Czech concerts and festivals in 2014

Over sixty composers, performers and music organisations will perform in the Czech Republic

Ever since 1924 when the centenary of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s birth was celebrated, years ending in the number 4 have been recognised as ‘years of music’ in the country. So, with it being 2014 that means this year is set to be a huge year for music in the country. Over sixty composers, performers and music organisations will be celebrating landmark anniversaries with various festivals and concerts taking place from classical to pop. Whether you’re into Dvořák or Depeche Mode there’s sure to be at least something to please your ears.

There were plenty of classical concerts to usher in the New Year but for those who missed them (or just want more) there are plenty available across the country. From daily concerts in and around Old Town Square in Prague to the opera company of the National Theatre in Brno, wherever you are it’s often easy to find a performance of one famous Czech composer’s piece of work. From the 12th May until the 3rd of June the Prague Spring International Music Festival will be taking place. The 69th edition of the country’s oldest music festival sees numerous soloists, singers and conductors as well as orchestras and chamber ensembles from all over the world performing. As it is 110 years since his death, expect plenty of Dvořák’s pieces to be present.

It’s not just Prague that can hold international music festivals though, from the 18th July to 16th August the Český Krumlov International Music Festival will be having its 23rd version, with performers still set to be announced. Last year they had a mix of styles from an evening of Broadway music to flamenco and jazz performances, so expect 2014 to be just as eclectic.

The second oldest Czech music festival is Smetana’s Litomyšl which takes place from the 13th June until 6th July in Litomyšl, the birthplace of Bedřich Smetana. A mix of operas, gala concerts, oratorios, cantatas and songbook evenings alongside ballet performances make for a varied programme to suit many. Some of the events take place at the impressive Litomyšl Renaissance château, adding a real sense of grandeur to the occasion.

Not all festivals are looking back though, the Young Prague International Festival features those between the ages of 8 and 26 performing as choirs, orchestras and soloists. This year will be the 12th outing for the festival, taking place between the 27th and 30th March. There are performances from music ensembles, choirs and orchestras and a separate competition element with different categories for orchestras (such as jazz, brass/wind and folklore music) as well as for the choirs. Who knows, in a few years time some of these talented musicians could be big on the international stage.

There are also a range of festivals more genre-specific, such as the traditional Brno Folklore Festival that happens in the city throughout August. Later in the year there is also the 35th International Jazz Festival in Prague from the 16th October to 7th November, which always draws renowned international artists and is a must for anyone with a passion for Jazz. Colours of Ostrava in Ostrava features a mix of contemporary and older acts from the world of pop, indie and alternative and takes place from the 17th to 20th July. So far Robert Plant, John Grant, MGMT and Goat are four of the names to be announced.

For those into rock/metal Aerodrome Festival has two events in Prague in summer, one on 17th June with Avenged Sevenfold and another on 8th July headlined by Metallica. Between July 10th to 13th Masters Of Rock sets foot in Vizovice, featuring a mix of heavy metal and hard rock while a week later in Trutnov from the 16th to 19th July the premier international underground metal festival Obscene Extreme brings in many international metal fans.

Aside from festivals there are a lot of big name pop and rock artists coming to the country in 2014 too. Prague’s O2 Arena hosts crooner Michael Bublé on the 24th January before Depeche Mode visit on the 10th February. One fifth of Take That, Robbie Williams returns to the Czech Republic for the first time in 11 years on 26th April and one fifth of N*SYNC/actor Justin Timberlake ensures many will be crying rivers for him on the 3rd June.

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