Brno and Ostrava: in the Footsteps of Janáček
Saturday – Sunday, July 25–26, 2020
Price: 4000 CZK
8:30 - Departure from Prague
11:00 - Arrival to Brno
11:00 - 19:00 Brno Tour
19:00 - Departure from Brno To Ostrava
21:00 - Accommodation in Ostrava
9:00 - 15:00 Hukvaldy and Ostrava Tour
15:00 - Departure from Ostrava
20:00 - Arrival to Prague
Saturday, July 25
- First, we will visit the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Thomas in Staré Brno. The Augustinian monastery is associated with the tradition of a musical foundation, into which musically talented boys from poor families were accepted from the end of the 17th century, thus enabling them to receive a thorough musical education. The eleven-year-old Leoš Janáček was admitted there in 1865 and he later worked as the Deputy Choirmaster in the monastery church. In addition to the church, which has since been raised to the status of a basilica, we will view the unique historical library, whose roots stretch back to the 14th century.
- A further stop will involve the second largest municipal public library in the Czech Republic, the Jiří Mahen Library, in the very centre of Brno. It was established in 1921 and its collection currently includes 50 thousand books. The library will acquaint us with the current trends in librarianship. In addition to access to its electronic databases, the library also offers its readers a variety of specialised services ranging from loans of electronic books or board games through to loans of toys and didactic aids.
- We will end the Brno trip at the Leoš Janáček Memorial attached to the Department of Musical History at the Moravian Library. Part of the tour of the house, in which the composer lived from 1910 to 1928 and which was part of the building of the Organ School which he founded, will include a lecture on the composer’s life and work by the curator of the Janáček collections, Associate Professor Jiří Zahrádka. The visit to the Memorial will then end with a concert by the pianist and professor at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, Jan Jiraský, on Janáček’s own piano, which still stands in his former study.
- The first place we will take a look at, is a town which is located in the territory of the Moravian-Silesian Region. The town is called Hukvaldy and it can boast (with some justification) that the internationally renowned composer Leoš Janáček was born there in 1854 and spent his childhood there. We will visit the Leoš Janáček Memorial in Hukvaldy, the house which the composer purchased from his brother’s widow in 1921 and where he spent holidays with his family for 30 years. He renovated the house in his own image and it is completely infused with the spirit and the genius of Janáček the composer. The original furniture and fittings which Janáček and his family used can still be seen today. This is the site of the well-known forest game enclosure of the old Hukvaldy Castle, which is one of the oldest in the Czech Republic. The first mention of the enclosure dates from 1567 and Leoš Janáček used to go for walks there and to take inspiration for his work. There is a statue of the Cunning Little Vixen in the game enclosure which was created in 1959 in memory of the premiere of the opera, the Cunning Little Vixen.
- The third largest city in the Czech Republic, Ostrava, which was once called the “industrial heart of the Republic”, lies a mere 30 km away. As a point of interest, Leoš Janáček died in the Ostrava City Hospital in 1928. We will also visit the internationally technical comples at Lower Vitkovice which recalls the former main industrial activities in the city, namely mining and the production of iron. Here, the history of mining meshes with the subsequent production of coke and iron, practically in the centre of the city. The tour also includes an ascent up the Bolt Tower, from which there is an imposing view of the surprisingly appealing environs. One of the best known European music festivals, Colours of Ostrava, also takes place in the Lower Vítkovice area.
- We will not neglect a visit to the central building of the Library of the City of Ostrava, which is home to one of the oldest public library music departments in the Czech Republic. The library building is just a few steps from the iconic Sýkora Bridge which crosses the Ostravice River and has historically divided Ostrava into Silesia and Moravia. The Masaryk Square is several tens of metres away and there we will tour an exhibition on the history of the City of Ostrava in the historic building of the former town hall and we will be taken care of by the musical historian, Mgr. Lenka Černíková, PhD.