Czech Music:MUSIC

Czech Music

From the 18th Century, the Czech Land began to be called „Europe´s conservatory,“ primarily thanks  to the large number of talented musicians from this region working in Europe at that time. The first historical musical monuments in the region date from the 10th  Century, but in the strict sense, Czech music was founded by what was known as the „national school“ in the 19th Century, the best-known representatives of which are Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák. The 19th Century also witnessed the formation of the organizational structure of public music life, research and education. Famous composers to emerge in the late Romantic and early Modernist period include Leoš Janáček, Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů. Major figures of popular interwar music include comic opera composer and well-known conductor Oskar Nedbal,  songwriter Karel Hašler, composer, bandmaster and singer R. A. Dvorský, composer and bandmaster, author of the most frequently plaid polka “Škoda lásky/Beer Barrel Polka” Jaromír Vejvoda and the artists of the Liberated Theatre (Osvobozené Divadlo, Voskovec and Werich, Jaroslav Ježek).

After 1945, the institutional base of music life expanded, but creative production was regulated by the doctrine of Socialist Realism. Nevertheless, from the 1960s onwards, a number of distinctive works were created, most of them by Petr Eben, Luboš Fišer, Miloslav Kabeláč, Jan Klusák, Zbyněk Vostřák, Rudolf Komorous (later in emigration founding own composer school in Canada), in the music for film especially by Luboš Fišer, Zdeněk Liška, Otmar Mácha and others. The top pop singer most known around the world since 60s has been Karel Gott (Lady Carneval, music Karel Svoboda). Czech music has also a strong folklore and jazz tradition.

After 1989, musicians of every genre became more internationally mobile and the music scene diversified into a large number of organizations and independent projects. Czech Republic has one of most dense network of professional orchestras and opera houses, there are about 500 regularly held festivals, of which approximately 140 are devoted to classical music and 35 to folklore. Most known in the world is Prague Spring in classical music, Folklore Festival in Strážnice, Colours Ostrava in world music, Bohemia Jazz Fest in jazz, Rock for People in rock music, Sázava fest in folk and multigenre, Autumn Strings Prague in multi and cross genre music, Hip Hop Kemp in Hradec Králové in this genre.  The best known composers in the generation of classical musicians of this period include Sylvie Bodorová, Martin Smolka, Vít Zouhar, Kryštof Mařatka, Ondřej Adámek, Miroslav Srnka, Michal Rataj and others. So-called international formats and musicals established themselves in the popular music scene. Indies have had to cope with an international platform of large music publishers and media. Amateur and folk music also continues to thrive. Recently, Jan Hammer, Michael Kocáb belong to the best known composers and musicians of pop music abroad (on the grounds of inquiry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of CR). In classical music they are actually mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, soprano Eva Urbanová and conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, but Czech Music scene is much richer.


Krakow: Terminus

The final destination of this travel conference – or shall we rather call it study tour, as suggested by Clement? – was the old Polish capital, Krakow. A place swarming with tourists, trams (some with messages from the Pope), cultural institutions and quickly gentrifying neighbourhoods. We kicked it off with a visit to Laznia Nova […] »

Katowice: an easy day at the Silesian Museum

On 12 June (Day 8) we left Czechia and moved to Poland, but we stayed in the same region: Silesia. The Silesian Museum, since its opening last year, is one of the most important cultural spaces in the Polish side of Silesia district, and (yet another) very interesting example of art places created in the former […] »

Frequently Travelled Trains and Hazy Memories of Ostrava

By the time we reached Ostrava, most of the conference staff was reasonably tired as these shots below will testify. In the city of Ostrava we visited quite a few theatres (Puppet Theatre, Petr Bezruč Theatre, Old Aréna Theatre and Cooltour) and had lunch in a modern shared office space, Impact Hub.  After some thought-provoking […] »

Baroque walks in Olomouc

After leaving Slovakia we arrived to the Czech Republic to the beautiful small town of Olomouc. After the visit to the town hall and the city theatre we were presented two independent theatre venues and finished the day with a short performance. »

The second day in Slovakia: Zilina

  The conference quickly moved on from Topolcany to another great city in Slovakia: Zilina. For Attila, who was biking again this did take some climbing too. Stanica Zilina-Zariecie was the theatre venue which hosted us for exciting presentations with a strong theoretical focus, a provocative dance performance and a discussion with artist Jaro Viňarský. »