterans about music is entertaining and painful at the same time. You learn things you had no idea about but, at the same time, you don’t know where to start and how to wrap up. The topics covered are growing and you feel like it would be a shame to shape the interview. An interview with the legend of Czech jazz Jan Dalecký confirmed this one hundred percent. If the name confuses you, he was formerly known as Jan Beránek. I did ask about the change, by the way.  more

This week Janáček Theatre in Brno will see the farewell performance by the prima ballerina of the Brno National Theatre Jana Přibylová. It is going to be her night, with the support of her fans and colleagues. However, she says she should bow for them. We discussed the end of her career, new beginnings and a dancer’s free time. We talked about how unfair it is that dancers’ careers are so short or the fact that she has never really left Brno. As we were leaving the café in the theatre building, there was a big photo of her teacher and mentor Kateřina Gratzerová.  more

At the end of this week a new organ will be consecrated in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (the so-called Jesuit church). It is an organ dedicated to Brno. The audience will be able to listen to it for the first time on 29 June. A few days later, it will be incorporated into another important event – a concert by Alena Veselá on the occasion of her 91st birthday. We met in Slavia café, on neutral ground between the Faculty of Music of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing arts and the Besední dům concert hall. We discussed the organ, the concert hall in Brno and cultural grants.  more

The biggest problems are those we find closest to us. This applies to cities just as it does to people. The area between the streets Cejl and Francouzská is widely considered to be the most dangerous and the most problematic part of Brno. It is, in fact, a small area which one can cover on foot within just twenty minutes. Or thirty, if one walks really slowly. In our eyes, it has gradually become a major problem we refer to as the Brno Bronx. Many Roma live there and if you go there at night you may never walk again. Why do people think so? What are the local people like and why does this part of Brno host the Ghettofest festival? I sought answers from the co-organiser of the festival Alica Heráková.  more

Ten years ago a Pan-European project entitled České sny (Czech Dreams) was born. It was based on the ideas of the International Music Festival of thirteen cities, bringing superb musical performances outside established cultural centres. The creators’ idea was to introduce concerts with unified dramaturgy in selected Czech towns and villages and their respective European twin towns. This year’s domestic part of Czech Dreams will be launched on 22 May, moving abroad on 4 July, when the symbolic flag of the festival will be handed over from Břeclav to Trnava. The manager of the festival Zdenka Kachlová discusses the development of Czech Dreams and its future.  more

The first impulse for the interview with the basso Richard Novák was this year’s Easter Festival of Sacred Music. We started and finished the interview with it. Try talking about this year with a man who has been a singer for sixty years. Richard Novák will be 83 this year but he still has it. And if based on the following words he may sound a bit conceited, be aware he is telling it like it is.  more

We met in an apartment where Jaromír Nečas has lived since 1946. The music writer and director, folklorist and teacher who discovered world music by accident recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. At the age of six, he was hospitalised in Uherské Hradiště with bone marrow irritation and the prognosis was so bleak he even received his last rites. His fellow patients, a poacher from Znorovy and a winemaker from Petrov would pass glasses of wine back and forth across the bed with the sick boy. Occasionally they would offer him some wine. He claims that was what eventually saved him. By the way, a bottle of traminer was present at our interview. Actually, it was not really an interview but rather story telling or a series of associations which I bumped forward every now and then. We were surrounded by a piano, a few folk instruments and mountains of sheet music and books.  more

Guitarist Peter Bernstein will arrive at this year's JazzFestBrno Festival in a trio with Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. The New York Times referred to them in the 1990s as the best organ trio, and the player level as well as the inventiveness of the ensemble is still as high. Together, they released eight albums and one DVD. Peter Bernstein is among the musicians who were in the "front line" of contemporary jazz in the 1990s. Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Lovano and, of course, members of the trio that we will hear in Brno in April were among his colleagues. Our conversation also mainly focused on his "home" band, even though I did not forget to ask about Brad Mehldau, with whom Peter Bernstein often played.  more

