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Prague & Famous Artists

Prague and Music

Prague has one of the longest-standing traditions as a centre of music in Europe, and the Czechs have always been one of the most influential nations of music in the world. There is singing, music and playing everywhere , in churches, palaces and concert halls. Antonín Dvořák, Zdeněk Fibich and Bedřich Smetana lived in Prague, Josef Mysliveček, the “the divine Bohemian”(Il divino Boemo)was born here, Leoš Janáček and Bonumil Martinů celebrated their greatest successes here.

Foreign maestros – such as Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, Nicolo Paganini, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin were also always glad to perform in Prague as they were certain to meet with a knowledge able and music-loving audience.

Many tourists come to visit the Mozart sites in Prague, first and foremost Villa Bertramka in Smíchov, where chamber concerts resound on warm summer evenings.

Prague has also a lot of offer to jazz lovers, such as a jazz cruise on the Vltava or the Jazz Club Reduta, where even Bill Clinton once reached for his saxophone.

Wolfhang Amadeus Mozart and Prague

After Salzburg and Vienna, Prague is the third city inseparably bound up with the name of Mozart. The composer celebrated his greatest triumphs in the Bohemian capital. W.A.Mozart visited five times the city on the Vltava, three of which were longer stays: in January and February 1787 he made a cheerful trip to Prague to introduce himself to an audience which had been enthused by his opera The Marriage of Figaro; he came again in autumn 1787, when he attended the premiere of his opera Don Giovanni in the Estates´ Theatre; he returned for a final time in 1791, when he was commissioned to compose an opera on the occasion of the coronation of Leopold II as king of Bohemia. Mozart was repeatedly a guest in Villa Bertramka and created some of his most beautiful pieces of music in this idyllic rural retreat.

His appreciative comment that “My people in Prague understand me” has gone down in the annals of the city.

Franz Kafka and Prague

Franz Kafka has become a synonym for turn-of-the-century Prague like no other. Visitors come by the thousands to trace his footsteps on the banks of the Vltava River. Ironically, the German Jewish writer wanted all his life to get away from his birthplace, of which he said: “Prague won´t let go… We would have to set fire to two places, Vyšehrad and Prague Castle, and then it might be possible for us to get away.”

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 on the out-skirts of the then still existing Prague ghetto. After his studies at the German University of Prague, Kafka worked as a lawyer in the Workers´ Accident Insurance Company of the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague. The author´s private life was strongly influenced by his father whom he felt to be overpowering, and his own inability to start a family of his own. He twice broke off his engagement to Felice Bauer from Berlin because sought solitude as a writer. Neither did his love for the married Czech journalist Milena Jesenská lead to a shared future.  Tuberculosis led to Kafka´s early retirement and, ultimately, his premature death. He died in a sanatorium near Vienna in 1924.

Kafka was Prague and Prague was Kafka. Never was Prague so perfect, so typical of herself as she was during Kafka´s lifetime, and never will she be so again. And we, his friends, we knew that this Prague subtly pervaded all his writing.”

Johannes Urzidil