Czech Republic to celebrate 200 years of Bedřich Smetana in 2024

Events across the country will mark the 200 years since the birth of the celebrated composer, regarded as the father of Czech music. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.08.2023 15:58:00 (updated on 13.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

In 2024, celebrations will take place across the Czech Republic to honor the 200th birth anniversary of the "father of Czech music" Bedřich Smetana. This influential figure's legacy will be celebrated through a number of events organized by philharmonics, orchestras, theaters, festivals, and various cultural institutions, both domestically and on an international scale.

The extensive Smetana 200 tribute is part of the broader context of the National Year of Czech Music, which aims to extol Smetana's profound contributions to the world of music and to project the Czech Republic's cultural dynamism to a global audience.

Czech Minister of Culture Martin Baxa emphasizes that Smetana's bicentennial birth anniversary is not merely a music-centered observance, but a comprehensive endeavor to showcase the Czech Republic as a powerhouse of culture and Bedřich Smetana as an iconic global composer.

The event will extend throughout 2024, encompassing a diverse range of activities and offerings, echoing Smetana's multifaceted influence.

The Czech Philharmonic, a prominent contributor to the celebrations, will mark Smetana's 200th birthday with a special release of his famed work Má vlast (My Homeland) in March. The orchestra is also planning an extensive tour, including performances in the United States, thereby spotlighting Smetana's compositions on the international stage.

Michal Medek, a member of the management of the Czech Philharmonic and manager of the Smetana 200 project, shared the orchestra's dedication to presenting Má vlast abroad, highlighting the cultural bonds it seeks to create.

Various renowned Czech institutions will also join the festivities. The Czech Chamber Music Society, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK), and Prague Philharmonia (PKF) have all incorporated Smetana's compositions into their forthcoming seasons.

The prestigious Prague Spring music festival will also feature Smetana's works, with the traditional opening of Má vlast at the Municipal House on May 12.

The city of Litomyšl, a significant location in Smetana's life, will also contribute to the celebrations. Organizers of the Smetanova Litomyšl music festival have curated a special program to honor both his 200th birth anniversary and the 140th anniversary of his passing. The festival will include performances of lesser-known compositions alongside a comprehensive showcase of all his operas.

Jabkenice, where Smetana spent his final nine years, will also host a music festival. The village plans to present an adapted version of his opera The Bartered Bride during the celebrations. Similarly, Pilsen, another significant place in Smetana's life, will host opera performances and symphonic presentations.

Bedřich Smetana was born on March 2, 1824, in Litomyšl and passed away on May 12, 1884, in Prague. He remains a cherished figure in Czech history, and compositions such as The Bartered Bride and Má vlast have become emblematic of Czech culture.

The composer's works have transcended the realm of classical music to resonate with audiences across the world. As his 200th birth anniversary approaches, the Czech Republic stands poised to celebrate and honor the musical genius of Bedřich Smetana, whose enduring legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

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