Barbara Maria Willi is an excellent cembalist, organist and educator. She is one of the dramaturges of the Concentus Moraviae festival and she is also working on her own series of old music. There are many things we could talk about, which is why we agreed at the beginning that we shall talk about two of them. First, the 11th Barbara Maria Willi uvádí (Barbara Maria Willi Presents…) scheduled for next week. And second, the expansion of the Department of Organ and Historic Interpretation at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU).  more

A very interesting building is growing before our eyes on Veveří (street). Once completed, it will be known as Sono Center, a club with superb acoustic properties. The concert hall will be located in a sphere placed between two semicircular concrete blocks. The two blocks will house facilities for musicians, as well as a hotel and a restaurant. We sat down with the dramaturge of Sono Centre Dan Giač and the investor of this project Jiří Štopl to discuss the upcoming programme, the ideal line-up or the very reason why Štopl decided to build the center, as he is also the co-owner of the Sono Records studio. The two gentlemen did not have time to do this interview together but they were okay with my postproduction mixing.  more

Singer Vojtěch Dyk and the Brno B-Side Band, led by Josef Buchta, have had just completed a short dream tour. Last week, they had five joint concerts with American Kurt Elling, Grammy winner, rightly regarded as one of the best jazz singers of today. The following interviews took place in the Janáček Theatre on Wednesday, 4th of December. The orchestra had played a sold-out concert at the Mahen Theatre on Tuesday and it had just finished an afternoon rehearsal in the Janáček Theatre. About two hours were left until the next sold-out concert…  more

The Brno-based Vox Iuvenalis choir will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Formerly a high school choir, it has become one of the best amateur choirs, winning several international competitions. Most importantly, its current members thorougly enjoy singing just like their predecessors did twenty years ago. Today it is managed under the auspices of the Brno University of Technology. Jan Ocetek has been with the choir since it was founded. We sat down with him to talk about the choir and its unusual projects.  more

Connection, unity, contemplation - these words can be used to describe the musical evening of Schola Gregoriana Pragensis under the direction of David Eben and organist Tomáš Thon, which took place yesterday as part of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music at the church of St. Thomas. Not only the singing of a Gregorian chant, but also the works of composer Petr Eben (1929-2007) enlivened the church space with sound and colour for an hour.  more

With a concert called Ensemble Inégal: Yesterday at the church of St. John, Zelenka opened the 31st edition of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music, this time with the suffix Terroir. This slightly mysterious word, which is popularly used in connection with wine, comes from the Latin word for land or soil, and carries the sum of all the influences, especially the natural conditions of a particular location and on the plants grown there. This term is thus metonymically transferred to the programme of this year's VFDH, as it consists exclusively of works by Czech authors, thus complementing the ongoing Year of Czech Musicmore

For the fourth subscription concert of the Philharmonic at Home serieswhich took place on 14 March at the Besední dům and was entitled Mozartiana, the Brno Philharmonic, this time under the direction of Czech-Japanese conductor Chuhei Iwasaki, chose four works from the 18th to 20th centuries. These works are dramaturgically linked either directly through their creation in the Classical period or by inspiration from musical practices typical of that period. The first half of the concert featured Martina Venc Matušínská with a solo flute.  more

The second stop on the short Neues Klavier Trio Dresden's Czech-German tour was at the concert hall of the Janáček Academy of Music on 6 March at 16:00. A programme consisting of world premières by two Czech and two German composers was performed in four cities (Prague, Brno, Leipzig and Dresden).  more

The last opera première of the National Theatre Brno this year was Hurvínek Sells the Bride, which was co-produced with the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre. The première continued the thematic focus associated with the Year of Czech Music and took place on 24 November in the large hall of the Reduta Theatre.  more

With Thursday's concert entitled Bruckneriana, the Brno Philharmonic under the direction of Principal Conductor Dennis Russell Davies launched the subscription series Philharmonia in the Theatre I. The orchestra performed works by Anton Bruckner and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, a Polish-American conductor and composer who devoted his life's work to Bruckner. Performers wearing crimson sashes with the inscription "Playing forte!” appeared in front of the audience, joining the "Let's not let culture die” initiative, which draws attention to the underfunding of culture and opposes the government's plan to invest just 0.64% of the state budget into culture next year, moving further and further away from its promise to spend at least 1%.  more

