The Mutual Inspirations Festival 2011 - Antonín Dvořák was an ambitious undertaking for the Embassy of the Czech Republic. After more than 30 concerts featuring over 500 artists throughout some of the most prestigious venues in the Washington area community, the festival has proven to be a rousing success story with over 10,000 people in attendance.
The 150-voice Cathedral Choral Society, under the direction of J. Reilly Lewis, performed with Czech soprano soloist Alexandra Berti at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on October 28, 2011, to close the festival and mark Czech National Day. Additional soloists included Magdalena Wor (mezzo soprano), Corey Bix (tenor), and Aleksey Bogdanov (bass). At the event, the choir performed Dvořák’s Te Deum and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.
Executive director of the Cathedral Choral Society, Alison Combes, said, "The Mutual Inspirations Festival brought to Washington, DC, a unique opportunity to delve in-depth into a particular composer and learn from a culture different from our own and yet so similar in many ways. We were also obviously delighted to have the opportunity to present some rarely-performed works in the beautiful setting of the Basilica!"
Approximately 275 DC school students attended the U.S. Premiere of the Western musical Tony D, by Miloš Orson Štědroň, at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on October 27 at 11 am. The performance is the author’s reflection of the Czech genius Antonín Dvořák and his fate and journey to America. Performers included Eva Velická, Miloš Štědroň, Jiří Jelínek, Jiří Panzner, Dana Marková, and Jan Švamberg. The event also served as part of the Kids Euro Festival. Tony D. will also be featured at Sidney Harman Hall at the Harman Arts Center on October 29 (11 am and 1 pm) and October 30 (10 am). Admission is free. Click here to reserve tickets.
Conductor J. Reilly Lewis spoke with Classical WETA about the Washington National Cathedral repairs, the 70th Anniversary Season of the Cathedral Choral Society, and the performance of the Cathedral Choral Society at the Basilica of the National Shrine on October 28, 7:30 pm - Czech National Day! This is the final evening of the Mutual Inspirations Festival! To listen to the interview, please click here and then scroll down to J. Reilly Lewis. Enjoy the performance of the Cathedral Choral Society performing Dvořák’s Te Deum and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine on October 28 at 7:30 pm. Click here for more information.
Sidney Harman Hall at the Harman Center for the Arts presents encore performances of Miloš Orson Štědroň's Tony D., a Western musical showdown featuring “good guy” Tony D. and “bad guy” Zdeněk Nejedlý on October 29 (11 am and 1 pm) and October 30 (10 am). To reserve tickets, click here! Admission is free, and the performances are for all ages. (Photo coutesy of Jiří N. Jelínek)
Czech violinist Josef Špaček performed to a sold-out audience at the Embassy of the Czech Republic on October 21 at 7:30 pm. The concert was performed in collaboration with Embassy Series. The program featured a selection of work by Dvořák, Janáček, and Smetana. Špaček ranks among the foremost representatives of today's young Czech violin generation. He was accompanied on the piano by Kuok-Man Lio.
After a powerful contemporary performance on October 13, Fama Quartet returned to The Phillips Collection on October 16, to pay tribute to Antonín Dvořák as part of the Mutual Inspirations Festival. The sold-out performance included Dvořák's renowned "American" Quartet, Martinů's Three Madrigals, Karel Husa's String Quartet no. 4 "Poems," among others. Fama Quartet is comprised of David Danel (first violin), Aki Kuroshima (second violin), Ondřej Martinovský (viola) and Balázs Adorján (cello).
Czech composer Miroslav Srnka premiered his new piece Engrams, performed by the Fama Quartet, at The Phillips Collection on October 13, 2011. Washington Post critic Stephen Brookes wrote the following: "...the high point of the evening may have been the premiere of Srnka’s fourth quartet, Engrams. Srnka juxtaposed his vocabulary of tremolos and dry scuttlings against simple rising and falling lines throughout the one-movement work, creating an elusive, soft-edged but tangible world — much like memory itself." Click here to read the entire review. The Phillips Collection also recorded a sample of the performance (click here to download) and an interview with Srnka (click here to download).
Due to repairs on the Washington National Cathedral as a result of the earthquake, the Cathedral Choral Society will perform their concert of Dvořák’s Te Deum and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on October 28, 2011, at 7:30 pm. For more information about the concert, please click here.
