Held once a decade on every year that ends in the number four, The Year of Czech music celebrations commemorate the finest Czech composers and some of the best classical pieces ever written. The biggest tributes of the program will be paid to Bedřich Smetana – his anniversary will be centered around a special project, Smetana 200 with a string of performances celebrating the great Czech composer. Smetana’s birth centenary was the reason for the first ever Year of Czech Music in 1924. Since then, The Year of Czech Music has become an extraordinary cultural event commemorating the key figures of Czech music. Unlike previous years, 2024’s celebrations stretch beyond the classical world. For the first time, this year, other genres such as folk and jazz will also step into the spotlight.
Throughout 2024, a series of concerts will be held commemorating not only the anniversaries of Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Josef Suk, Bohuslav Martinů or Jiří Šlitr, but also a number of fascinating music based exhibitions, lectures or film screenings. Another date for the diary is the Dvořák Prague Festival in September at Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall.
A full rundown of events can be found here.
The world famous Czech Philharmonic will play a significant part in the celebrations. Among the dazzling array of concerts in their season calendar is a performance of The Cunning Little Vixen – an opera which is also commemorating a big milestone – 100 years since its premiere. And for anyone planning a city break in May or June – a lovely time to visit – the glorious Prague Spring International Music Festival takes place and this year the full program includes around 50 concerts.
Czech city break inspiration
To make the most of your music inspired holiday to the Czech Republic, don’t rule out some of the other cities beyond Prague, such as Brno Olomouc and Pilsen.
Brno, Czechia’s second largest city is actually a UNESCO listed creative city of music and naturally another key location for the Year of Czech Music events. Brno and the wider South Moravia region has a rich folk music tradition yet also boasts its own opera house and philharmonic orchestra.
Another top spring break for music lovers is a trip to Olomouc, home to UNESCO-protected monuments, beautiful baroque buildings and the famous Tvaruzky cheese! The International Festival of Songs will take place in the city from 29th May until 2 June.
An easy train ride away is the historical city of Pilsen – perfect for beer lovers as well as music fans and visitors to the city can enjoy Smetana Days Festival as well as a full calendar of top events and attractions.
And no fan of Czech music could skip a visit to Litomyšl, Bedřich Smetana’s birthplace. Something of a hidden gem, Litomyšl is the perfect place to visit for a deeper look at Czech music history as well as exploring the UNESCO inscribed Litomysl State Castle. Time it right and experience the glorious Smetana Litomyšl music festival. It takes place from 8th June to 7th July in the enchanting setting of Litomyšl Castle, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary since its inscription on the UNESCO list.
Katarina Hobbs, Director of Czech Tourism UK & Ireland commented: “There’s always good cultural events going on in Czechia but this year our attention turns to our celebrated Czech musicians. These composers gave the world some of the most wonderful pieces of music we will ever hear. I can only imagine how special it would be for overseas visitors to come and experience a live performance here, in the place it was written.”
She added: “The choice of events is huge and a must for music lovers looking for a unique and memorable visit to the country. Wherever you choose, you’ll be sure of a warm welcome and that’s music to anyone’s ears!”