The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra has been running the Orchestral Academy of the Brno Philharmonic (OAFB) project for nine seasons, enabling young talented musicians to gain orchestral experience in a professional ensemble. In this manner, the orchestra educates the next generation of musicians, both permanent and external. However, working here also gives young people the opportunity to show their skills in chamber music and in a concert series called Young Blood aka Music Up Close. The first seasonal concert took place on Wednesday 15 November at Besední dom.  more

Baladas da Luta, Fighting Ballads, is the title of the sixth album by Brazilian singer Mariana Da Cruz and her Swiss-Brazilian band Da Cruz. It is a combination of modern music that combines Latin American tradition and contemporary electronic elements with strong lyrics. In them, the author fights for women’s rights, stands up against dictatorships and specifically criticizes the atmosphere that has evolved in Brazil under the now former authoritarian President Bolsonaro. Da Cruz performed at Brasil Fest Brno in August 2023. We revisit this festival with an interview conducted following their concert at Zelný trh. Singer Mariana Da Cruz and keyboard player and producer Ane Hebeisn, performing as Ane H, responded to our questions.  more

The programme for Janáček Brno 2024, an international opera and music festival now in its 9th year, was unveiled at a concert held to mark this occasion entitled Janáček to the start! On Saturday, 4 November, the Mahen Theatre was filled not only with devoted fans of the festival, but also with foreign journalists, politicians and prominent figures from the world of culture. In addition to a collection of wonderful musical performances, the audience was also treated to a lineup of renowned artists – Kateřina Kněžíková (soprano), Václava Krejčí Housková (mezzo-soprano), Josef Špaček (violin) and, last but not least, Robert Kružík, who took on the role of both conductor leading the Orchestra of the Janáček Opera at the National Theatre Brno during the evening and also performing as a cellist.  more

The musical comedy The Addams Family is the latest production to hit the stage of the Music Theatre of Brno City Theatre. Audiences are in for an ironic, slightly morbid and enticingly horrific spectacle for the whole family. A musical production has been crafted here which serves up a famous contemporary pop culture phenomenon, as well as a generous helping of hyperbole and catchy melodies to boot. And testament to the audience’s hunger for this wacky family is the fact that all thirty performances are already nearly sold out…  more

The Ensemble Versus choir, accompanied by the Ensemble Opera Diversa under the baton of Gabriela Tardonová, demonstrated what a combination of historical and modern instruments sounds like within a contemporary musical context in the Red Church. The dramaturgical line of Tuesday evening was presented in the spirit of a combination of the works of Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1566-1613) and the world premiere of Exsultet by the principal composer Ondřej Kyas (*1979), which also includes parts written for cornett (Radovan Vašina), dulcian (Jan Klimeš), trombone (Pavel Novotný) and theorbo (Marek Kubát).  more

The second New World of Moravian Autumn festival began on Thursday in Brno’s Besední dům. This project, by students of the Faculty of Music at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts, was primarily originally created for the practical musical programming course and intended to be a one-off event during the Moravian Autumn the year before last. Subsequently, however, more students signed up and started working on a repeat festival. The dramaturgy for New World 2023 was handled by percussionists Adéla Spurná and David Paša, bassoonists Aneta Kubů and Josef Paik, and multimedia composer Martin Janda. Three concerts were prepared for 19, 20 and 21 October for this mini festival.  more

The Restlessness of Icelandic Peace was the name of a concert on 15 October at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Brno, at which conductor Chuhei Iwasaki with the Moravia Brass Band and American artist Adam Wiltzie performed a work by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (1969-2018). Many of you may know his music from the award-winning films The Theory of Everything and Arrivalmore

