Prague Spring International Music Festival

Prague Spring International Music Festival
The Prague Spring International Music Festival (Mezinárodní hudební festival Pražské jaro) is an annual music festival focused on classical music. Held in the Czech capital of Prague, it showcases the best performing artists, chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras from all over the world.

The history of Prague Spring began in 1946. That year, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Česká filharmonie) celebrated its 50th anniversary. Chief conductor Rafael Kubelík thought it would be a good idea to hold a series of concerts featuring the orchestra. That’s how the Prague Spring Music Festival was born. The first festival was held under the patronage of Edvard Beneš, the President of Czechoslovakia.

The inaugural festival was a great success so it was decided to hold it annually. The next year, the Prague Spring International Music Competition was established to encourage young musicians. The competition is intended for artists of all nationalities who are younger than 30 years of age. It is held each year in several disciplines (various instrumental sections, singing or conducting). Past winners of the competition include now famous musicians such as flute player James Galway, cellist Natalia Gutman, cellis Saša Večtomov, and cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich.

From 1952 onward, the festival has always opened on May 12. It is the death anniversary of Bedřich Smetana, a famous Czech composer, pianist and conductor who is widely regarded as the father of Czech music. The opening concert features his cycle of symphonic poems Má vlast (My Homeland). Until 2003, Prague Spring used to close with Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

The Prague Spring International Music Festival has a rich and diverse program of concerts featuring the finest performers, ensembles and orchestras from different countries. Past musicians who have performed at the festival include Mstislav Rostropovich, Sviatoslav Richter, Herbert von Karajan, Arthur Rubinstein, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and many more.

The program includes well-known works by famous composers of the past as well as Czech and world premieres of works by contemporary composers. The main venue of the festival is the Rudolfinum, a music auditorium and art gallery situated in Jan Palach Square. Some concerts are held in the Municipal House which has a larger seating capacity.

In 2020 and 2021, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prague Spring International Music Festival

Photo: Mezinárodní hudební festival Pražské jaro




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