Prague Spring opens for the 56th time in May

To hear the following story in Real Audio, click here:

This year's festival will again bring to Prague renowned orchestras and musicians from all over the world. I spoke with the President of the Prague Spring's Artistic Council, Josef Suk. Mr. Suk is an internationally famous violinist and has music literally in his blood - he's the grandson of Czech composer Josef Suk and the great grand son of Antonin Dvorak.

"We shall se new faces, certainly, many new faces, many wonderful artists, but I think this year there will be no anniversary to celebrate, there will be normal season concerts. There will be a special treat at Prague Spring this year - artists from the Far East. It's a Chinese orchestra and an orchestra from Japan, I think this will be very interesting because they are specialists in Chinese and Japanese national cultures, so it might really be worth it."

Will you play at the Prague Spring this year?

"Yes, I will play at the last concert with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and it will be the Violin Concerto composed by Viktor Kalabis," Mr Suk said.

Could you tell us about your regular trips to Krecovice?

"Yes, the trip to Krecovice - well, I'm always happy to go there because my grandfather was born there, there's beautiful countryside around the village, and we organize every last Sunday in May a small concert for local people and for the guests of the Prague Spring festival, and it will be with the organ on which Antonin Dvorak used to play and my grandfather as well, so it's very touching and I'm looking forward to it."

Among the new faces Mr Suk spoke about will be conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who'll conduct his legendary orchestra Concentus Musicus from Vienna, and the British conductor John Eliot Gardiner. On the other hand we will see many artists Prague knows very well, such as the royal Concertgebouworkest from Amsterdam, which will be appearing here for the 6th time, or the American pianist Garrick Ohlsson, who has given countless concerts in the Czech capital over the past years.

The Prague Spring will also have a new director, Mr Roman Belor - I asked him what were his plans for future festivals:

"It's a complicated question because I will become the Prague Spring's established director only in July, so now I'm in the position of someone who is first approaching the festival. I have some ideas but I wouldn't describe them as my plans. I'd like to put the emphasis on the tradition of the festival and look around for some refreshing inspiration to make the scale of the festival a bit larger and maybe a bit different."