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21. 3. 2024

Year of Czech Music

Year of Czech Music

The Year of Czech Music is a significant cultural event marked every 10 years which highlights important anniversaries in the lives of key figures in Czech classical music, and in 2024 most orchestras and musical institutions in this country are playing their part in observing it.

The origins of this event hark back to 1924 when the centenary of Bedřich Smetana's birth was celebrated for the first time, since when the Year of Czech Music has been marked regularly, with a few exceptions, in every year ending in the number 4. This is because these years ending in 4 represent milestones in the lives of many other leading Czech composers besides Smetana, such as Antonín Dvořák (†1904), Leoš Janáček (born 1854), Bohuslav Martinů (†1959), Josef Suk (born 1874), Oskar Nedbal (born 1874), Vilém Blodek (1834-1874) Pavel Bořkovec (born 1894), Josef Bohuslav Foerster (born 1859), Otakar Zich (1879-1934), Otakar Ostrčil (born 1879), Vítězslav Novák (†1949), Jan Novák (†1984) and many more.


As a proud reflection of the cultural heritage and musical art of our country, the Year of Czech Music logically puts the focus above all on Czech music, often linking to the wider context of European musical history, given that the territory of the Czech lands has traditionally served as a crossroads of musical influences, underscoring the enduring importance of our culture within the European cultural scene.


Celebrating this Year of Czech Music is part and parcel of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra’s ongoing activities throughout this year, with concerts in the next few weeks featuring works by Dvořák, Martinů, Smetana, Zelenka and Foerster. Our salute to Czech musical art reaches its climax in Zlín in autumn with the 22nd season of our Harmonia Moraviae festival, which showcases Czech music through the work of a whole range of our native composers.