Thursday, May 26, 2011:Were You There?

US Ambassador Norman Eisen (left) opens a concert honoring the Terezin Music Foundation

An amazing variety of performances in several interesting locations have been on offer in Prague recently. Which ones did you attend?

Take a closer look at the photos from our “Facebook”-type album — are you there? Do you recognize anyone?

This album shows you performances of Timing, Peter and the Wolf, a concert celebrating the establishment of two charitable organizations, and a concert featuring a variety of talented string players. And this is a mere smattering of what’s been happening in the past few weeks!

If you missed out on any of these, check our Events Calendar (right) for more brilliant performances — classical music, opera, ballet, or an intriguing combination. There’s something of interest virtually every day.

When you attend a performance, take your picture and send us the details. But even if you forget your camera, you’ll enjoy the performances of quality Czech artists. Here are just a few:

Violist Mark Ludwig (left), violinist Julie Svěcená in Mozart's Duo

Reception and Concert
May 23, Residence of the US Ambassador, Prague
(Concert by Invitation)

The reception and concert were held in honor of the Terezin Music Foundation Award and the establishment of the Emerson-Ondříček Master Class Fund. The Terezín award includes a financial prize and a premiere performance in a Prague Spring concert. The purpose of the Foundation’s activities is to provide transformative memorials to the Jewish composers who were incarcerated in the Terezín concentration camp during World War II. The Emerson-Ondřiček Master Class Fund, administered by the Terezin Foundation, will benefit Czech students of music. The concert also included Kateřina Englichová playing the harp.


A captivated audience enjoys the Berg Orchestra

Peter and the Wolf
May 18, 9 am, The Church of Sts. Simon and Jude, Prague
(Concert Series for Schools)

The Berg Orchestra performed this classic story-with-music by Sergei Prokofiev for about a hundred very well-behaved young elementary school children on a warm pre-summer day near the end of the school term. The gorgeously Baroque setting of the church helped students grasp the concept of Baroque music (as well as art and architecture), and the Berg Orchestra even played a Beatles’ tune in the style. The students’ attention never wandered from the stage where musical instruments represented the different animals in the tale, right up to the thrilling conclusion when the wolf was dispatched … in a very socially-acceptable way. The Berg Orchestra received very warm applause from the young audience.


A curious, excited audience climbs the stairs to the performance of Timing

May 9, Nová Scená theatre, Prague
(Performance Open to the Public)

The performance opens with 100 metronomes ticking away on an empty stage, accompanied by eight Dekka Dancers on eight video screens in the background.

When the little heart of the last metronome has ceased to beat, all the metronomes rise simultaneously heavenward, out of sight, and  the live Berg Orchestra takes the stage and begins to play. Eventually the Dekka Dancers also appear, giving short narratives about their lives and origins.

Video screens, 100 metronomes await the orchestra and dancersDekka Dancers also re-appear -- live.

The large variety of visual statements is accompanied by Poeme Symphonique, Ramifications by Ligeti; Concert for Clarinet and Orchestra, by Copland; and Dances by Andriessen.

As is usual with both Berg Orchestra and Dekka Dancers’ performances, the piece leaves the audience hushed and lost in their thoughts about what they’ve just experienced.

So after the performance the audience adjourned to nearby refreshments to discuss the unusual, creative work.


Appreciative KakoST fans enjoy the atmosphere at the AV ČR Music Library

Concert, Karlínského Komorního Studia (KaKoST)
May 24, Music Library, History Ethnology Dept., Czech Academy of Science

(Concert Open to the Public)

Cellist Bohuslava Dlouhá

The affiliated players of the Karlín chamber group once again concentrated on Czech performers, with only one foreigner. Works were featured by Jan Zach, Adam Michna z Otradovic, Josef Suk, and Antonín Dvořák — Ludwig van Beethoven being the only interloper. The chamber concert took place in a lovely chamber, indeed, the recently reconstructed music library, with refurbished book cabinets lining the concert area and a restored oval painting dominating the ceiling. It was a perfect place to continue the chamber music tradition.

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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