On October 2, 2011, Czech designer Daniela Čermanová and business partner Michaela Schwartz unveiled their Four Seasons Collection inspired by Alfons Mucha's renowned Art Noveau posters at an Opera Fashion Show at the residence of the Ambassador. Renowned Czech hairstylists Václav Pech and Richard Tichý presented the fashion models with beautiful updos utilizing thematic images of fall, such as colorful leaves and flowers in the models' hair. Czech makeup artist Ivo Špes also offered his expertise for the event. Photo credit: Patrick G. Ryan
On October 1, 2011, the Director of the Dvořák Museum in Prague, Eva Velická, presented a lecture on "Manuscripts as Storytellers" at the Library of Congress as part of a special symposium celebrating Antonín Dvořák. Velická also exhibited a collection of photographs of Dvořák and facsimiles of some of his most notable works, including the New World Symphony. The following day, she gave a lecture at the Embassy of the Czech Republic as part of the Embassy's Music Garden Party, where the collection of photographs and facsimiles were also on view to the public. Photo credit: Patrick G. Ryan
Ahead of Michael Beckerman's Symposium at the Library of Congress on October 1st, Classical WETA spoke with him about Dvořák's American years and pieces. Beckerman is NYU Music Department Chair. The event on October 1st at the Library of Congress centers on the American Dvořák connection. Click here to listen to his interview with WETA. To learn more about the Symposium and Lecture-Recital at the Library of Congress, click here.
On September 22, 2011, Radoslav Kvapil presented an all-Dvořák program at the Kennedy Center to an audience of over 300 people. The following day, he also performed at the Embassy of the Czech Republic with not a seat left unfilled. If you missed the concert or would like to hear it performed again, please click here to see the Kennedy Center performance. Witness one of the true masters of piano in a beautiful performance.
On September 25 at 10 am, Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine with over 500 people from the community, including a group of Czech-Americans who traveled from New York to meet the Archbishop. The Mass celebrated the 170th birthday of Czech composer Antonín Dvořák as well as the 200th anniversary of the year of St. John Nepomucene Neumann's birth. During the Mass, the choir of the Basilica sang Dvořák's Mass in D Major under the direction of Peter Latona. The Catholic Standard wrote the "Mass celebrates the best of the Czech culture." Click here to read an article about the Mass in The Catholic Standard. Czech Television also reported on the event, click here to read the article (in Czech only).
On September 21, 2011, Washington Musica Viva presented the world premiere of contemporary composer Charley Gerard's Dvořák Jazz Dances at the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Click here to read Marsha Dubrow's review featured in the Examiner. If you missed the concert, they will be performing the piece again at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on October 5 at 6 pm.
On September 18, 2011, The National Gallery of Art (NGA), presented the Rome Trio in a concert of Dvořák's acclaimed Piano Trio “Dumky” and other works. Over 400 people attended the concert in the West Garden of the Gallery, which launched the NGA 17th Annual Concert Season.
On September 17, 2011, The Catholic University of America Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Sidlin, performed Dvořák's New World Symphony at the National Museum of American Indian to an audience of over 800 people. The concert was crowned with a standing ovation.
On September 24, 2011, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Chicago, Dana Huňátová, will attend the performance of duo-pianists Joan DeVee Dixon and Alice Fiedlerová (Czech Republic), who will perform works by Antonín Liehmann and Antonín Dvořák at Saint Wenceslaus Church in Spillville, Iowa. A highlight of the event will be the world premiere of three of Liehmann’s previously unknown manuscripts discovered by Dixon at the museum in Zlonice.
The Dvořák American Heritage Association and the Czech Center New York will open the Dvořák Room, a newly created exhibition and study room at Bohemian National Hall in New York City, NY, on October 12, 2011 at 6 pm. Admission is free, but contributions are welcomed. Click here to view events at Bohemian National Hall in New York.
On September 15, 2011, the Embassy of the Czech Republic welcomed Washington Musica Viva who performed an intimate concert of Dvořák and Martinů to an audiene of over 60 people. Classical WETA recorded the performance to air in the coming weeks. Click here to view photos from the event.
On September 11, 2011, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Petr Gandalovič, opened a special evening with guest speaker Daniel Fried, Special Envoy for Closure of the Guantanamo Detainee Facility, which featured a concert with the mezzo-soprano group Tre Mezzi, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the victims of 9/11. Click here to view the gallery of pictures from the event.
On September 8, 2011, the Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, Michal Sedláček, hosted a Garden Party at his residence in honor of the 170th anniversary of the birth of classical composer Antonín Dvořák. The event was marked by a musical performance of Dvořák's works, lectures by Dvořák scholars, and a sneak peek at an upcoming film project called Spillville, about Dvořák's inspirational trip to Iowa. To take a look at a list of upcoming events honoring Dvořák in Los Angeles, please click here.
Maestro Sidlin stopped by the Classical WETA studios to chat with Marilyn Cooley. Listen to his interview in advance of the concert by The Catholic University of America Orchestra, who will play the New World Symphony at the National Museum of the American Indian on Sept. 17, 2011 at 7 pm. Click here to listen to the interview or cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://www.weta.org/fm/features/classicalconversations. Be sure to scroll down to "Murry Sidlin."
On September 8, 2011, over 70 people gathered at the statue of Antonín Dvořák in Stuyvesant Square in New York City to lay flowers at his statue and pay tribute to the 170th anniversary of the birth of the composer. The event also launched the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2011-Antonín Dvořák, highlighting the mutual inspirations between Czech and American cultures. On this occasion, the Copland Brass Quintet presented the world premiere of composer/author Maurice Peress' arrangement of Dvořák's Largo from the New World Symphony and other works. Click here to view pictures from the event.