The Mutual Inspirations Festival 2011 - Antonín Dvořák is an initiative spearheaded by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, under the patronage of Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg, focusing on the mutual inspirations between Czech and American cultures.
The festival takes place at cultural, religious, and educational community centers through a variety of forms, such as music, art, film, and literature. Through the celebration of the work of many famous personalities and the creations of individuals they in turn influenced, the festival aims to depict this long tradition of transatlantic inspiration and interpretation.
The festival begins on September 8, 2011, commemorating the 170th anniversary of the birth of the composer, and ends on October 28, 2011, observing Czech National Day. Antonín Dvořák was one of the most prominent Czech classical composers. Due to his revolutionary thinking of the time, Dvořák left a legacy through his students who would later instruct American legends George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Aaron Copland. Moreover, taking in the sounds of America, Dvořák was inspired to create his most famous piece ― Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, "From the New World," which was listened to by U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong during man's first landing on the Moon.
As one of the highlights of the festival, Dvořák scholar Michael Beckerman will present a special symposium at the Library of Congress addressing the role of African American sources in the composer’s conception of American music. The event includes a display of facsimiles from Dvorak’s stay in America, a lecture-recital with tenor Reginald Bouknight, and a discussion of the manuscripts with Director of the Dvorak Museum in Prague, Eva Velická. Other key events include The Catholic University of America Orchestra performing the New World Symphony at the National Museum of the American Indian, and the talented DC Youth Orchestra presenting this popular symphony in a special concert at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. The Archbishop of Prague will celebrate Mass with the Choir of the Basilica performing works by Dvořák at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Cathedral Choral Society will feature Dvořák's renowned Te Deum at the Washington National Cathedral. The festival includes the world premiere of Dvořák Jazz Dances by Charley Gerard performed by Washington Musica Viva at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, and the American premieres of contemporary composer Miroslav Srnka's Engrams at the Phillips Collection, and Miloš Orson Štědroň’s Western musical Tony D at the Kenndy Center Millennium Stage.
Enjoy the fall season packed with events accentuating the talented composer Antonín Dvořák and the mutual inspirations that ensued between the United States and the Czech Republic through the world of music. Be sure to check out all of the festival events by exploring www.mutualinspirations.org.