The third concert of the Moravian Autumn Festival, held under the auspices of the Ambassadors of Latvia and Lithuania, Elita Kuzma and Laimonas Talat-Kelpša, presented mostly contemporary works by foreign composers on Wednesday 4 October at the Besední dům. The show was directed by the Kremerata Baltica string orchestra, who invited the young talented pianist Onutė Gražinytė to join them, and the whole evening primarily rode on a wave of minimalism. However, during the preparation of the concert, the programme was changed and instead of Geörgy Ligeti's String Quartet No.1 "Métamorphoses nocturnes", works by Jēkabs Jančevskis and Olli Mustonen were performed in their place.  more

The Ensemble Opera Diversa has already presented several compositions by David Matthews (*1943) to Brno audiences, and in most cases these were Czech or even world premieres. This year Matthews’ 80th birthday was celebrated with a performance by the above-mentioned ensemble, or rather its chamber branch Diversa Quartet, headed by dramaturge Jiří Čevela, with a concert on 20 September at the Villa Löw-Beer. The programme, consisting of works by composers closely associated with David Matthews himself, including his own compositions, was preceded by an hour-long discussion in the presence of the composer. Matthews is a British-born composer with long-standing ties to the Brno circle of composers and musicologists. In addition to his participation in the so-called "apartment seminars" in the 1980s, he also is friends with several personalities such as composer, pedagogue and oboist Pavel Zemek Novák (*1957).  more


Terroir, a term used especially in the wine industry, is the subheading of this year's 31st annual Easter Festival of Sacred Music. It refers to the set of natural conditions, especially soil properties, which give a crop its distinctive character. Terroir perfectly describes the dramaturgy of this year's edition, which is focused exclusively on the work of domestic composers in the Year of Czech Music.  more

The Brno Culture Newsletter brings you an overview of what is happening in theatres, clubs, festivals and cultural events in Brno.  more

The Musica Florea ensemble is preparing a new concert programme to be performed for the first time this April. This year marks the 170th anniversary of Leoš Janáček's birth, and to mark the occasion the ensemble has taken up his earliest compositions to set them alongside works from the early Italian Baroque. Musica Florea will be performing with conductor Mark Štryncl. The soloists will be Barbora Kabátková, Stanislava Mihalcová, Daniela Čermáková, Hasan El Dunia and Jaromír Nosek.  more

Easter concerts are already a tradition at the Brno City Theatre. This Easter, the Rock Mass will be performed on Friday and Saturday at the Music Stage of the Brno City Theatre.  more

The ProART art group is celebrating 20 years of its activity. In addition to the celebrations, the Year of Czech Music also commemorates the anniversary of the composer Bedřich Smetana and the Czechoslovak choreographer Luboš Ogoun. These anniversaries will be combined into one production, DREAMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.  more

Tenebrae, has long been one of the most impressive parts of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music. They are held from Wednesday to Good Friday, always from 9 pm at the Jesuits'. This year, the darkened church, in which candles are burning, will be unusually filled with music commissioned by the festival.  more

The festival enters its 17th year with a series of concerts that will fill not only the South Moravian metropolis with funky music, but also Prague as part of the "travelling" concerts. The year-long festival programme is starting to take off and the organisers are adding two more names. The previously announced French band Electro Deluxe is now joined by Fun Lovin' Criminals and the most prominent jazz-funk formation from Iceland - Mezzoforte.  more

The concert entitled "In between genres" is the culmination of a three-day event celebrating 100 years of radio broadcasting in Moravia. The whole event includes genre-free concerts, a showcase of new music recordings from radio production and a colloquium dealing with folk songs in radio broadcasting, and last but not least, a commemoration of editor Jaromír Nečas and his radio venture - a series of programmes called The Colourful Singing World. The final concert is moderated by Břetislav Rychlík and Jiří Plocek.  more

Mahan Esfahani, an absolute world leader in harpsichord playing, is coming to Brno. He was the first and only harpsichordist in the world to win the BBC's New Generation Artist in 2008-2010 and has won countless prestigious music awards. He will perform with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme entitled Mahan Esfahani: harpsichord in the main role.  more

Years of international cooperation between the cities of Brno and Stuttgart will culminate in one musical event - a joint concert in the Hall of the Brothers of Charity. Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle will be performed by the Ökumenischer Choir.  more