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Prague Spring to mark Czechoslovakia’s birth centenary

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Prague, May 6 (CTK) – The 73rd Prague Spring international music festival’s programme will mark the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, its spokesman Pavel Trojan has told CTK, adding that the opening concert will be played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tomas Netopil.

The festival has been annually opened with Bedrich Smetana’s My Country cycle of symphonic poems in Prague’s Municipal House on May 12, which is the anniversary of Smetana’s (1824-1884) death.

At the closing concert on June 3, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with its new chief conductgor James Judd, will play compositions by Czech authors Zdenek Fibich and Leos Janacek, and Slovak Eugen Suchon.

The festival will offer 50 concerts, with violinist Julian Rachlin as the residential artist.

Apart from the Slovak Philharmonic, the festival will welcome several renowned foreign orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with its chief conductor Daniel Gatti and the Budapest festival orchestra. Both will perform Gustav Mahler’s symphonies.

Viewers have also shown strong interest in a concert marking the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. It was the Prague Spring festival where Bernstein, a U.S. composer and conductor, had the first and the last performance in his life.

The concert in his honour will be played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra led by U.S. conductor Keith Lockhart.

Conductor John Eliot Gardiner will perform early music with his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists ensembles.

This year, the Mastercard company is the new sponsoring partner of Prague Spring. The sum it provided to the festival has not been released.

Out of the festival budget of about 80 million crowns, 40 percent has been covered from public money, mainly by the Culture Ministry and the City of Prague.

Another 40 percent is provided by sponsors, and 20 percent are the proceeds from tickets sale and support from music fans associated in the club of Prague Spring’s friends.

This year’s international competition of young players, which annually precedes the festival, involves 118 players from 27 countries, who compete in the French horn and violoncello categories.

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