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Guide to the Prague Spring Festival

Biography

May 12th - June 3rd, 2018

The Prague Spring festival was founded in 1946 by the Czech conductor Rafael Kubelík, who was indisputably one of the world’s leading figures of 20th century music. The very first annual festival saw the participation of a number of distinguished Czech and foreign musicians, among whom the American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein would win the greatest fame in the course of the following decades. Bernstein’s appearance in Prague was his overseas debut, and it is listed in his official biography as one of the most important moments of his career.

From the very beginning, Prague Spring has had the profile of the most important cultural events of post-war Czechoslovakia (the patron of the first annual festival was the President of Czechoslovakia, Dr. Edvard Beneš), and the festival has maintained that standing in the Czech Republic to this day. Prague Spring is a truly international event, and an appearance there has always been and still is regarded as a prestigious event by the greatest artists of the day. During the seventy years of its existence, the festival has welcomed to its stages nearly all of the most important Czech and foreign performers, orchestras and other musical ensembles.

The festival has witnessed tempestuous times of both bad and good fortune in modern Czech history. The festival’s name inspired the term “Prague Spring” used in political science to characterize the attempts at liberalization in Czechoslovakia climaxing with the events of 1968. In spite of all of the vicissitudes of Czech and European history, the festival has always managed to maintain its high artistic standards, comparable with the world’s top festivals, combining the best of the Czech music scene with elite musicians from around the world.

With the return to democracy after 1989, Prague Spring has modernized its management, broadened its programming, established its own firm relations abroad, and become a member in good standing of international and national professional associations. The festival has become a member of the European Festivals Association (EFA) and of the International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA). In 1996 Prague Spring was involved in the founding of the Czech Association of Music Festivals.

Prague Spring confirmed its ambitions by acquiring its own headquarters. In 2000 the festival took another important step towards independence by its transformation into a public benefit corporation founded by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic with the assistance of the City of Prague, thereby reinforcing its independence and its character as a public institution. The festival has definitively taken the path of multiple source funding from public, private, and corporate resources and from its own commercial activities.

For full information, visit the Festival’s website.

Latest reviewsSee more...

A religious experience at Prague Spring

Mary Bevan © Petra Hajská
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Baroque specialists continue their crusade to bring Bach's church cantatas to the modern world.
****1
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A powerful commemoration at Prague Spring

Tomáš Brauner © Zdenek Chrapek
History was never more relevant than in this musical observance of a modern political milestone.
****1
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Prague Spring finishes with a stirring farewell

Krzysztof Penderecki © Prague Spring | Ivan Malý
Krzysztof Penderecki leads a masterful performance and powerful tribute to Jiří Bělohlávek.
*****
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PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF THE FESTIVAL

Preview: the 2017 Prague Spring Festival

Rudolfinum at sunset © David Karlin
The 2017 Prague Spring Festival spans time and genre, with a multiplicity of top orchestral and chamber performers, both Czech and international.

Preview: Prague Spring Festival 2016

Opening concert of the Prague Spring Festival: NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg © Prague Spring  | Zdenek Chrapek
The line-up for the 2016 Prague Spring International Music Festival is full of delights, from traditional Czech fare to starry international visitors. 

Jewel in the Crown: the Prague Spring Festival

Opening concert of the 2014 Prague Spring Festival: Czech Philharmonic/ Jiří Bělohlávek © Ivan Malý
Among Prague’s nicknames is the soubriquet “the crown of the world”.  The Prague Spring International Music Festival is certainly a jewel in that crown.